Every year we organise a five-day trip to Normandy in the north of France. We leave Barnstaple really early and travel by bus to Portsmouth where we catch a ferry to Caen in Northern France. From there we have about a 20 minute journey to the youth centre which becomes our home for the next 4 nights. Students sleep in dorms on bunk beds in rooms of between 4 and 8 people (they decide who they will share their rooms with.) The centre has a lovely outdoor area where students are free to play football, volleyball or soak up the sun! It is also located really near the beach where we like to take the students in the evening so that they can wear off any energy they may have!
Over the course of the next 4 days we visit a variety of places, many of which are linked to the Second World War. We visit the American, commonwealth and German war cemeteries, visit the historic town of Arromanches (twinned with Instow) where we visit a museum and a 360 degree cinema. Moreover we visit a typically French market where students are given some money to buy their lunch (with a back up packed lunch just in case!), we visit the Bayeux tapestry and the city of Caen for some shopping and see the castle. Lastly we visit the very pretty and touristy Mont St Michel, after which they get to try snails and frogs legs (if they want to!)
The French residential trip is for Year 8 pupils and it is a fantastic opportunity for students to be able to practise their French, experience the culture and learn about some of France’s recent history.