The group of 31 students and 4 teachers set off for Paris France on the 23rd of February, we flew out from Cork airport and made our way to the ever famous Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. We were taken to our hotel on Rue de Crimée. It was our first night in Paris and we were taken to our first set of oral French classes in an international language centre. After we took a late night stroll by the majestic “Arc de Triomphe” our night was near completed as we walked the world famous “Champs-Elysées” but no night is complete without two buskers on a midnight metro in Paris. I don’t think it hit any of our jet lagged heads that this was merely the beginning.
Day two and when you’re trying to sleep off three hours of jet lag being thrown into a three hour French class may not be the ideal situation but we took it in our stride and from there on things could only get better. Afterwards we took a daytime walk by the “Arc de Triomphe” and onto the “Champs-Elysées”. It was planned that we would get a walking tour around Paris, but a handsome array of Renault sports cars for the boys and an apparently attractive gathering of Abercrombie and Fitch models for the girls delayed us so much that we missed our appointment with our tour guide. Oops! We had a break from sweltering heat and shortly after made our way to our appointment to explore the Louvre art museum. We had an evening meal at FLUNCH (French lunch) restaurant. Afterwards we took a late-night cruise down the Seine River where Paris was in full view and everything looked more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.
The 3rd day came and so started with our last set of French classes and boy were they all memorable. After class and a light snack we made our way to the very impressive “Stade de France” coincidentally two weeks to the day after France had called off the 6 Nations rugby clash with Ireland, they must have known we were coming and yes before you ask – the heaters were out on the pitch! Students and teachers along with our tour guide Thibow made our way around the national stadium into the dressing rooms and onto the pitch for kicking practise of course. After dinner we were set loose in Paris for two hours of shopping, 31 students loose in shops . . . Paris had to restock the following day. When it hit night time we all made our way to the world famous “Eiffel Tower” that lit up the night sky. We braved our way to the second level some enjoyed the sights and stood in awe of this iconic structure. However some had more trouble dealing with the fact that they were over 1000 feet off the ground. With the joy of getting our feet back on solid ground we travelled back to our hotel.
Our fourth and last full day in Paris and this was the moment . . . it all built up to the full day trip to Disneyland Paris. Our hearts fluttered a little when we saw Mickey Mouse’s head peering over the gates of the magic kingdom. We were all let loose in a land of childhood wonder and we tore into it like it was our last day to live, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Haunted House come highly recommended to name a few.
Screaming, laughing and shopping, Disneyland will never be the same after Coláiste Na Trócaire.
An early and somewhat melancholic start to the last day, it was all over and the students would leave Paris with friendships, wonderful memories and suitcases twice the size as they were coming. Aer Lingus would be our ticket out of Paris and this was the experience of a lifetime for all of us. We must express our gratitude to our teachers who graciously accompanied us, Ms Aoife Kearney, Ms Kathleen Kingston, Ms Jackie Holly and Principal Mr Kevin Cusack.
This class trip to Paris was a once in a lifetime experience, one I am sure we all found very beneficial to our French language, our experience of French culture and also our unforgettable trips to iconic places around Paris. I would recommend this experience to anyone who has a flair for French language, French food and culture or if you simply want to see all the breath-taking sights and structures that Paris has to offer. From a student perspective it was an unforgettable experience.