Thursday 5th November 2015 and 16 students from Years 10 to 13 set off with Mrs Raho and Miss Warburton and our German assistant Vikram, on an exciting adventure to Paris. After carting suitcases and musical instruments through Manchester and London, we boarded the Eurostar to Paris where we were greeted by José who showed us to our hostel. The FIAP hostel was a modern and clean accommodation in the centre of Paris and from there we could come and go either by Métro or on foot around the centre of Paris. On the first day we walked to the Montparnasse Tower, a 210m high sky-scraper which offers a panoramic view of the city.
On Friday we started the day with a quick music rehearsal before setting off to visit the ‘Musée du Louvre.’ The Louvre is absolutely huge and we could have spent much longer in there and some of the artwork was incredible, and hard to imagine how they completed it in such different times! We walked along the banks of the river Seine past the markets to the Notre Dame Cathedral where we had lunch in the sun whilst taking in the views of the amazing French gothic architecture.
In the afternoon we did our first musical performance to over a hundred people at the Fondation de Rotheschild retirement home. The students performed to a very high standard and the concert was a great success. The French students introduced each piece in French for the audience and after the concert they took the opportunity to chat to the residents in French.
We then hopped on the Métro to the Eiffel Tower which was great timing as we arrived in the light but watched as the night drew in and the tower was lit up which was a magnificent sight. Many pupils couldn’t resist in testing some ‘barbe à papa’ (candy floss – or as the French call it ‘dads’ beard), des gaufres (waffles) or des crêpes (French pancakes).
On Saturday we started the day by walking through the local markets and the French students used their French by ordering a variety of things, though they couldn’t be tempted by the snails. We ascended the many steps up to the beautiful Sacré Coeur Cathedral which stands high on a hill and offers great views over the city.
In the afternoon the students performed their second concert at the Residence Orpéa Edith Piaf and the residents were delighted by the pieces we had chosen and many sang along, especially when the students sang ‘Frère Jacques’ and ‘sur le Pont d’Avignon.’
Later on we went to the Paris Story museum which was a very informative description of the history of Paris and we found out some very interesting facts such as the maze of secret tunnels which run under the whole of Paris.
On Sunday morning we headed straight to the Arc de Triomphe and as it is the symbol to honour the soldiers who died for France, it was apt that we visited on Remembrance Sunday and the students took the opportunity to reflect.
We spent the rest of the morning walking in the sunshine down the Champs-Elysées and many of the girls relished the opportunity to go in the French designer shops, although most opted for ‘faire du lèche-vitrines’ (window licking – or as we call it window shopping).
Later that afternoon we jumped back onto the Eurostar train back home.