French Trip May 2016

This year 7 of our Y6 pupils joined Rotherfield on their annual trip to France. Once again Rotherfield were exploring Isigny-sur-Mer in North Normandy and staying at Chateau Bellenau. Children from both schools really enjoyed getting to know each other in the weeks leading up to the trip. New friendships were consolidated and very special memories made. Thank you to Rotherfield for making us all feel so welcome and for sharing your knowledge and expertise of the area.


St Mary’s is very proud of our Y6 children who have really spread their wings, and come back even wiser and more wonderful than before. Their behaviour during the week was excellent and their quiet consideration and thoughtfulness at the WWII battle sites will undoubtedly have a long term impact on their view of the world. Most of all they bravely spoke French when the opportunity arose and made the most of their experience. It been fantastic to see them coming back full of confidence, and so (almost) ready to move on to secondary school. We are not finished with them yet though and look forward to another term of learning before the summer holidays.


Y6, getting ready to depart from Rotherfield Monday 23rd May, 2016

Day 1 – Monday 23rd May

We have arrived safely at the gites, everyone is very excited to be here after our very long trip. We whizzed through passport control and all the roads were nice and clear due to the French fuel strike. We visited the Brouay cemetery on the way, as suggested by Mr Castle, and found the grave of Charles Ray Butler(a Hartfield resident), who died on the 6th August. We also visited the German cemetery and noted the difference between the two: the German graves lie flat and are grey in colour, whereas the allies are buried with upright gravestones that are white.

image image image image image image image image imageDay 2 – Tuesday 24th May. Good morning from Chateau Bellenau where the accommodation is beautiful – big gardens, perfect for hide and seek

Another very busy day. Firstly, we visited the British cemetery in Bayeax, where Rotherfield laid their wreath and one of the children read a poem that they had written – very poignant and touching. After that, we went to Arromanche to the 360 cinema, which shows the Normandy landings and the horrors that the soldiers had to face. Josh described it as insightful and Ethan felt it made what they had learnt in school about WW2 reality. After lunch, we went to Point de Hoc and the children could see and experience the huge craters left by the bombs that were dropped on the top of the cliffs as the Allies tried to land on the beaches. As if that wasn’t enough, we then stopped at the American cemetery at Omaha beach and we were just in time to hear the Last Post being played as the flag was lowered. We are now back at the gites, where we devoured our lasagne and ice cream supper, ready to go out to explore the amazing gardens (apparently there is a cave!)

Wednesday 25th May 2016

We started the day bright and early with some retail therapy at a hypermarket. The challenge was to shop within our budget, as there lots to choose from. After that, we drove to Festyland, a theme park nearby, where we spent the rest of the day. Everyone enjoyed themselves and as there was so much to do for everyone, left the park just as it was closing. It is lovely to see the children from Hartfield and Rotherfield mixing, getting to know each other and become friends.

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Another busy day has flown by. We started today’s adventures at Airbourne Museum and learnt even more about WW2. I’ve loved eavesdropping on the Y6’s conversations and opinions about the war, they’ve clearly taken a lot of information on board and still have many questions!! We then went to the market where we practiced our French (merci, Madame Jones) and spent some pocket money. Next, we headed to the beach. We have been extremely lucky with the weather, it was perfect beach weather. After a picnic lunch, we paddled in the sea, built sand castles, played beach cricket and tennis and sun bathed. We are now back at the gites getting ready for room inspection, a game of manhunt and a disco. Phew!!