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Nothing says Paris in the spring like torrential rain and 10-degree temperatures. However, our intrepid group of fourteen Year 10s were undeterred by the inclement conditions as they sallied forth daily onto the streets of Paris, with undampened enthusiasm, despite the moisture in the air. The pupils taking part in this Easter’s exchange trip to Paris were thrilled to be spending time with their exchange partners, who had already become firm friends thanks to the success of their visit to London in the first half of the Lent term. The French families were certainly keen to match the English families’ hospitality and the weekend saw trips to Disneyland, shopping expeditions on the Champs Elysées, art exhibitions at the Pompidou Centre, and much more.

Day One of our trip saw us making every tourist’s first Parisian pilgrimage: we climbed the Eiffel Tower, to enjoy spectacular, if rather grey, views of the City of Light. Once at ground level again we embarked upon a boat trip along the Seine, taking in some of the most spectacular architectural treasures of the city, including le Musée d’Orsay, les Invalides, le Grand Palais, le Petit Palais, le Musée du Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris and much more! Our first day culminated in a guided tour of the Musée de l’Orangerie. Situated in the Tuilerie Gardens, the museum that houses Monet’s Waterlilies and an astonishing collection of Impressionist works was the perfect introduction to Paris’s cultural offerings. Subsequent days saw us taking in another exceptional view as we ascended the 210-metre Tour Montparnasse (the highlight being its view of the Eiffel Tower, as well as some precious moments of rare sunshine!), climbing the steps up to le Sacré Coeur and exploring the artists’ quarter of Montmartre, and a full day’s discovery of the palace and gardens of Versailles. Another highlight was a Parisian local’s recommendation of a surprisingly trendy and authentic restaurant in Pigalle. Lunch in the heart of Paris’s red-light district, saw our pupils valiantly making sure they were fed, despite their teachers’ request to the staff that the children get no food or drink unless they asked for it in French. Bon appétit!


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