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REDHILL TOUR TO FRANCE ~ August 2011


6 August 2011 D Day!
Great excitement & mayhem as the Redhill group gathered at OR Tambo airport, all eagerly awaiting their wonderfully enriching tour to France. Boarding will commence at 18h00 and for a few this will be their first overnight international flight and for the majority their very first experience on the magnificent A380! I will only be able to write a detailed report tomorrow night, but will get a quick message to you once we have arrived safely on French soil. Bon voyage to all and until tomorrow…
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

7 August 2011 Safe arrival & a wonderful day!
Nous voilã en France et quelle longue journée! Our plane landed on time at Roissy Charles de Gaulle and a little bleary eyed we made our way to terminal 2F where we passed through immigration & security before boarding our connecting flight to Nice. We were warmly greeted at Nice Côte d’Azur by the Management of Le Centre International d’Antibes & their very professional team of animateurs & animatrices. Excitedly my 3 groups (Independent August + Cornwall Hill College + Redhill School) boarded the awaiting coaches and were whisked off to Campus Horticole, where everyone enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch. After a quick freshen up and change of clothes, all were transferred to the quaint town of Antibes ~ the weather was superb and all ended up swimming in the little cove/beach which lies in close proximity to the delightful vieille ville ~ it was truly magnificent! At 6.00pm the Redhill group returned to the Campus to meet their familles d’accueil and once again I was so delighted to see the quality & calibre of the designated families who will be hosting your children. Everyone is looking forward to a lovely shower/bath, a good meal and a comfortable bed ~ no doubt all batteries will be fully recharged by tomorrow! A demain …
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

8 August 2011 Les cours de français + une excursion ã Cannes!
Everyone had a wonderful sleep and all arrived bright-eyed at the school this morning, chatting excitedly about their host families! After having been assessed on their written & oral prowess, they then enjoyed 2 hours of interactive ‘cours fermés’. At lunchtime the group was prioritized in the queue since the coach departed campus at 13h10 and once at the station all hopped on board a train to Cannes which was an amazing experience for everyone! The first visit was to Le Suquet, a landmark which affords a magnificent view over the bay & the Estérel Mountains and then the group descended to the beachfront where they passed the yacht-lined harbour en route to the Palais des Festivals. After a photo-shoot on the red carpet adorning these famous steps, the group was allowed ‘du temps libre’ which allowed everyone some time to enjoy ‘window shopping’ in the designer boutiques along the illustrious La Croisette or ‘actual shopping’ in the name-brand boutiques of Morgan & Zara + the popular and more reasonably priced ‘back-streets’! Laden with parcels, my 3 groups gathered with broad smiles at 5.15pm and in high spirits we boarded our return train to Antibes. All are greatly looking forward to tonight’s ‘soirée barbeque’ and traditionally this is wonderful, animated evening with a vast array of food + much laughter and social interaction! Please note that Wendy Davis’ French number is + 33 6 26 27 82 30.
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

9 August 2011 International classes + Monaco + Juan les Pins!
Based on the results of their tests, all were today placed in classes with other international students of the same ability. The chaperones chatted to everyone after their 3 hours of communicative French tuition and the majority were very happy with their placements ~ there were a few who were concerned and a ‘shift’ has been negotiated which will be implemented tomorrow. After lunch a happy band of travellers hopped on board the coach bound for Monaco and all were in awe of the magnificent scenery along the ‘route du littoral’ (coastal road). Upon arrival, everyone was struck by the cleanliness and obvious wealth of this small principality and all felt very proud that our own South African Charlene Whittstock married Prince Prince Albert 11, thereby laying claim to a royal princess! After a visit to the cathedral and the palace, everyone boarded ‘le petit train’, which is a great tourist attraction, since the informative commentary gives excellent global coverage as it travels through the streets of the F1 race track, passing in front of the Monte Carlo Casino and the surrounding luxurious hotels. They arrived back in Antibes at 18h30 and quickly made their way to their host families to eat dinner & freshen up before returning for the evening outing to the vibrant summer resort of Juan les Pins. This is such a popular outing and at this time of the year the beachfront is strewn with colourful stalls and the sight of diners enjoying a meal on the beach in the moonlight with the waves lapping at their feet, is always so romantic!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

