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Crawshaw on Tour - Paris March 2014

On 21st March, a group of 40 sleepy but excited Y10, Y11 & Y12 students and 5 staff assembled at school at 5.30am, ready to embark on their Paris trip.  The ferry crossing, a first for some, proved to be calm and uneventful. Many of the group eyed the Duty Free shop with the thought that if they had some spending money left they could use it up on the journey home.

We arrived at the hotel during rush hour – the group’s first experience of driving in Paris! The rooms were clean, comfortable with enough extras to satisfy even the girls. Everyone was happy with the breakfast on offer – all continental but plenty of choice,’pain au chocolat’ proving to be a favourite.

We had two action packed and long days exploring the sights of Paris and comfortable walking shoes were ‘de rigueur’.  The weather forecast was fairly poor Saturday and sunshine & showers Sunday, so we slightly altered our schedule to take advantage. We ascended the ‘Tour Eiffel’ along with hundreds of tourists in the rain. The rain had cleared most of the smog and although a little cloudy the views were spectacular. We walked up the ‘Champs- Elysees’, allowing the students some retail therapy in the Disney store and lunch in McDonalds (they had to order their own food). We headed for the ‘Arc de Triomphe’ where we climbed again, this time 284 steps, to more amazing views and unexpected sunshine. In the early evening we ventured to the Latin Quarter, famous for its artists, and onto ‘Isle de la Cité’, an area favoured by the student population. There were plenty of cafés and restaurants and souvenir shops to visit and the students were allowed to go off in groups and enjoy an evening meal with their friends. Saturday ended with a night time coach tour of the City seeing all the monuments lit up, including the ‘Tour Eiffel’ light show which afforded yet another photo opportunity for the group.

Up early again and Sunday promised to be fine. Our first port of call was one of the many royal, enclosed gardens/parks (Jardin du Luxembourg) where we were able to stroll with the local Parisians and watch others jogging and doing their morning calisthenics. We moved on to the Opera house, perhaps one of the most ornate and plush buildings in the city with its amazing painted ceilings and opulent gold decoration, mirrored galleries and extravagance at every turn.

No stopping but a rest for tired feet and the group took a boat ride on the famous ‘bateaux mouches’ tourist attraction on the River Seine. This was an opportunity to take in all the sights travelling under the famous bridges of Paris accompanied by a commentary in French, English, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese! The temperature had dropped and it actually was hailing at one point, only a few hardy souls stayed on board the rest preferring the warmth of the covered cabin below.  The group then marched past the Louvre, sadly no time to stop but had a late lunch in the food hall under the great building.  Our final cultural visit was to the area around the impressive Notre Dame Cathedral and a last chance to do some souvenir shopping. The group made another visit to ‘Ile de la Cité’ for an evening meal and then returned to the hotel to pack. Sunday evening we all gathered for one last time to reflect on our Paris experience by taking a quiz. Winning groups received Paris souvenirs including bérets. A great time was had by all. We’d walked miles, seen some of the most famous monuments in the World, learned new things and made new friends. 

Article written by Mrs H Hopkins