French Exchange Trip 2018 - Student Write Up
Friday 23rd March: Toulouse
After reaching Muret at midnight the night before, we had an early start at the Lycée at 8 in the morning the next day. We saw the school in daylight for the first time where we met our English friends, ready to go (also for the first time) to Toulouse.
After a quick coach ride, we were in Toulouse-, which is much bigger, then Canterbury! We went to ‘Le Capitole’, which is the city hall in Toulouse with a beautiful square in front of it, which, when we were there, bared a market. We met a tour guide who gave us a guide of the inside of le Capitole and some surrounding areas of interest such as churches and the coat of arms- this was all in French so we were asked questions on the way to make sure we understood. We were told that the symbol of Toulouse was the violet. They used to send a posy of violets every year to Paris and they sold in many different countries, as they were so popular.
We then had some free time to eat lunch and explore Toulouse. Many of the girls went shopping in the big make up shops like Sephora while others went to the grassy banks of the River Garonne. We then went to the Natural History Museum, which included rare rocks and minerals, stuffed animals, geography, history and a beautiful botanical garden. (The rainforest room was my favourite where many different tropical plants grew surrounded by mini waterfalls all in a humid climate). To finish the day we returned to the Lycée and spent our first proper night with our families.
By Emma Carter
Saturday and Sunday 24th and 25th March: The weekend
At the weekend, we were spending the time with our host families. They would choose with us what we wanted to do on the two days. Many people met up and did things with the other English and their French exchange such as laser tag. Other people would spend the weekend with just their families doing activities such as going shopping.
By Molly Rowe
Monday 26th March: Airbus
On Monday, after meeting at the school with our exchanges as usual, we visited Airbus. It was a fantastic day and definitely an unforgettable experience!! The planes were bigger than I had expected so it was overwhelming. Airbus produced their first plane, the A300 in 1972 and offer a range of commercial planes from the A318 to the A380 as well as freight planes and planes for businessmen and women. The A380 is assembled in Toulouse so it was a good opportunity to see where it was built. The workers looked like ants in comparison to it though!!
After visiting Airbus, we went to a hypermarket to do shopping. That, for me, was the highlight of the day as it allowed us to spend lots of free time with our friends, and practise a little bit of French when buying gifts for our families. Monday was a good day and if I could, I would always love to revisit my French family again one day.
By Catriona Forbes
Tuesday 28th March: Carcassonne
Perched on a rocky hilltop and bristling with battlements, the fortified city of Carcassonne looked like something out of a fairytale as we approached its ancient walls. After an hour and a half by coach, we finally arrived. The sun greeted us for about 10 seconds, illuminating the old medieval castle. Then the rain came.
We had a chance to walk around the old city, each group dashing to different cafés and shops as their shelter against the rain. When we got into the castle itself the view from the battlements was stunning. You could almost see the border of Spain despite the rain blurring our vision. After our tour of the castle, we had to perform a play about the tale of Dame Carca. (Carcassonne was in a siege and was running out of food rapidly. Dame Carca said to fatten up a pig with all the remaining food to look as though they weren’t hungry at all. It worked and all the attackers gave up, saving the castle from destruction.) It sounds simple enough right? However, we had to include words like “avion” (aeroplane) which we had learnt from other trips out. It was very entertaining as there were inflatable dinosaurs, which gained a fair number of strange looks from passersby! It was probably one of the strangest plays in history. Overall, the whole day was really fun despite the rain, and we all now know the legend of Carcassonne, with an inflatable dinosaur woven into the tale somewhere!
By Miranda Alford
Wednesday 28th March: Albi
On Wednesday, we visited a town called Albi with the students from the French school. Albi is a pretty, historic town on the Tarn River, which contains a 13th century Cathedral as well as lots of traditional shops and houses. We started the day by getting into mixed groups of French and English to find answers in the town to a French quiz. We had to work as a team to try to communicate and find the answers in places such as the cathedral, statues and buildings. After all the groups completed the quiz we ate our lunch and had free time to explore the town more and visit the shops. Afterwards, we went to a museum showing the work of the French painter, Toulouse-Lautrec before getting on the coach back to Toulouse. It was a great day and we all enjoyed it a lot especially as it gave us an opportunity to get to know all the French students and make friends with them too!
By Isobel Hodges
Thursday 29th March: Leaving
Thursday: the end of the week. We were all huddled outside our coach dreading being told to go inside and waving frantically at our exchange partners. The amazing week had ended and everything had gone by so quickly. However, after spending a whole week getting to know French language and culture, we were exhausted. Although, we were sad about leaving our lovely exchange families, La Ville Rose and, I wish I could say, the hot weather, many of us knew this would not be the last time. I am so thankful to all of the French teachers for organising this unforgettable experience.
By Amelie Richards