10 August 2011 Excursion to Grasse & the Fragonard ‘Parfumerie’
Everyone arrived at the school this morning in high spirits, all looking forward to improving their spoken French with students of varying nationalities. After lunch they boarded their coach for Grasse, the home of French perfume and dubbed the ‘balcony of Provence’ for its panoramic views. At the Fragonard ‘parfumerie’ they enjoyed a fascinating guided tour followed by the opportunity to purchase authentic products from the on-site boutique and judging by the packets & strong scent in the coach thereafter, many purchases had been made! Before the return to Antibes there was some free time to explore the main streets of the vieille ville and the art-lovers marvelled at the 3 original Rubens’ paintings in the local church. All returned in jovial mood and after dinner with host families all will reunite with friends on campus for an evening of song & dance! PS (22h00) I have just received this update from Wendy Davis! “All our kids are so excited, incredibly enthusiastic and curious! They bombared us with questions like, " why do they do this?; how do you say that?; what does that mean? On our second day in Cannes Dan Kapelus said to me, "Madame we may as well go home today cos it can’t get better than this" and 2 days later he said, "Thank goodness we did not go home cos this is even better…!" Most of the girls have decided that they are definitely going to live in Cannes or Monaco and are already on the look-out for a rich Frenchman! One of the girls was heard saying "I really am not sure where to have a holiday house - Cannes, Antibes or Monaco - so I will have to have one in each of these places! I am so proud of the Redhill kids - the teachers and animateurs/animatrices have all said to me that the SA kids are so enthusiastic, so polite and responsive! BRAVO to you all for having such stunning children!! Happy Birthday for Dan tomorrow - we intend making a fuss of him!!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

11 August 2011 Sun, sea and sailing!
Once again we woke up to beautiful sunshine with clear blue skies on the Côte d’Azur and after much fun in the classroom + a delicious lunch, the group boarded their coach bound for the Yacht Club in Antibes for an afternoon of sun, sand, sea and SAILING. Under the tutorship of professional instructors, all enjoyed sailing on catamarans on the calm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery on the French Riviera ~ an amazing experience and a real highlight for everyone. At 5pm all made their way home to their host families, where they had time to freshen up and eat dinner before returning to the campus for tonight’s widely advertised Cabaret/Spectacle. Many different countries will be participating and I have no doubt that Les Sud-Afs will bring the house down once again ~ an evening of great fun awaits and the chaperones look forward to basking in reflected glory!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

12 August 2011 Final day at school + free afternoon in Antibes!
The week in Antibes has simply flown by and today marked the end of their formal French tuition at Le Centre International d'Antibes. All were proud recipients of a DELF accredited certificate which attests to the level attained + a comment from their teachers ~ once again the educators expressed their delight with our South African students and praised their positive & enthusiastic approach to the lessons. After lunch everyone was so excited to have a free afternoon to explore the wonderful town of Antibes and at 5.30pm they returned home to freshen up & eat dinner prior to another visit to popular Juan les Pins! PS, an addition from Mme Davis: “The decision was unanimous, yet another day in paradise! Yesterday Dan celebrated his birthday in style and what better than learning how to sail on the Med on a catamaran! After receiving their certificates today the kids joined us as we explored the streets of Antibes and the best remark I heard was from Kizzy: ‘Madame, do people actually live here, I thought these quaint buildings were just like Monte Casino, empty and only facades!’ One animateur asked me if Naki wakes up smiling because he had never seen anything but a smile on her face! We’re really proud of our kids, they are great!” A reminder that Wendy Davis’ French number is + 33 6 26 27 82 30.
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

13 August 2011 Final full day in Nice!
Their last full day on the Côte d’Azur and what better way to spend it than in Nice! I have not heard directly from the chaperones, but know that it would have been a really enjoyable day which would have included touring in the vieille ville, shopping up a storm in the name brand boutiques along the famous Boulevard Jean Medecin and swimming in the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The week has simply flown by and tomorrow all will say a fond farewell to their host families and to this idyllic part of the world as they embark on their next leg to Avignon … PS I have just received this update from Wendy Davis: "Our day in Nice was very successful and our kids were delighted to see the name brand shops like Zara, H&M, Virgin music and as I heard Vicky say, “Oh thank goodness there is Sephora – now I know what to buy my mom!” It was so hot that most could not wait to get to the beach and they remarked how amazing the water was but all found the beach a bit uncomfortable on all the pebbles! Upon our return all were relieved when I said no going out tonight - you must pack, tidy rooms and get some sleep! In response to Mrs Perrie who sent a message via David saying that she hoped the kids were not making me too tired and too old my reply was: Old? No, I am there already but still full of energy and rearing to go, BUT I will need a full day in a spa on my return!!"
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

