Step into the future…

… as seen in 1987 when Futuroscope opened.

Originally a park emphasising “futuristic” technology and with an educational angle, Futuroscope is now a theme park where the majority of the rides are indoors in simulators. These use 3D screens, moving seats, sounds, smells, wind and more to create the sensation of being involved in the action.

Many have a technological slant. We started the day on some of the favourites (Les Lapins Cretins, La Vienne Dynamique, Arthur et les Minimoys), heading towards “Danse avec les Robots”. Many of the children also tried the new roller coaster “Objectif Mars”

As a bonus, we discovered that they were doing test runs of a new ride, “Chasseurs des Tornades”, and we were able to try this before it officially opens next month. It was an excellent ride, although they do have a few bugs to iron out: at the end the safety bars wouldn’t release so we were locked in our seats. As it was air conditioned and comfortable inside we weren’t too concerned. After a bit of frantic keyboard prodding by one of the techs, it was all sorted out.

We finished the afternoon with some cooling water rides and the a visit to the shop.

As the Ecole du lac may not be fully open on Friday due to the heat, the children said their goodbyes at the end of the afternoon in Futuroscope.

Wednesday – La Rochelle

With temperatures rising, the fresher air on the coast at La Rochelle was very welcome.

La Rochelle, the capital of Charente Maritime, is a picturesque town with old battlements around the harbour as well as a very popular modern marina and, of course, many superb shops, eating venues etc.

The day started with a visit to the Aquarium, which is very, very good and well designed. The children were able to look at everything that took their interest in each section, ending in the tropical rainforest – and the gift shop, where some purchases were made.

Then on to a new attraction for us, La Grande Roue – the ferris wheel. Most children, including a few who were a bit unsure, went on the wheel and really enjoyed it, the views gave a very different perspective of the town.

Then, on to what is a high spot of the whole trip, Ernest le Glacier and the simply stunning array of ice creams. The children practiced their French more by asking for their choice. It’s fair to say that all were satisfied!

To walk off a few of the calories, we went for a walk around the battlements before calling into a gift shop and returning to the coach.

On the way back to the centre, we called into the Auchan hypermarket, where the children successfully negotiated this massive store and made some “interesting” purchases – we hope you like the gifts!

They did well with selection within their budget and paying for their purchases – all good life skills!

Thursday means Futuroscope. More on that soon.

Tuesday at Ecole du lac

We’ll keep this brief as a trip to La Rochelle is beckoning.

Another great day with the team at Ecole du lac, who are always so friendly and welcoming.

In keeping with our project “Small Steps for a Better World”, the day started with a litter picking walk around the village, or rather, villages. The commune of St Cyr is made up of a number of small villages, the school is actually in Traversay. This was the first time that we have visited the older part of St Cyr proper. We climbed up above the village with a great view back to the lake.

On return to school, we did two Kahoot quizes, one about the Earth and one a maths / general knowledge.

Lunch was then taken in the school cantine.

In the afternoon the children took part in a carousel of activities on the theme of our project, working with their partners to decorate garlands for the trees made from reused materials, a book of advice of ways to help the environment and bilingual signs for the school garden.

After dinner at the centre, the children went to the lake to play rounders and cool down a bit!

Monday – a day with a common theme

Monday morning saw the group introduced to the breakfast routine at the centre. A help-yourself arrangement with cereals, French bread, jam, honey, nut spread, fruit, yoghurts and drinking chocolate as well as juice and water.

Suitably fueled up, we headed for the lake next to the centre, which was a good place to get some cool fresh air and clear any remaining cobwebs.

Then we walked the short distance to the school to a warm welcome and reacquaint ourselves with the penpals. Ecole du lac had laid on juice, croissants and pain au chocolat which were enjoyed, before a group photo for the local newspaper and then a treasure hunt around the school site. The morning ended with the French children singing us two songs, one in French about a Rainbow of Languages followed by the Beatles classic “Hello, Goodbye”.

We returned to the centre for lunch.

Lunch in France is a leisurely hour and a half affair, with 4 courses; a cheese puff to start, then battered fish with cauliflower cheese, a cheese course and a chocolate dessert – and French bread. The specific dietary requirements were covered with alternatives.

So then to the coach for the journey to Poitiers.

This is a very attractive city on a hill surrounded by a loop in the river. It has many old and grand official buildings and a top ranked university.

We looked in the 11th century Notre Dame church then walked to the main square outside the Hotel de Ville, where the children were able to order drinks. Diabalos are fizzy water with added colourful flavoured syrup in fraise, menthe, peche, limonade etc.

Suitably refreshed we set off to find shops to buy postcards and small gifts before discovering a Breton style crepe and waffle outlet. Most of the children decided to have one and the menu list gave them a chance to practice more French. Crepe with Nutella was a popular choice.

On our return to the centre they spent some time relaxing and doing their journals before dinner: tomato salad, burger and chips and choc ices for dessert… and French bread.

The last hours before bed time were mostly spent playing games in the outside spaces, preparing rooms for Mr Drury’s legendary room inspections and pondering today’s “questions of the day”. The children have to look out for words and information in places and on buildings that Mr Drury might ask about. The points from this go towards the totals for the rooms.

So, as you can see, a busy, full on day, but no shortage of calorie intake!

The Journey

On previous visits to St. Cyr, the journey phase has been a story of cancellations, delays, struggling through the Metro with luggage and wrangling with French railway bureaucracy.

Happily, this time there are no dramas to report.

As were leaving the Gare du Nord it seemed that the coach driver was having a little difficulty engaging first gear and a few of us were wondering whether this was the moment, but he finally sorted it and we were off.

Otherwise all trains and coaches and trains were on time – it was just a very long day!

The children were, however, cheerful and well behaved throughout. The excitement about being in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower “in the flesh” was a great thing to experience.

Here are a few pictures of the day that weren’t tweeted.

On Monday we had a very relaxed morning at Ecole du lac, followed by an afternoon in Poitiers – more on that soon.

It’s nearly time to go!

Lots of packing is going on as everyone gets ready for the departure.

Don’t forget that we need to be ready to go on Sunday morning at 7.45. The school gates will be open at 7.25, please be there for 7.30, as it takes time to load the coach, say goodbyes etc.

Please be respectful of our neighbours at school early on a Sunday morning.

We will be travelling by coach to St. Pancras Station, Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, coach via the Eiffel Tower (not going up, just sight seeing) then on to Gare Montparnasse for the train journey to Poitiers. Finally we get a coach from Poitiers to St Cyr, so it’s a long day but with good lengths of time on trains to recover strength and maybe catch up on sleep.

The weather outlook for the week is looking quite warm, but experience tells us that heavy showers are possible, so lightweight waterproofs and suitable footwear will be essential. Also, as La Rochelle is on the Atlantic coast, it can be a bit breezy.

Instant updates on progress and activities will be on the school Twitter: @WPrimary

See you on Sunday!