24 February 2023

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We set of at just after 9pm after passing through the new improved Corbley-Barrow Travels check in desk.  Loaded our bags onto the coach and we were Dover bound.  After a VERY early morning stop at Oxford services in freezing conditions we got back on the coach and headed to Dover where our main driver Max (the Legend) was waiting for us.  We arrived in Dover at around 5 o'clock and bleary eyed we went through two sets of customs English and French and most of us had our passports stamped... it was official we had left British soil!  Then we boarded the ferry.  To our delight there were cafés and restaurants, so we spent our breakfast money and had a delicious breakfast on the ferry.   The journey lasted just over 90 minutes where we explored the boat and then we disembarked and landed in France proper.

Driving through the famous Somme battlefields we saw lots of monuments from the motorways shining in the spring sunlight.  And 4 hours later we hit the Parisian traffic!  We had a very quick freshen up at the hotel dropped our bags off and then explored Paris a little with our first 'sortie' down the Champs Elysées where we marvelled at the shops and the architecture and the Arc de Triomphe.  A short while after we ate delicious Tarte Flambée et a cloistered underground restaurant and enjoyed this traditional french meal.  After this we returned to the hotel where we saw some familiar faces... you wouldn't believe it a party from Our Lady's were at the same hotel as us... what a small world!

We settled in for the night and had much needed hot showers and an early night.  We did have a whole day in Disneyland to look forward to the next day!

Disney land drew us all in with the parades, the colourful characters, the songs, the rides and the turrets of the enchanted castle... we just didn't want to leave.  Mrs Barrow and I and a couple of students accidentally went to see a Lion King show which was A-M-A-ZING with arial acrobats and live singers ... a highlight for those who saw it...and something to look out for next time!

Sunday, we visited the tomb of the unknown soldier and climbed the 284 spiral stairs that take you to the top of the Arc de Triomphe... knowing that you had 284 to come back down too.  But the views from this vantage point were spectacular and well worth a visit.  We paid our respects to the tomb of the unknown soldier also.  After this we went to Notre Dame and marvelled at the Rose window.  although shut due to renovations after the devastating fire the students immersed themselves in the area and were soon buying trinkets and souvenirs for people at home.  Students were feeling the parisian 'façon de vie' whist wearing berets and munching on delicious crêpes.  After a short break back at the hotel to refuel we then made our ascent up the Eiffel tower scaling all 3 floors (in a lift).  Some people conquered their fear of heights that night and were glad they did so having had the best views of Paris, the Eiffel Tower shadowing the Arc de Triomphe massively.  On our descent some of our students decided that they were going to walk down the stairs to have a memorable event from this last night in Paris and had an amazing time doing so... the story they can now tell of that day in February 2023 when they walked down the Eiffel Tower.  We went home to pack for our long journey home.

Monday was our final day in France, before getting the shuttle back we had a 4-hour drive to Calais before we hit the Cité Europe shopping centre where we could spend our last euros and buy our lunch and practise our last French.  And then before we knew it, we were back home in Preston at 2am. All students were impeccably behaved and had a great time and all I have to say is 'à bientôt Paris... à l'année prochaine!'

February in Paris

Tags: french