This Easter, 30 Challoner's boys from Years 8, 9 and 10 took part in a French exchange programme to Marseille, in the south of France.

La belle campagne - George Corby, Year 10

The trip started with a short flight from Heathrow to Marseille, where we were greeted at the airport by our exchange families. Nervously, we listened intently as a register was called; waiting for our name to be read out and for us to meet our exchange family. Fortunately, everything went very smoothly, with everyone getting on well with their partner.

The next morning started with a short coach journey to Sanary Sur-Mer: a small, pretty port town with a large market. Here, we were able to put our French speaking skills to the test with many of us being pleasantly surprised by the level of French we knew. Shortly after, we travelled to Cassis, a larger town where we went on a boat trip. On the boat, we were taught about the history of the area; including, perhaps most surprisingly, the fact that Winston Churchill used to visit there to paint.

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Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/YzIm40p85Tc

On Friday we enjoyed completely different activities. The day started with a trip to the ruins of a castle in Les Baux. There were incredible views as well as an extremely impressive trebuchet. Here we were able to enjoy some further free time to improve our French accent and buy some lunch. For the afternoon, we travelled to Les Carrières - caves underneath Les Baux showing giant projections of Chagall’s masterpieces. These were accompanied by music, creating an incredible and immersive, but strange experience.

We spent the next three days with our exchange families. Most of us were taken around the local area to sites such as Notre-Dame de la Garde, art galleries, museums and the beach. Some of us were even lucky enough to go skiing or scuba diving!

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Tuesday was our final full day. In the morning, we visited Stade Vélodrome, the home of Olympique de Marseille. Here, we learnt about the history of the club and the surrounding area, as well as enjoying a tour of the stadium. Our day finished with a trip to Arles. Here, we saw several ancient Roman sites such as an Amphitheatre and a Stadium. We also saw the garden of the ex-hospital that Vincent Van Gogh stayed in during his final years while he was mentally ill.

For me, this was the best trip I’ve ever been on with DCGS and so on behalf of all the students involved, would like to thank all the teachers involved and in particular, Mrs Keen for leading the trip as well as all of the exchange families who gave us such a good time.