Over the Easter holidays, foreign language learners travelled to France and Spain for unforgettable days of excitement, adventure, and cultural enrichment.

Twenty-four pupils from the First, Second and Third Forms stayed with host families in A Coruña, Galicia, a little-known region in northwest Spain.

The trip was designed to provide a wide range of activities that allowed pupils to experience the best that Galicia has to offer, along with opportunities to use their Spanish in context and experience language as a useful tool to communicate, not just as a classroom subject. The week included surfing Bastiagueiro’s beautiful beach, exploring the stunning cathedrals, and walking the last stage of El Camino de Santiago.

To cap it off, the trip was even covered by local news reporters who interviewed the pupils in Spanish on live TV.

Twenty-two Third and Fourth Form pupils went to Orléans. They were paired with French children from Saint Charles School with whom they had exchanged emails before meeting. They stayed with their host families for six days, and were expected to speak French at all times.

Morning school lessons with their exchange partners were followed in the afternoons by organised activities such as cooking classes, bowling, shopping, cinema and tours. Beyond Orleans, pupils enjoyed excursions with their host families to Paris and the famous chateaux in La Loire.

The group was honoured to be received at a reception at the Orléans Town Hall where they were met by a local resident who had enjoyed her own exchange with Oundle more than twenty years ago.

After a four-year gap, Sixth Form pupils returned to Paris, where the delights of the city were not dimmed by the fall out from the ongoing political unrest about pensions: the suspension of metros, burnt bins and broken windows.

The days were action-packed. A first-rate guided tour of Montmartre by expert guide and good friend Jean-Manuel Gabert, was followed by the Galeries Lafayette for the 2023 season fashion show where they had time to admire the view from the panoramic terrace on the seventh floor. Dinner was at La Taverne de Montmartre, a restaurant that the School has frequented for years, and it was touching to see that the proprietor remembered them despite the long absence.

A full day comprehensive guided tour began at the L’Ile de la Cite, and took in the Quartier Latin, La Sorbonne university, The Pantheon and the Rue Mouffetard, an area much prized by students. The afternoon was busy and full of contrasts from the quiet, meditative spaces of the Paris Mosque and the Musee Rodin to a full-scale French demonstration with flares, placards, drums, whistles and speeches, which luckily included many A level grammar structures. They later saw Francois Ozon’s recent film at the beautiful cinema Le Louxor, before dining in an old favourite, Le Relais Gascon.

An excursion outside Paris intra-muros included the famous flea market in St-Ouen, followed by a comical play at the Theatre St Georges. The last morning was spent meandering around the Marais and the lovely Place des Vosges. Paris never disappoints.