14 August 2011 Onward to Avignon!
This morning all gathered on campus to say fond farewell to their host families and to the new friends which they have made during the course of this week. At 11h00 all were on board their coach and as they departed from this idyllic part of the world, everyone vowed to return in the not too distant future! En route to Avignon they stopped for a few hours in Les Baux-de-Provence, which is a fascinating medieval village perched on a mountain of bare rock ~ a great tourist attraction and the shops are open all day on Sundays! In the late afternoon they arrived at their hotel in Avignon and dinner was served in an excellent local restaurant called ‘L’Offet”. A reminder that the contact details for the next 2 nights are Hotel le Magnan, Tél : 00 33 4 90 86 36 51 - Fax :00 33 4 90 85 48 90
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

15 August 2011 Le Palais des Papes + excursion to Arles!
After a good breakfast all enjoyed a guided visit (with headphones) to the Palais des Papes, which is an immense & very impressive UNESCO world heritage site. Thereafter a picnic was arranged in the stunning gardens above Le Palais, which was a real treat for everyone! All then had some free time to explore & shop before travelling by coach through blazing yellow cornfields to Arles, where they met with their guide for a walking tour ‘in the footsteps of Van Gogh’. This was a very special experience and the art students were enthralled to discover the many sites painted by this famous artist, including ‘La Maison Jaune’, ‘Le café la Nuit’ & ‘Le Jardin de l‘Hotel Dieu’. The guide was apparently very impressed with the students, saying that they could come back again anytime ~ bravo Redhill!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

16 August 2011 Bienvenue a Paris!
After an early breakfast this morning, the group hopped on board their coach and traveled to the ‘Vieux Port’ in Marseilles, where they enjoyed a boat trip to the small island of If. Here they visited the Château, a former fortress & a prison, which was made famous as the setting for Alexandre Dumas’ adventure novel, The Count of Monte Cristo. After a relaxing lunch they were transferred to the airport in Marseilles for their flight to Roissy Charles de Gaulle and upon arrival their coach whisked them off to their hotel. The evening was spent exploring locally and everyone is looking forward to their full morning on the Champs Elysées tomorrow! A reminder of the contact details for the hotel Campanile Maine Montparnasse: Tel: 00 33 1 53 74 60 00 Fax: 00 33 1 40 47 01 49.
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

17 August 2011 Quelle journée magnigique!
After a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast, all headed off to the Champs Elysées and everyone was given a generous time allowance to explore the amazing boutiques along this world famous boulevard. After lunch and with several name brand packets in hand they made their way to the Louvre Museum and all were impressed with the grandeur of this former palace. Fortunately they were able to fast-track the queues and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the tour which was led by a specialist guide/conférencier who used the latest ‘whisper system’ to communicate with them. Thereafter they made their way by metro to Montmartre, the highest natural point in Paris, where they visited the basilica of Sacré Coeur, before strolling to the Place du Tertre, which was buzzing with activity. Here everyone had some free time to explore the quaint streets, nooks and crannies before enjoying a pre-paid dinner in one of the most famous restaurants on the square, La Cremaillere. The 3 course meal & ambience were superb and everyone thoroughly enjoyed this experience.
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

18 August 2011 Another exciting day in Paris!
This morning all made their way to Paris’ most famous department store ~ Galéries Lafayette, which was built in 1912 and is now classified as an historic monument, boasting a plethora of designer name brands, a beautiful stained glass roof dome and an Art Nouveau staircase. After lunch all travelled by metro to the Eiffel Tower where they ascended to the 2nd level and with perfect weather the visibility was amazing! Thereafter everyone reunited for their cruise on the River Seine ~ a relaxing experience and the commentary on the Bateaux Parisiens was really informative. At 8.30pm all hopped on board their coach for their tour of Paris by night ~ ‘Les Illuminations’ is always a highlight of the Paris sector and squeals of delight are guaranteed as the Eiffel Tower lights up & sparkles at 10.00pm!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

