Parlez-vous français?

Before half term Year 6 spent a sunny week in Le Clos de l’Ancien Pressoir, a château in Commes, Normandie. They practised their French, ate lovely (and, to them, strange) food, learnt a lot about history and enjoyed some sightseeing.

After a very early start on the Monday, the pupils enjoyed a “jambon et frites” on the ferry. They were all excited, perfectly behaved and keen to get started with their French.

After a lovely welcome from our guides Bob and Stella at the centre, pupils settled into their dorms knowing that there would be a competition for both the quietest and tidiest dorms.

Table manners were very important and we all ate meals together the French way, starting as one after having said “bon appétit”, trying new food, and saying lots of “s’il vous plait” and “merci”. At every “petit déjeuner” proper croissants and pains au chocolat were a highlight!

During the week, pupils had French lessons to practise vocabulary that they then had to use and apply in real situations. For example, things you can find on a beach for a scavenger hunt, places and directions for a town quiz, fruits and quantity to buy fruits in a market to make fruit salads, role play to help ordering in restaurants for their lunches in a crêperie and a pizzeria and likes and dislike for a cheese tasting!

They visited lots of interesting places, learnt a lot and got a sense of French life. In Bayeux, there was a tour of a French food market, a visit to the cathedral and old town, lunch in a crêperie and a visit to the Bayeux tapestry, assisted by an audio guide. The pupils were very interested to see face-to-face what they had studied in the classroom.

Our guide made us relive history during our visits to the D-Day landings beaches at Arromanches and Omaha. The pupils learnt all about the floating harbour and the reality of the landings and were fascinated and moved when watching the original film footage and visiting the soldiers’ graves at the American Memorial and Cemetery.

On the last day, it was very entertaining to watch them shop in a big French supermarket. The rule was to ONLY buy things that could only be found in France!

The pupils and staff did not want to leave.

Mrs Glenny commented: “It was a pleasure to watch the children embrace French culture and language, always willing to have a go and try new things. They were great ambassadors for the school and behaved impeccably wherever we went. The children made fantastic memories and I am sure this amazing experience and its transformative effects will stay with them and inspire future visits.”

Parents, I hope you have received your “carte postale”!

Anna Mortimer, Prep French Teacher