Second Year trip to Paris – a student’s perspective

At 3a.m on Thursday morning, the 70 students and 8 teachers attending the trip abroad to France, arrived at the school. We all got split onto two double decker buses and then set off on our journey. We soon reached Dublin Airport and got ready to go. Most of us went to get some breakfast once we got into the terminal, before boarding our flight. The plane departed for Paris at 6:25. Even though it was still early hours in the morning, nobody went asleep as we were all buzzing with excitement.
After spending an hour and forty minutes on the plane, we finally arrived at Beauvais Airport in Tillè. We then hopped on our coaches, which took us to the first stop of the journey, Cathedral of Saint Peter of Beauvais. We all got a chance to look inside at the beautiful stained glass windows which were made in the 13th century and the famous Beauvais Astronomical Clock. Afterwards, students were let off to get a bit of lunch and explore some more of the historical buildings in the city. Next, we visited Louvre Museum in Paris. Here we saw the famous ‘Mona Lisa’ painting by Leonardo di Vinci and ‘The Dying Slave’ sculpted by Michelangelo during the renaissance period. We then walked from the museum to a local restaurant for some dinner. There were a variety of choices, from curry to pizza to lasagne, and a nice apple or chocolate pie to finish it all off. It was now late evening as we made our way to the hotel on our coaches. Everybody was blown away when they saw our 4 star hotel, with a mini aqua park, gym, XD cinema, arcade room and lots more facilities. The rooms had a double and bunk bed, with an interconnecting room including a second bunk bed. We were all wrecked after our long day so everyone went straight to sleep.
Breakfast was early the next morning, before departing the hotel for Paris city centre at 8a.m. By getting to the ‘Eiffel Tower’ early in the day, it allowed us to get right in without having to deal with long queues and big crowds. The glass elevator brought us up to the three floors, allowing us to see the architecture of the monument and get a birds-eye view of the beautiful capital. After spending a half an hour or so to soak in the breath-taking views, we made our way down to the bottom again. It was now lunchtime and students were let off to get something to eat. Afterwards, we all met back up and got onto our coaches for a guided tour of the city. The tour guide showed us some famous landmarks and told us a bit about them all. One of the first we saw was the ‘Arc de Triomphe’, which was built to honour all those who fought and died for France in the French Revolution War. We also learned about ‘Hôtel de Ville’, which translates as ‘town hall’. This building was built in the 14th century and has been the scene of a number of historical events. Later on in the day, we got to go shopping for an hour or so on the Champs-Élysées before going for our dinner. After eating, we walked towards the River Seine to board our boat cruise. The city looked spectacular when viewed from the water, particularly because it was night-time, and all the monuments and buildings were lit up. The cruise was an hour long and was really enjoyable for all students and teachers. We then headed back to the hotel after our jam-packed day.
The next day was the day all students were looking forward to. We were going to Disneyland! The park was only 5 minutes away from the hotel so we got there bright and early before all the crowds. Once we got our tickets, we were free to go anywhere between the two parks for the day. Most of us headed to the ‘Tower of Terror’ first. By the end of the ride, everyone’s voices were hoarse from screaming. Another few popular rides were ‘Space Mountain’, ‘Rock’n’Roller Coaster’, ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘The Pirates of The Caribbean’. The day was well spent and everyone had a blast. We met up for dinner in the Planet Hollywood restaurant at 7p.m. The food came straight away and was very tasty. We then made our way back to the hotel after another long day. Students were given permission to go swimming in the mini aqua park, or just chill out in the rooms. It was soon getting late and everyone returned to their own rooms for the night.
We checked out of the hotel at 9 o’clock the next morning and headed back into the city centre. We visited ‘Notre Dame Cathedral’ first, and got to have a look inside. By chance, we arrived just in time for Sunday morning mass. We didn’t attend the mass but could watch from the side aisle. The service was very different to the ones we have back home, the priests voice echoing, with the choir harmonizing in the background. It was a very spiritual experience, and one not to be forgotten. We continued to walk around the cathedral, looking at the high arched stonework, hanging chandeliers and magnificent stain glassed windows. Next we visited ‘Sacre Coure’, but first had to make our way up ‘Montmartre’, the famous 300 step hill. The views from the top were outstanding, making the hike worth it. We were let off to explore the little back streets and take a look inside the church. Afterwards we hopped back on our coaches, which brought us to ‘Les Quatre Temps’ shopping centre, where we spent our last five hours. Although five hours sounds like a long time, it was just about enough for the four storey shopping centre. We got back on our coaches for the last time, and made our way to the airport. We soon arrived, and it was around 11 p.m before we boarded our flight. This time round, almost everybody fell asleep, after our hectic four days. We got onto our double decker buses again and headed back to the school. Here we were greeted by parents and family members. It was time to go home.

Overall, the trip was really enjoyable and one that we will look back on in years to come and remember how lucky we were to get the chance to go abroad with all our friends. It was also very well put together, thanks to Mr.Grace and the other teachers involved.

Katie O’Connor