19 August 2011 Musée d’Orsay + Giverny!
After a good night’s sleep, all awoke refreshed and at 9.30am they arrived at the Musée d’Orsay, which houses the world’s finest collection of Impressionist paintings. They then enjoyed a picnic on the banks of the River Seine and thanks to Mme Davis for supplying 14 baguettes and copious amounts of cold meats & cheese! At 12h00 they all met with their guide and travelled by coach to the charming village of Giverny ~ everyone thoroughly enjoyed this tour through the splendid house and gardens of the Master of Impressionism, Claude Monet. Their final dinner tonight will be in an authentic French restaurant called ‘Les Tentations des Gourmets’ and this promises to be a fun-filled evening, with much laughter as the many humorous anecdotes are recalled!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

20 August 2011 Fond farewell to France!
Today marks the final day on tour and what a wonderful 2 weeks everyone has had! The group appreciated a later start this morning, which afforded them time to lateral think on how to find space for ALL those additional purchases! After having placed their luggage in the ‘bagagerie’ they set off for their last adventure, which included the imposing Hôtel de Ville, the audacious Georges Pompidou Centre and the magnificent cathedral of Notre Dame, followed by a stroll through the Quartier Latin. The airport transfer from the hotel has been arranged for 16h15 and once at Roissy Charles de Gaulle the group will undoubtedly enjoy the duty free shops ~ there seems to be no stopping them! Flight AF990 is scheduled to depart at 23h20 tonight, arriving at OR Tambo tomorrow, Sunday 21 August @ 09h50. The is no doubt that your children will return with mixed emotions, as whilst they are obviously looking forward to seeing family and friends back home, everyone will be left with a sense of sadness at having to say farewell to people they have grown so accustomed to seeing on a daily basis. They will be exhausted after such a full programme and whilst the many wonderful anecdotes may not immediately be forthcoming, they will surely reveal themselves in the days, months and even years to come! To act ‘in loco parentis’ is no mean task and your sons/daughters have been privileged to travel with 3 chaperones who managed to find the perfect balance between firm discipline, genuine compassion and a great sense of fun. Mme Wendy Davis, Natalie Sherman & Iris Auda comprised a formidable team, going far beyond the call of duty to ensure that your children were well cared for, happy and safe. Throughout the tour Mme Davis has commented on the impeccable behaviour of the students and praised their sense of adventure, proudly stating that all have fully embraced every opportunity and have been fine ambassadors for their families, for Redhill and indeed for South Africa. At the airport Wendy will bid fond farewell to the group as she flies to London to join her sisters & mother in London for a very well-deserved break ~ we wish her a wonderfully relaxing & happy few days! As parents you can rest assured that you have afforded your children an exceptional opportunity and I have no doubt that each and every one will return not only academically enriched, but enriched as a person, having matured and grown in confidence and the precious memories & firm bonds of friendships will last a lifetime. It has been an immensely successful tour and it has once again been my joy & privilege to be associated with Redhill School ~ it remains for me to say ‘merci beaucoup, bon retour et à la prochaine’!
Written by: Jenny Peddle

 

 

You are rendering a unique service to schools and children! I have just read your web-page information on our tour and was once again inspired by how committed you are to what you do.

Parent – St Peter's College

 

I loved the daily reports that you provided ~ thank you for a fantastic tour!

Parent – PBHS

 

Thank you so much for an amazing diary - it was always completely updated and I have loved reading it! It has been the highlight of my day going to your website and seeing what the girls have been up to!

Parent – Herschel

 

I would like to thank you for all that you did to make our Cultural Tour so memorable! Not having to worry about accommodation or tour arrangements because we knew that you had organized everything so skilfully meant that we chaperones could relax and enjoy what was on offer. I really admire your boundless energy and the superbly efficient way in which you took care of every little detail. We all had a fantastic time and thank you, we all had a wonderful trip!

Educator – Herschel School

 

Your daughter Michelle was a delightful co-chaperone and it was so special to travel with her and to see what a beautiful relationship you share. It inspired me to work even harder towards mine with my son, as I believe it takes a lot of love & hard work to create a special family.

Educator – St Peter's College