School tour & Home stays

SCHOOL TRIPS TO FRANCE CAN BE FUN!

School tours to France can be organised at any time during the year

All our school tours are costed according to individual school requirements

In this section we are merely suggesting ways and means of incorporating activities - of long or short duration - as time-off from all the historical, artistic and cultural visits, sites, monuments, cathedrals, museums, etc! Letting-your-hair down in constructive activities can often prove extremely healthy for the whole group!

Of interest to :
All students of secondary school age

  SOME IDEAS FOR VISITS AND ACTIVITIES IN FRANCE

This is not a school tour programme but a series of suggested ingredients which we believe to be worth your while considering when composing your itinerary!

All the items which follow here have been tested with young people, and all have been given a high rating by those who have participated. We offer these suggestions as items to consider when putting your programme and itinerary together for travelling through France with adolescent students. Everything presented here can be prebooked - an important consideration if you are travelling in France through the summer holiday period.

PARIS : apart from the obvious EuroDisney and Asterix Parks, as well as a cruise on the Seine on a bateau mouche, we suggest a canal cruise from Bastille to Villette, passing on the way the site of the famous Hôtel du Nord, (the setting of the celebrated film of the same name); a guided walking tour through the Passages Couverts, (the 19th century equivalents of today's commercial shopping centres); a trip round (part of) Paris on the new tramway; an exploration of the Cité des Sciences (fully geared to the skills and interests of today's media-conscious young; for the girls a guided walking tour round the world-famous jewelry heart of Paris, the Place Vendôme, while for the boys a trip out to Le Bourget, the National Aeronautical and Space Museum and /or to the Arts et Métier And why not a visit to the "Stade de France" for all lovers of sport! Above all - Versailles : several times each summer there are special evenings with all the fountains playing, music everywhere, and superb firework displays to end the show! Not forgetting the superbly restored domaine of Marie-Antoinette!

IN PARIS ALSO : we can provide you with quiz-type programmes featuring pictures of unusual aspects of famous sites and monuments for the students to track down and recognise! (See examples in the photos opposite!) Can add to the enjoyment of the visit - and the clues can introduce a certain degree of history and cultural awareness. We can even arrange for the winner(s) to receive a prize!

The LOIRE VALLEY is understandably one of the most popular areas featuring on school tour programmes. All the great chateaux - Azay, Chambord, Chenonceaux (your students would love to wander through the park at nighfall on a summer's evening with music playing through the park) - these will obviously feature in your programme. But in our experience, young people respond extremely positively to some of the other major historical and cultural aspects of the region which add new and refreshing dimensions to their visit :

Most young people will remember from their childhood the story of the Sleeping Beauty! Why not take them to the château where it all began - and if you are in France in summertime, you are most likely to see all the staff of the castle in period dress, and renaissance dance demonstrations on the lawns...

After some time, the châteaux can all begin to look alike, but you can help the curiosity-process along in various ways, for instance :

You can visit the entire Loire Valley, river, countryside, châteaux, in a little over an hour...in the Miniature Châteaux Park, where you can see all the châteaux, some of which you may not even have heard! From the look-out in the centre of the park, you can see the whole Loire Valley! And if you are in another part of the château region, you can discover Valençay and other marvels - all made out of sugar (and which have stood the test of time for more than 20 years!).

Troglodyte country - the Loire around Tours is one of the major troglodyte areas in France - you can visit the original troglodite part of one of the great châteaux, as well as a troglodyte village, and even a troglodyte farm which has been restored to its original form and function.

The National Tank Museum - you can leave the boys here for a couple of hours without problem! From the very early tanks of the first World War, through those of World War II, then through the Cold War years to the UN monsters of today, absolutely everything is fascinating!

Close by, and historically associated with the development of tank warfare, is the home of the Cadre Noir, considered, together with the team in Vienna, the finest equestrian ensemble in Europe, if not the world. You can attend practice and demonstration sesssions.

Everyone knows the "champignon de Paris", the small white Paris mushroom. At the turn of the 20th century, some 90% of the French production came from the mushroom caves in the Loire Valley. They are still productive, while the underground mushroom museum, gloriously cool on a warm summer's day, is a wonderful place to visit. 

All over France you will find "accrobranches" parks - if their name differs from park to park they all have the same function, being specially created to provide physically challenging and entertaining "walks" - high up through the trees! Strictly controlled for security reasons by a national organisation, these parks have become a nation-wide phenomenon over the last ten or fifteen years. An ideal way to help young people relax after hours of coach or car travelling!

Cruises can be fun too - from the canals of Paris, along the Seine Valley or round the shipyards at Le Havre (a good idea if you are following a Normandy programme!), the St Malo bay or the River Rance), the Canal Bridge at Briare or an all-day trip on the Digoin-Roanne canal in Burgundy, or the World Heritage Canal du Midi in the South of France - or one of the many lake cruises over towards the Alps, at Annecy, for example, or on Lake Geneva!

Climbing up cliffs and mountains can be a good idea for a couple of hours - if you are in Aix, for example, then a day up and around the Montagne Sainte Victoire is an obvious activity. If you are travelling down from Paris to Provence, why not stop off at Solutré, perhaps the most famous landmark in Burgundy (even more so during the Mitterrand years!) - while the Prehistory Museum at its base is one of the most fascinating in Burgundy. And if you're in Burgundy, why not visit the European Celtic Museum at Bibracte (young people love it!) - and on the way you can try some voice-testing in the Roman Theatre at Autun which was once one of the largest in Europe (and still extremely impressive acoustically).

