S3 French Exchange

 Posted by at 8:18 am
samedi, 28 septembre
The end of our adventure; now we face the long journey home!
vendredi, 27 septembre 
We started the day off by getting on the bus and going to Mr Hulot’s beach (Which was inspiration for Mr Bean’s Holiday, a remake of Les Vacances de M. Hulot). After scrambling around on the rocks for a little while, we re-boarded the bus and headed to the city of St-Nazaire to go and see the Espadon, a French submarine, the first to be made after WW2. The tour was narrated by an audio device. After the tour (and a quick nosey round the gift shop) we walked back to the bus and headed off to the Ruban Bleu shopping centre to explore the shops.

Afterwards we went back to the school for a Breton themed lunch: for starter there was cold meat or stuffed artichokes; for the main course we had a choice of poulet ou poisson (chicken or fish); and for dessert we could choose either Far Breton (which is a sponge cake with prunes) or crêpes au chocolat. Miam miam!!! 🙂  

After having our lunch in the canteen, we went out to the playground for the rest of the lunch hour. When the rest of the school had gone to their lessons, we went to a common room and sat and talked while others played babyfoot (table football). At around 3pm we went out to start playing sports, and luckily enough the French pupils got out of class to play with us. We played dodgeball, with one team winning both rounds. It was really hot, meaning it was hard to run about without getting tired. After playing dodgeball we were allowed to play whatever we wanted (Basketball,football etc) as long as we stayed in the playing field area.   

Connor Craigen, Kyle Stuart and Steven MacBeath 



jeudi, 26 septembre  

 This morning was different from the others because the sun had gone and it was misty. The bus trip to Les Machines de l’Île in the nearby city of Nantes took about an hour. When we got there we saw the much-anticipated mechanical elephant – c’était énorme!  

When we finally got on the back of the mechanical elephant it moved very slowly! The trunk of the elephant sprayed water on people trying to take photos on the ground below us. It also made extremely loud trumpeting noises like a real elephant. When we got off we went to have lunch around the area. When lunch was over it started raining lightly – the first drops of rain we have seen all week! 


After lunch we queued up to see the carousel. It’s the only three level carousel in the world and is full of sea life shaped rides. They showed us what it looked like when it was moving and some people were chosen to ride on the top level. 

 After that we walked over to the museum. We saw a scale model of the plans for a new building. The building had many arms branching out of its centre which resembled branches of a tree. Some people were allowed to demonstrate the different machines, like chairs which elevated up to the ceiling and a huge mechanical bird which flew around the room. These machines had all been built from materials used in the construction of ships which were made in the city of Nantes.  

 We then headed to a retail park in St-Nazaire where we had an hour to shop ’til we dropped! After we had spent all of our money we went back to the school to meet up with our French friends and go home with them. Another end to a perfect day!!! 🙂  

 Claire Campbell, Ishbel Fraser and Judy Rodgers 

mercredi, 25 septembre 

Today we spent the day in school, starting with breakfast in the canteen. It was very nice but strange at the same time as we drank chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) from a bowl!!! We also had orange juice, croissants and bread with jam and butter.
Just after 9am small groups of us were collected by pairs of French pupils and we left to join in with three of their classes. We experienced a variety of classes from Maths to Biology (where they had to watch a fish being dissected)! One group went to history-geography (these are taught as one subject), French and a study period. In the study period the class split into groups and the French pupils asked us questions and wrote down our answers in English. It was very interesting to find out how the classes here are taught. We are finding out lots of things that differ between their school life and ours.
School finished at 12:30pm as Wednesday is a half day here, so a group of us went to the beach. The weather was not as warm so instead of sunbathing we played rugby (France vs Scotland) and SCOTLAND WON!!! The water wasn’t the warmest but at least it was warmer than Nairn…


It was a really good day and everyone had fun. 🙂 

Robbie Wilson, Aiden Rhind and Ryan MacKenzie 

mardi, 24 septembre
Today we met at the school and set off on a tour of the coast by bus. We saw some beautiful scenery and luckily the weather was great when we stopped to take photos and explore.
After a while we stopped at the bell tower in Batz-sur-Mer. We climbed up the very steep steps to the top and looked down over the peninsula. From up high we had a great view of the area including the salt marshes which we knew we were going to visit later. When we came down we were allowed a quick look around the small town which gave us the chance to try out our French in the local shops.
Next stop was Saint-Michel beach which had lots of rocks and surfers. After we ate our picnic lunch everyone went to go and explore the rock pools. People found crabs, snails, hermit crabs, baby lobsters and sea urchins.


