French Trip 2016

Junior French Trip to Paris

Friday 17th – Monday 20th June 2016

On Friday 17th June, 37 excited Year 9 and 10 students, accompanied by Madame Coyle, Madame McMenamin, Monsieur Quinn, Madame McGonagle and Madame Friel, eagerly set off for Belfast International Airport to head to Paris.

After just a few bouts of turbulence, some inflight entertainment provided by football supporters en route to the Euro matches and a frustratingly slow bus ride due to the rush-hour Parisian traffic, we arrived in the beautiful and trendy Beaubourg quartier of Paris to have our first dinner together in Crêperie Beaubourg.  Even from this early stage, it was clear that Paris was a stunning city.  Everything, from the majestic buildings in the city centre, to the ornate cathedrals (and even the rundown outskirts) had their charm, and, although there was so much diversity among the architecture, it all just seemed to fit together perfectly.  We arrived at our hotel on Friday night exhausted but enthusiastic for what the next day’s itinerary had in store for us.

On Saturday after a traditional breakfast of croissants, chocolat chaud and café au lait, we enjoyed a guided bus tour of Paris and saw famous landmarks such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc De Triomphe and the Champs Elysées.  We then hopped on to the famous Bateaux Mouches to take a leisurely boat trip on the River Seine and managed to get some great photos of the Parisian skyline from this unique viewpoint.  Following a quick lunch in our new favourite eatery ‘Flunch’,  we then had to go through an extremely rigorous 3-stage security check, resulting in many confiscated souvenirs and one broken snow globe (Sorry Caoimhe, but glass is forbidden!) to stand in a very long queue to make a very long climb to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower.  However, it has to be said, it was most certainly worth it.  The views were absolutely astounding!  We also managed to get a glimpse of the Euros fan zone located just beside the Eiffel Tower.   I know that many could have stood on the Eiffel Tower all day but alas, we had dinner reservations, so off we set again!

Sunday was the day that many people (teachers included, I think) had been most looking forward to: Disneyland!  It would be impossible not to get carried away with the jovial Disney atmosphere after stepping on to “Main Street USA”, the road stretching from the entrance of Disneyland to the famous “Sleeping Beauty Castle”.  Everything was cheerful, the little shops, the Disney characters, the hotdog and popcorn stalls…even spending the day thinking that I had lost my bag containing both my wallet and Kindle did little to dampen my mood! (PS- thankfully my bag was found by my teachers- a common occurrence during this trip.) The entire park was spellbinding, and luckily, the queues were surprisingly short.  Madame McGonagle will certainly remember her first trip on Space Mountain! We left at around 6pm to have dinner in Planet Hollywood before spending the evening souvenir shopping and watching the array of entertainers in Disney Village.

Although the trip was almost over on Monday morning, we still had time for one final look at Paris! We managed to squeeze in a visit to the wonderful Sacré Cœur Cathedral and visit the surrounding markets of the beautiful Montmartre district, (where I came worryingly close to spending 40 euros on a statue of Napoleon for no reason in particular.)  Finally we said au revoir to our coach driver Connie and headed to Charles De Gaulle airport to make our way back home to Derry.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip, if a little brief, where lasting memories and friendships have hopefully been made. 

Article by Conall Harkin, 10C. Photographs by Aoibh Gallagher, 9C.

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