Paris School Tour 2011.
By Joanne Logue
The school tour to Paris April 19th -21st was most definitely one of the main highlights of the school calendar in Ballinteer Community School. 21 students and three teachers, Ms Comaskey, Mr Lyons and myself, headed off bleary eyed to Dublin airport to embark upon a three day adventure.
Sleepy but smiley faces met me at the departures entrance, some students had never before left Ireland therefore their sense of excitement was heightened. Day one: We arrived in Paris early in the morning and were greeted warmly by our coach driver Emmanuel.
We then travelled straight to the Champs Elysees and basked in the wonderful afternoon sunshine surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of L’Arc de Triomphe. Street dancers entertained us and had everyone clapping and cheering along. Our guided tour of Paris, from the comfort of our air conditioned coach, enthralled each and every one of us. We were transported back in time and saw sights such as the Louvre museum, Jardins de Tuileries, Pont Neuf, Notre Dame and the Palais Royal to name but a few. Our trip to the Eiffel Tower had all of the students completely gobsmacked. The view startled them as they couldn’t quite believe the sights that lay before them and it created long lasting memories. Some relaxation time ensued with a small bite to eat in a local Parisian restaurant.
The boat trip, Bateaux Mouches, set the day off well with a sparkling Eiffel tower behind us and the warm wind in our hair, cameras never stopped as the students and teachers combined to capture every last little moment. The hotel offered a group of satisfied yet very tired tourists a most welcomed night’s sleep.
Day two: The immense stimulation of the first day was most definitely surpassed as Fast Pass Euro Disney tickets were handed out, a massive cheer from the students captured the feeling. On arrival students could hardly contain themselves and I was bombarded with eager questions. Once students were given their freedom to roam they dashed, faster then I had ever seen them go to class, towards the entrance gates. At 2 pm in the 27 degree heat we met underneath the fairytale Disney castle. I cannot underestimate the students’ total joy. They regaled me with stories of roller coasters and other amusements. I could not contain them for long as there was just so much to do. Planet Hollywood sustained us before we departed for our evening activity of ice skating. During this time I witnessed a real bonding between the students that would warm the cockles of any heart. The camaraderie was a real spectacle to behold.
Day three: Onwards to Notre Dame. This old building inspired the students, then to the Louvre Museum, the immense heat and population of the museum caused this to be a swift visit but a valuable one nonetheless. There was time to spend shopping in the afternoon, purchasing gifts for their families at home, before heading to the airport. I had to hold firm to requests to stay a few days longer, despite wanting to stay myself. The students of Ballinteer Community School were at all times an absolute pleasure and represented the school impeccably. It was an honour to have accompanied and to have organised a tour that will long live in the hearts and memories of those that participated
A school tour to Barcelona is planned for next year. I am looking forward to it already!