On the national circuit, two places stand out above all others :

The Futuroscope at Poitiers. This is one of the most extraordinary places in Europe, a major research centre, and completely geared to the developments in cinema and media communciation in the 21st century. If you have visited previously and were not particularly enthusiastiuc, then we suggest it was because you (and your students) were not well prepared for the visit. There is an entire educational structure in place to facilitate preparation and ensure that people (young and old alike) gain maximum benefit from their visit. (And if you're in the region, a half day boat trip through the Marais Poitevin will go down well!)

The Puy du Fou : completely unique in Europe, perhaps in the world, this park attracts 14.000 spectators each evening for its summer programme. During the day you can visit various spectacles - ranging from Viking battles (complete with ships) to assaults on mediaval castles, while the indoor theatre production is one of sheer magic : the finale around the lake, wonderful music, lighting and costumes, climaxed with a fabulous firework display, is quite unforgettable. Although the production is in French, it can be readily followed by the thousands of international visitors, and the Puy's educationals services can help prepare your students for their visit long before you arrive!

Examples only : these are just some examples of the ways in which we encourage schools to vary their programmes when preparing their tour of France. A short interlude here, a diversion there, an evening's spectacle from from time to time, can go a long way to sustaining (or perhaps sometimes resucitating) interest in a long tour packed with history and culture.

Please bear in mind that all the items we suggest are amongst the most popular in France, are extremely successful with young people, have a genuine pedagogical and/or sporting interest, are visited by French (and foreign) schools throughout the spring-summer-autumn periods, and attract many thousands of visitors annually who recognise the intrinsic value of such experiences : we cannot recommend them too highly, along with others we will suggest if you decide to work through us.

ADVANCE BOOKING for all these kinds of activities is absolutely essentially. We can arrange them all for you, and provide you with all the back-up pedagogical assistance available which will help you prepare your students for thier visit(s)!

Just Register your interest now for a school tour which could incorporate one or more of these activites, and we'll take the idea up with you immediately!

 cpederf@cpederf.com

SCHOOL TRIPS TO FRANCE CAN BE FUN!

Click on pictures to enlarge

As an alternative (or addition) to the Bateaux Mouches, why not take a cruise on the Canal St Martin, past the celebrated Hotel du Nord, and terminating at the Cité des Sciences (well worth a visit!)The site of the "Hotel du Nord", one of the most famous of all French classic films, can be seen during your canal cruise! The rich and famous of the world come here, to the great jewelry centre of Paris, the Place Vendôme : there are very few places in the world where you can see such a display!  Where can you find this great statue of Napoleon? Many people visit the Invalides without ever noticing it!You don't even need to go to Versailles to see great and splendidly decorated halls : here the great Reception Room in the Opera GarnierHow many people can recognise this ceiling - in one of the most famous monuments in Paris! (Hint : Napoleon again!)Standing over much of Haussmann's Paris - not too difficult to guess where!There are faces everywhere watching you in Paris!The "chocolatier" has been a major feature of Paris for more than two centuries. Here at Debauve & Gallois you can discuss social history, architecture, - & chocolate!  In Paris there are plenty of fascinating museums to visit other than the Louvre! EVERYTHING you see here is made out of glass! At the "Arts et Métiers"!French history is sometimes a bit difficult for young students - most of them however will have heard of Captain Haddock in the Tintin books : visit "his chateau", and inside find one of the finest collections of French furniture in the world! The view of Amboise across the Loire from the Youth Hostel we recommend to school groupsI'm taller than all the châteaux in the Loire Valley - and you find them all in this park!While even boys can be enthralled by these constructions - all made out of sugar by a "pâtissier" in the Loire ValleySon et Lumière evening productions abound in the Loire Valley. Here at Ussé, birthplace of Sleeping Beauty, you can watch Renaissance dance demonstrations in the gardens during the day!Back in Amboise, you can enjoy the history of the great period of Amboise in colour & music on a warm summer's evening...Make your students discover troglodyte country, for which the Loire Valley is so famous - here you have a Troglodyte château......and here a troglodyte farm, functioning just as it has always done!Possibly a place mainly for boys - but the National Tank Museum will keep them happy for a couple of hours at least!The mushroom museum which spreads through the caves at Saumur and which were once the main source of supply for the whole of France, is invariably a "winner" with young people!And wherever you are, the ever-present challenge of the tree-tops!While boys & girls alike get plenty of relaxation & thrills in the many "adventure parks" - all have a very tight safety traditionIt's often worth leaving the beaten track - here in Autun, for example, you can visit the site of one of the great Roman theatres in France, as well as the Temple of JanusWhile close to Autun, you have the European Centre of Celtic History & Culture - a sure-fire winner with young visitors in our experienceLetting off steam for an hour or two is usually very much appreciated by the young : if travelling down south from Paris to Provence, why not climb up Solutré, the most famous landmark in the region, fabulous views, and a great pre-history museum If you are touring through Auverge, another letting-off-steam halt could be here, the World Heritage thousand-year-old chapel St Michel d'Aiguilhe in the superb town of Puy en VelayThe Futuroscope is unique in Europe: any visit will be a major success, as long as it has been well prepared in advance.The pedagogical services of the Futuroscope - as well as those of Cpederf -  will help plan your visit well in advanceMedieval battles are merely one of the many extraordinary shows at the Puy du Fou!The summer evening presentation at the Puy du Fou is one of the most outstanding shows of its kind in Europe - a full house of 14.000 spectators each performance!
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