Hatherop French Trip to Château de la Baudonnière

Last week, pupils in Prep 6, 7 and 8 were enjoying themselves and practising their French on our trip in Normandy. This year was extra special as it marked our first French residential since 2019 due to Covid-19 travel restrictions!

It was so nice to have the opportunity for children and staff return to Château de la Baudonnière and to enjoy the delights of one of our closest neighbouring countries again!

Lundi – Leaving school at a civilised time at school we headed to Portsmouth where we took the ferry across La Manche to the French port of Caen (Ouistreham). The children enjoyed a bit of freedom whilst on the ferry and we were lucky enough to be allocated our own room, equipped with screen! Due to there being only one crossing that day, we arrived at the wonderful Château rather late in the evening – meaning we would have to wait until the morning to explore!

Mardi – After a much-needed slow start and exploration of the site, we headed north towards the historical town of Bayeux, famed for its 70-metre-long tapestry depicting the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror. We then headed up to the coast to Arromanches where the Normandy landings took place on D-Day, where we visited the 360° cinema providing an sensory immersive view at the landings with the remnants of the Mulberry harbours in the background.  In the afternoon, we were extremely lucky to have a guided tour around the cemetery at Colleville and had the privilege of taking part in a headstone commemoration, honouring those who gave their lives during the World War II.

Mercredi – Visiting the local market of St-Hilaire du Harcouët, we enjoyed one of the many things that France does well – artisanal local produce! Children enjoyed using their French to sample and buy many products and to soak up the culture. Later that day, we went west to the coast in order to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of Mont St Michel. A marvel both up close and far away, the medieval tidal island allowed us to wander the streets and explore the ramparts before heading back to the Château for some chill out time and French-themed evening! Cue tasting of some escargots!

Jeudi – Following 2 days of excursions, we spent Thursday taking advantage of the great facilities on site. We split up into smaller groups and followed a carousel of activities which included some French lessons, Robin des Bois archery and bread-making. It was such a nice way to round-off a superb week and the day was topped off with a disco in the evening!

Vendredi – We were sad to say au revoir to both the staff and the Château itself, but as I’m sure you’ll hear if you speak to anyone who was on the trip, it was such a refreshing and interesting trip ! And of course, any trip to France would be incomplete without a stop-off at a French supermarket, where everyone spent their last Euros on some lovely French bits and bobs before heading back to Caen for the ferry back to old Blighty!