Une semaine fantastique en France!
It was very early Monday morning when Year 5 and 6 sleepily clambered onto the bus, destination France. The sleepiness certainly didn't last long as the excitement kicked in. After all, it isn't every week you spend 5 days in France, no parents! Kicking back with playing cards, watching movies, looking for the fish out the Eurotunnel 'windows' and the journey really didn't feel all that long.
After a lovely bienvenue by the PGL staff at Chateau de Grande Romaine, just southeast of Paris, the children quickly settled into their dorms before tucking into a nice, hot dinner and were ready for the first of their many activities that week; an evening of Superhero Fashion Parades! With an environmental twist, teams had to design, make and bring to life a Superhero costume for the catwalks of Paris. Settling down for bedtime after such excitement is never easy, but as ever, knowing more fun and entertainment was to come tomorrow, all the children were soon sound asleep and counting french mouton.
Tuesday was a day for courage, bravery and pride as the children stayed onsite for some adventure activities. The morning was spent climbing tall trees so the children could throw themselves down zip lines and scaling giant towers so they could abseil back down. Seeing Wandsworth Prep children encouraging and supporting each other to overcome their fears and push themselves a little further, is always special and the whole group saw more of it than ever that morning. The afternoon saw bush-craft and boules before a refreshing dip in the pool before dinner. The evening entertainment was crepe making, a delicious way to finish of such a fabulous day.
Wednesday, the first of the two days out, had much more of a French theme as the children took in a local market, practicing their French to name the different stalls, as well as making some purchases. The children then toured the gardens of Le Chateau de Fontainebleau, following a treasure hunt style trail, answering many puzzling questions about the stunning Palace. The children found a spot of shade by the Palace lake for lunch before venturing inside to find out all about how the French Royals used to live, including Napoleon. Before heading back for dinner and the evening activity, the children stopped off at a curious, but ever so interesting, snail farm, learning more than they ever thought there was to know about snails. It was another fantastic day full of culture and fun.
Thursday was the pièce de résistance as the group spent the day in Paris. They visited the Musée d'Orsay where the children took in Rodin's sculptures, as well as some of Van Gogh's masterpieces. The children climbed the Eiffel tower, walking up to the 2nd floor. Not only was this wonderful for the view, but also another step of the ladder in bravery for several of the group, working together to support each other's climb to new heights. Lunch was by the Seine before taking a river cruise, sailing past many of the most important French and Parisian landmarks, before a culminating drive down the Champs Elysee. Dinner was spectacularly French with the children being able to try snails. The day and residential week at PGL were finished the only possible way, with a disco!
Friday was another day of travel, heading home with some tired, but very fulfilled children. A stop off for lunch and ice-cream at the beautiful town of Arras was a nice distraction, but there is no denying that the children were happy to be greeted off the coach by some very welcome hugs from parents. We had set off with many objectives to fulfill; from language and culture to bravery and adventure to teamwork and perseverance and we are sure you will all agree, they were definitely met and then some!