Skip to main content

Paris Trip 2023

21/09/2023 Top News

Risedale pupils and staff enjoy a fantastic trip to Paris!

Paris 2023 - by Mr Miller Head of MFL

“Bienvenue à Paris!” In September, 40 Risedale pupils spent a week in Paris, as part of their GCSE French studies. And it was “absolument fabuleux!”

We travelled with the UK’s leading school travel company, PGL, and stayed at their flagship property on the outskirts of the French capital, ‘Château de Grande Romaine’ (CdGR) – a former five-star hotel where the Brazil men’s national football team stayed during the 1998 World Cup. We had a full itinerary, soaking up French culture, visiting world-famous sites, practising French speaking skills…and having loads of fun too!

The first day was spent travelling, including a very blowy ferry crossing across the Channel (interesting fact: the French don’t translate ‘The English Channel’ – instead, they call it “La Manche”, which translates as ‘The Sleeve’!).  We arrived at our base at tea time and were introduced to our PGL rep, Alex.  We had a tour of the site and did some fun activities during the evening. C’était une longue journée!

On Tuesday, we explored a gorgeous local town, Brie-Comte-Robert, with its medieval castle, quaint cobbled streets and bustling market. Pupils completed a competitive town treasure trail (in French, of course!), while taking in all the sights and sounds and looking for clues in signs, statues and shops.  

The most amazing part of the morning was shopping!  Pupils practised their French conversational skills by purchasing ingredients for their lunch, and there was a race to see who could buy the biggest cream cake for pudding. We then returned to our base at CdGR and created masterpieces with what we’d bought, a little like a ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ challenge. Needless to say, the competition was fierce, although “The A Team” won…but only just.

On Tuesday afternoon we explored a stunning castle, Vaux-le-Vicomte, the blueprint for the royal château at Versailles and the site of the ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ legend. The weather was stunning, and we explored the vast formal gardens, taking in the fountains and statues, and including a long walk to the far end of the grounds to see the massive golden statue of Hercules on his horse. The beautiful views made the trek worthwhile.

Back to CdGR for dinner, followed by an amazing chance to make our own crêpes! Délicieux!

On Wednesday, we travelled into the centre of Paris and made the very most of our time there, despite the city centre being virtually gridlocked (due to a visit by King Charles). 

Our first stop was the world-famous Louvre Museum. Our PGL rep Alex told us that if we’d stopped and looked at every piece of art for a single minute we’d have had to spend 65 days there! Unfortunately, we didn’t have that long, so we had a quick dash to see priceless artefacts, such as ‘The Winged Victory of Samothrace’ and the ‘Venus de Milo’ statues, and of course Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’. The galleries were incredibly crowded, so it was a whistle-stop tour around the museum, although it was totally worth seeing world-famous artworks with our own eyes.

After the Louvre, we drove [slowly] through Paris to the Stade de France, the national sports stadium (so, the ‘French Wembley’). We had a private tour, including visiting the players’ changing rooms and the Presidential Suite, and we even ran down the tunnel towards the pitch. Our tour guide gave us fascinating facts along the way, such as the fact that the TV screens are as big as tennis courts – it’s that impressive. What really made this part of the trip was that the stadium was geared up to host the Rugby World Cup (South Africa vs Ireland), so it was fascinating to see everything adorned in the countries’ colours.

Our final visit on Wednesday was back towards the Eiffel Tower and to take a well-needed relaxing boat ride along the Seine on the ‘Bateaux Parisiens’. The weather was still great, which gave us loads of opportunities to take fantastic photos of sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral and, of course, the Tower itself.

Back to CdGR, our evening meal – including escargots (snails)!!! – and a silent disco, which was as weird as it sounds.

Our final, full day in Paris was probably the highlight for most pupils, as we spent the whole day at Disneyland!  We had an amazing time on all the rides (my ears are still ringing from Harvey Semons’ screams, who was sitting next to me on Space Mountain) and we saw the parades and shows. Not to mention a shopping extravaganza! We were lucky to stay until the evening when we enjoyed the amazing fireworks and light show (complete with lasers and drones) - an unforgettable experience. Despite some rain in the morning, this was another fantastic day!

On Friday morning we packed our bags and made an early start, ready to travel back to Risedale. It was another long day and we definitely all needed a weekend to recover.

All in all, Paris 2023 was a massive success. Both our coach driver and our PGL rep said that Risedale pupils were genuinely among the best, most polite and most respectful pupils they had ever worked with, and it’s true to say that all participating pupils represented our school incredibly.

Thank you to all who took part and to Mr Meacher, Mrs Meades, Mrs Wright and Mr Yates who helped to make it the fantastic success that it was. 

Next? Paris 2025, bien sûr!

Pupil Feedback:

  • Jessica Mallen (Year 11), "C'était l'expérience de ma vie!" - Jessica Mallen (Year 11).

  • Finlay Addison (Year 10), "Paris 2023 was such fun and I'd love to go back in the future."

  • George Matthews (Year 10), "Le Stade de France, c'était fabuleux parce que je me passionne pour le foot et le rugby!"

  • Milly Mason (Year 11), "Paris 2023 was great for character-building.  I made new friends and it was great for exploring a new culture."

  • On the subject of eating snails, Grace Baker (Year 11) said, "À mon avis, les escargots sont délicieux!!"

Parent/Carer Feedback on Facebook:

  • Samantha Camozzi, “Thank you Risedale School for giving our kids the opportunity to have this experience. Robin is going to cherish these memories forever.” 

  • Sasha Tomlinson, “Fabulous!! Thank you so much for giving Tallulah Tomlinson this experience!! She has had an absolutely amazing time. Risedale School thank you!!

  • Joanne Hill, “How amazing! Thanks for giving our kids an amazing trip.”