Sunday 9th June 2019 was the start of our fifth visit to our partner school, Ecole du lac, in St Cyr, near Poitiers.
This year the programme was slightly different, because Monday 10th was a Public Holiday in France, so the school was closed.
We travelled as usual by Eurostar from St Pancras International to Lille Europe station. In Lille we had a pic-nic lunch before moving on to Lille Flandres station to catch the train to Poitiers.
From there it was a short coach ride to the residential centre where once again we given a warm welcome by the staff both of the school and the centre.
On Sunday evening it was time for dinner, this year in the company of a group of French adult from a walking club, who welcomed us with a round of applause!
On Monday morning, after a good breakfast we travelled by coach to La Rochelle, on the coast, where we visited the superb aquarium and a stunning ice-cream shop, Ernest le glacier, where everyone sampled the amazing range of flavours.
On Tuesday it was time to meet again with our pen-pals at the school. There we enjoyed a second breakfast of juice, croissants, pain aux raisins and pain au chocolat. After lunch at the centre, we took a coach into Poitiers, where we explored the historic town.
We visited the amazing chocolate and macaroon shop before walking to the square outside the Hôtel de ville (Town Hall). There the children we able to order refreshments at a café. On the way back we also found time to 'faire des courses' (go shopping) at the Auchan store near to our base.
Wednesday saw the regular visit to Futuroscope with our French pen pals, where we experienced some of the amazing simulator rides. We had to dodge some heavy thunderstorms, but luckily most of the activities are indoors, so the weather didn't spoil the fun.
On Thursday we took part in a whole day of activities at the school. Ecole du lac are our partners in a two year Erasmus Plus project 'Let's all GROW together' and the activities were linked to wellness and cooperation.
We started with a session of controlled breathing 'Cohérence Cardiaque', then went onto a number of sessions with our pen-pals. Some were creative, there was yoga and exercise, and a 'who am I?' task. During the morning we were joined by a crew from France 3 TV who were doing a report on the project. (See the report HERE...
We all enjoyed lunch at the school, then later in the afternoon there was an international quiz using the Kahoot app and finally it was time for 'Goûter' (snack time) with some local food specialities.
In the evening at the residential centre, the school staff joined us and gave the children the opportunity to try some frogs' legs and snails. Mixed opinions on them!
All too soon it was Friday morning and a last chance to say au revoir to all our friends before the start of the journey home.
You can read more about our experiences in our French Visit Blog.