Forms I/II Trip: Clères, Normandy 2018
23 March 2018
Returns: 29 March 2018
Staff member in charge
Mrs Jacqueline Young
Our young linguists are visiting the picturesque French town of Clères and staying with host families for an intensive week of French language practice and culture.
The trip includes day trips to Paris, Bayeux and the D-Day beaches, Rouen and Disneyland Paris.
See our day-by-day blog and gallery from the trip below.
Counting down to the 2018 Clères Trip!
Excitement is building as our departure day approaches. We look forward to seeing the pupils in the library on Friday, where they should meet instead of going to their form classes. Their hold luggage will not be accessed again until they arrive in Clères, so everything needed for the journey and overnight ferry crossing should be kept in their small bags on the coach. Don't forget trip diaries, pens, glue and scissors! Remember to have passports and EHIC ready to give the group leaders, along with any spending money pupils do not want to look after themselves. I hope that contact has been made with all the French host families - they are looking forward to meeting their guests on Saturday!
Arrival in Clères
We arrived safely in Clères five minutes ahead of schedule after a smooth journey and a perfect calm crossing. The pupils have been positive and enthusiastic throughout, enjoying their night on the ship and coping well with buying their lunch in French today. I've just phoned round all the families, and everyone is delighted with their Scottish guests. Most are getting ready for bed (with the clocks changing we'll lose another hour of sleep tonight!), but the evening was spent playing cards, bowling, going to the Parc de Clères and enjoying French dinners, which included raclette, tartiflette and snails!
We are looking forward to our visit to the capital tomorrow .... Bonne nuit!
We had a lovely time in Paris today, and enjoyed some warm sunshine this afternoon! When we arrived, we did a tour of the main sights in the coach before heading for our trip on the Seine with les Bateaux Parisiens. We then headed to the Eiffel Tower where we went to the second floor to admire the stunning views of the city. A quick stop to buy crêpes, churros, ice creams, doughnuts and candy floss rounded off our visit nicely before we headed back to Clères. We won't lose an hour's sleep tonight, so I'm sure we will all have a good night's sleep before tomorrow's day trip to Bayeux and the D day beaches.
Today we explored the history of Normandy, starting in 11th century Bayeux, where we saw the magnificent tapestry and the beautiful cathedral. The winners of the quiz will be announced tomorrow! After a picnic in the sun in a park, we headed to the north coast to the Pointe du Hoc, where we saw the cliffs scaled by US Rangers on D Day during their assault on the German gun emplacements. From there we travelled to the American cemetery at Colleville, above Omaha Beach, where we saw some of the thousands of graves of US soldiers who died fighting to liberate Europe. We heard the last post played as we walked among the white crosses and shall never forget the young men who gave their lives in exchange for the freedom we now enjoy.
Today we had an excellent day in Rouen, despite the cold and the rain. In the morning we did a walking tour of the key sights, exploring the narrow cobbled medieval streets and admiring the 15th century timbered houses and stunning churches. We visited the cathedral, which was painted in different seasons and weather by Monet, and the Aître Saint Maclou, which was originally a cemetery during the Great Plague of 1348. We saw the creepy desiccated remains of a black cat which was found in the stonework where it had been buried alive to ward off evil spirits, and photographed the strange carvings of skulls and gravediggers' tools. Some free time for shopping and a hot chocolate stop warmed us up before we headed to the bowling this afternoon. The most unorthodox techniques achieved the highest scores - well done, Amelie!! After marking the Bayeux quiz, the scores were so high that all pupils were rewarded with a macaroon, a local speciality in Rouen. Miam-miam!
Our last full day in France was spent at Disneyland, much to the delight of the pupils. The journey there was longer than usual, through heavy rain and round the Paris route périphérique, but once we were in the park, the excitement was palpable. Many pupils went on four or even five of the big rides, while others enjoyed the tamer ones, went shopping, photographed the Disney characters or ate their fill of Disney food. The return journey went smoothly, and the sun even shone for us on the way back to Clères. This evening, pupils are packing their bags and enjoying their final evening with their French host families. Everyone has had a fabulous time, and the families have gone out of their way to give the pupils a wonderful experience, which has introduced them to French language, culture and (last but not least!) food. Merci à tous pour l'accueil chaleureux et la gentillesse que vous nous avez montrés. On a hâte déjà de revenir vous voir l'année prochaine!
Back to Dollar
Our week in France flew by, and we were sorry to say goodbye to our French host families yesterday morning. I know that many pupils intend to remain in contact by email, and perhaps some will return to Clères next year. The return journey went smoothly, and we enjoyed a couple of hours in the sun in Bruges, where we went on a boat trip through the canals of this wonderful town, and enjoyed Belgian waffles before heading to the ferry at Zeebrugge. The crossing was once again smooth, and we docked early. Despite some heavy traffic en route, Gavin worked his usual magic and got us back to Dollar on time! On the return trip, prizes were awarded to the winners of various competitions. Staff particularly enjoyed looking at the fantastic trip diaries which many pupils had kept throughout their stay. These will bring back wonderful memories of their first home stay trip to France. I hope that many pupils will continue their language learning journey by going on the FIII/IV exchange and perhaps doing work experience in France in FVI.
It was a real pleasure spending the week in the company of such delightful, cheerful pupils, and I would like to thank them for sharing their photos with me to illustrate this blog. They have been outstanding ambassadors for the Academy and for Scotland. I hope they all have a good sleep tonight and a very happy Easter holiday. Bonnes vacances!