Middle Fifth - and Others - en France!
Date: Friday 26 June 2009
The annual Middle Fifth educational excursion to France took place yesterday thanks once again to the initiative of Mlle Thelliez and the Modern Languages Department. A party of 34 Middle Fifth, three Lower Sixth linguists, and five supporting staff, encoached at 6.15am to head for the Eurotunnel as the first stage of a day which would end with a return to our alma mater at 8.30pm.
A lack of bookings meant that we were able to catch an earlier train and thus arrived on French soil half an hour ahead of schedule. A gentle drive through the fields of the Pas de Calais got us to Beussent, and the first French element of the day, the visit to the chocolaterie at Beussent, where we were introduced to the joys of chocolate making, from the purchase of beans in Madagascar and Brazil, to the pleasure of sampling freshly made 'real' chocolates. Plenty of purchases were made - and consumed - before we made for stage 2 - the ancient town of Montreuil-sur-Mer.
There is, of course, no 'mer' at Montreuil, but instead the joys of real French cuisine, as everyone was encouraged to find a cafe or bar, read the menu, and order from it - in French, rather than the 'point-the-finger' method. Staff and Sixth Formers, as ever, underestimated the time it takes to order and consume a cafe lunch, but enjoyed plenty of bechamel sauce, along with ham wrapped around endives - and a single boiled potato! Indigestion was avoided by a gentle stroll around the medieval ramparts of the town before returning, rather warm, to the coach.
Stage 3 took in the coastal resort of Le Touquet, alternatively known as 'Paris-Plage', once the holiday escape of busy Parisians. Some took to the sands, some to the shopping opportunities, and some to the street cafes once again for coffee and ice creams. Grace Gale, so hot in her jeans, had little trouble in using her euros on a summer skirt in lieu. Some good use of the French language there, I'm sure.
From Le Touquet we returned to Cite d'Europe, and the chance for a little more shopping, or just time to catch breath after the dashing of the day. Through immigration - no problems with visas! - and back onto English soil on time to meet up with families at 8.30pm. Fourteen hours away from School, and a good day was had by all, I hope.
Many thanks to Mlle Thelliez for her immaculate organisation, to the other staff who supported the event, and to the pupil body who proved their worth as ambassadors of the School.