For the final weekend of this academic year, sixteen Lower Grammarians travelled to Paris for a linguistic, cultural and spiritual visit during what turned out to be France’s hottest summer weekend on record!
Led by Mr Goodwin and Miss Livingstone, the cohort arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport early on Friday morning, from where they travelled onwards by metro to their accommodation for the long weekend: The Fiap Jean Monnet in the 14th arrondissement. After a local lunch, the group returned to the city centre. Their first stop was the Arc de Triomphe, before some leisurely, afternoon strolling and shopping on the Champs-Elysées. The group walked up between the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, took in the view of Place de Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe at each end and then walked across the Alexandre III bridge to take in the delightful views of the Seine, before jumping back on the metro from Les Invalides.
Day Two began with a visit to Paris’ most iconic landmark, and without a cloud in the sky, the view across all corners of Paris from two floors up the Eiffel Tower could not have been better. Once back on the ground, the group walked alongside the Seine before boarding le bateau mouche for a gentle cruise along the river to appreciate the unique Parisian architecture and the capital’s fascinating history by water. The group then travelled across the city to their final destination of the day- Montmartre- from where they first took in the marvellous sight of the Sacré Coeur cathedral and in front of it, the incredible views of virtually the whole city. But the main event in Montmarte was attending a special mass led by Father Phillip Endean SJ OS in the Martyrium of Saint-Denis, where in 1534, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Pierre Favre and four companions pronounced their religious vows of poverty and chastity, and promised to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
For a complete contrast, day three consisted of going on as many rides as possible in Disneyland Paris! All pupils were swept away by the magic of the place and the energy of the various performers and street parades. Before heading home on day four, the group headed into one of Paris’ most contemporary and arty neighbourhoods to check out some of the famous paintings and sculptures at the Centre Pompidou. But the final important activity of the trip was to mark Dilip’s fourteenth birthday, which they did with a giant chocolate cake in the square just in front of the museum. Paris, nous t’aimons!