For our afternoon activity we went to learn about the salt marshes. Salt trading started in this area in the 9th century because salt was very valuable and used to preserve food. By this point it was extremely hot outside so we moved the tour indoors and continued the talk. Robbie and Judy got to hold the tools they use to gather the salt and the guide gave us the chance to try different types of salty water. It was disgusting! 

After a look around the gift shop in the Salt Marsh Exhibition we went to the walled town of Guérande. It was great fun to walk about and go shopping. The shops were all really small and sold local merchandise. We bought crêpes and ice cream – délicieuse!!! 

As the evening approached we made our way back to the school to get changed and pick up our exchange partners. We then drove to the Town Hall and the head of the Town Twinning Committee spoke to us about the local youth council that is made up of children aged 10-14. The youth council asked what we liked about La Baule. It was interesting to hear what the local children thought about their area. 

At 7pm the parents of our exchange partners arrived at the Hall along with some local teachers and councillors. We had some group photos taken and then sat down to a delicious three course dinner. When the last course was done we led the group in some ceilidh dancing. The French were very good at dancing, especially Strip the Willow. The dinner and dance were the perfect ending to a great day!
Layla Mills, Elspeth MacDonald and Briagh McMaster



lundi, 23 septembre 

La Baule est très belle! We had an early start this morning because school starts at 8:15am in France! We all met at the school and were told what we were going to do today. All of the exchange students are very welcoming and we all had a great sleep. The school is smaller than ours but there are less pupils. 

The first thing we did today was go to Brière to see the second biggest marshland in France. We toured the area in a small boat which was pushed along the canal network by a local man using only a wooden pole. He told us about the history of the region whilst we relaxed and observed the wildlife. There were geese, goats and we even saw a couple of herons! 

After this, we met the French pupils at their school and we had lunch with them in the canteen. La nourriture était super! Then we all travelled to the beach in Pornichet and had a kayak lesson. We all became rather wet as we had to stand up in our kayaks and almost everybody fell into the sea! The weather was beautiful and we all sang songs on the bus back to school, where we returned with our partners to their homes. It was all great fun and we cannot wait for what tomorrow will bring… 🙂 

Charlotte Luke, Lucy James and Cara Murray 

dimanche, 22 septembre (continued) 

The journey that started yesterday continued this morning as the digital clock on the bus showed 00:01. It was dark and stuffy and sleep was limited because we were all so excited. The film “Grease” kept us going (not) as the girls at the back screeched along out of tune. The long journey stretched ahead of us as we came out of our last toilet stop at 2:30am. The bus air conditioning cooled us down and we all fell asleep… 

We arrived in Portsmouth at 6:30am where we began to board the ferry for the upcoming 6 hour trip to Caen. There was lots to do on the ferry, including shops, restaurants, an arcade room and two cinemas showing Monsters Inc University and Despicable Me 2. The food on the ferry was good but expensive. The ferry crossing was lots of fun and worth the long bus journey to get there. 

After another 4 hour coach journey we came to a stop in the beautiful town of La Baule. As we arrived at the school we saw the happy faces of our great pen-pals and their parents. The bus came to a stop and we piled out in a hurry. We met our pen-pals and their families and talked to each other. As we were invited into the canteen the chorus of happy birthday came out as it was Ryan’s Birthday! After a quick snack and welcome from the Head Teacher we left for our houses and for more adventure. 

By Harris Palmer, Ross MacTaggart and Angus Thomson 

dimanche, 22 septembre


In May this year, a group of pupils from La Baule in France came to Inverness Royal Academy on a school exchange. Throughout the week we participated in various cultural activities such as visiting Fort George, Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle; having a barbecue in the school; and hosting a ceilidh at the Beaufort Hotel. Now we have the opportunity to travel to France and get a real taste of their lifestyle and language.   

After a long 12 hour bus journey, we boarded the ferry from Portsmouth to Caen. We are currently 3 hours into the 6 hour crossing and are very tired but extremely excited about the activities that lie ahead.   

During the exchange we will be able to gain greater knowledge of French culture, experience French traditions, try French food and build stronger relationships with our Gallic pen-pals. Over the next few days we will experience school life à la française, try sea kayaking and visit a nature park. However, we are most looking forward to riding a mechanical elephant… you don’t get to do that every day!!! 

 À demain! 🙂  

Alex McDonald, Rebekah Selkirk and Catriona Russell 


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