After a very early departure from school on the 2nd December, our coach of 36 students (and four very tired staff) made its way down to the Eurotunnel in Folkestone and before too long, we arrived in France.
The first stop was the Lille’s Christmas market on the Place Rihour. The stalls sold all manners of things, from jewellery to toys and most of the students wasted no time at all in spending their euros. After the early start, food was definitely on people’s minds and fortunately the market catered for everyone’s taste. With Lille being so close to the Belgian border, there were plenty of crêpes, waffles and doughnuts waiting to be eaten.
After our tour of the market, we headed into La Grande Place, Lille’s main square where a number of us went onto the Ferris wheel. It was a clear day so we were able to get some stunning shots of the city from way up high.
Once all of the shopping had been done and with plenty of presents purchased, we headed back onto our coach to our accommodation. Whilst there, a number of our students bravely decided to sample a side order of “escargots” (snails!) along with their meal. Then after several games of pool, table football and basketball it was well and truly time for bed.
The next morning, after a traditional French breakfast of croissants and chocolat chaud (yes, you really can dip your croissant into your hot chocolate!) we visited a local boulangerie (bakery).
The bakery in the village of Escoeuilles is one of the few bakeries left in northern France which still produces bread in the traditional manner; it has now been making bread using an open wood fire for over 150 years. Whilst inside the students were shown how the bread is made from start to finish. We were able to see the bread made, shape the dough, pull some important levers and most importantly of all eat the mouth-wateringly delicious pains au chocolat.
Everyone was fascinated to see exactly how the bread was made although not many people fancied the idea of starting work at 02.30 every morning.
Then after lunch at a well-known fast-food restaurant (aren’t you glad you weren’t behind all of us in the queue?), some last minute purchases were made at the hypermarché before heading back home.
It was a whirlwind trip but thanks to all of the staff and students for making it a very enjoyable couple of days.