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Coombes Boys School

Year 10 and 11 Paris Trip

On Friday 27th January, 30 boys from years 10 and 11 set off on the school's annual French residential trip. The journey to Paris took them via the Vimy Ridge War Memorial to fallen Canadian soldiers who served in WW1, where Canadian guides took them round original WW1 trenches and tunnels where they were able to appreciate what the men fighting the battle would have gone through. After leaving Vimy, the boys arrived at the Château de Grande Romaine on the outskirts of Paris in time for dinner and the evening entertainment: a photo rally around the grounds to familiarise themselves with the layout of what would be their home for the next three days.

Saturday saw an early breakfast ready for a trip into the city centre in order to climb one of the most iconic monuments in the world - the Eiffel Tower. After a good workout of taking the stairs to the first floor, the boys were able to admire the view across Paris, even able to spy their next destination in the distance - the Sacré Coeur Basilica in the Montmartre district. After descending the Tower, it was time to make their way to the Sacré Coeur via the Champs-Elysées, where boys were able to browse the luxury boutiques that line the world-renowned shopping street. The climb to the top of Montmartre was gentler than that of the Eiffel Tower, but the view from the top no less breathtaking, with the boys also free to explore the interior of the ornately decorated basilica. The evening saw a return to the Château and the making of that classic French snack - crêpes.

Sunday's excursion was to the nearby town of Fontainebleau in order to visit its Sunday market, where the boys were able to practise their French haggling skills, and the Château de Fontainebleau, a former royal palace and UNESCO world heritage site. Inside, they learnt about the reigns of France's monarchs from François I in the 16th century to Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th through exploring a sequence of sumptuous galleries, bedchambers, chapels and salons. After Fontainebleau, it was time to return to the centre for a quick dinner before heading back into Paris for an evening night tour around the city, in order to take in all their illuminated glory, with their brains being picked by our on-coach guide and his quizzes about the history of the city.

Finally, as Monday came it was time to say goodbye to the Château de Grande Romaine, with a brief stop in Arras to spend any last euros remaining and to buy some last minute souvenirs for friends and family. The trip arrived back at Coombe earlier than expected, with the boys and staff tired, but exhilarated by what they had seen over the past few days. Planning has already begun for the next trip and we hope to see as many people on it as possible!

Mr Stewart would like to thank the boys for their behaviour and to thank all the staff who helped make the trip such a success: Miss Caputa, Mrs Newman, Mr Kirwan and Mr Whittington.