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Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School Horncastle

Cahors Exchange: 3rd-11th October 2014

It is with great pleasure that I can report on yet another successful trip to Cahors in the south of France. This is our third visit to this wonderful part of the world and I must say that everybody, Mr Hogg, Mrs Semple, myself and the 32 pupils taking part, have all returned from this trip refreshed, enriched from their experience and looking forward to hosting their French counterparts in March next year. What is more, the weather was still incredibly warm for the time of year. 

Students on the French Exchange Trip Students kayaking on the French Exchange Trip

Our long coach journey took the best part of a day, but the pupils finally met up their new penfriends on Friday 3rd October and spent the rest of the weekend getting to know each other. We reunited with our pupils on Monday for a day trip to Najac in Aveyron. It was exciting to hear about what the pupils did during the weekend. Some went to the seaside, others stayed in the area doing different activities but they all attended a huge party in the evening organised for them by their penfriends. But no matter what they did, they all enjoyed their first few days with their French counterparts.

Students on the French Exchange Trip Mme Rigby enjoying coffee and cake

After walking though the delightful medieval village of Najac, we all went kayaking on the meandering river below the village under the vigilant eyes of our instructors. What a sense of achievement at the end when we finished, somewhat tired but proud! This activity once again turned out to be the highlight of the trip. On the other days we travelled by coach to visit the A380 Airbus Centre in Toulouse followed by some shopping in the city centre and enjoyed the delights of Cahors on board a little tourist train.  We even journeyed down to the centre of the earth in order to explore the beautiful subterranean prehistoric art of the Upper Palaeolithic period in the world-famous Pech-Merle cave: mammoths, horses, bison, symbols, hand templates, human figures and footprints. An extraordinary art gallery in a palace of nature; whata testimony to life 25,000 years ago!

French Exchange Trip Students on the French Exchange Trip

The pupils also had the chance to spend a morning at school and attended a variety of lessons with their penfriends; they found the experience enjoyable albeit very different. On the last evening of the stay, the parents and children came to bid us farewell at school over nibbles and drinks and then, sadly, we all boarded the coach and travelled overnight to Paris.

Students on the French Exchange Trip at Disneyland Paris Disneyland Paris

Disneyland was our last stop before returning home, but it was the cherry on the cake! Despite our overnight drive, we soon recovered and regained our strength ready to enjoy the delights of the bewitching world of Walt Disney: dancing with Baloo the Bear, getting lost inAlice's Curious Labyrinth,meeting with Mickey Mouse, riding gilded horses on KingArthur’s Carouseland daring to try the frightening Space Mountain train (under the pupils’ influence)! What a day filled with excitement, bringing back to us all the magical moments of our childhood. But all good things come to an endand we had to leave behind this enchanting world to face the reality……We arrived back in Horncastle on Saturday 11th October at dawn, our eyes still full of fairy-like dreams but delighted about our trip.

Finally, I must say that it has been a privilege to have been in charge of such a group; the pupils behaved impeccably and were a credit tothemselves, to their parents and to the school.  My extended thanks also go to everybody who supported this project.

Mme Rigby