Senior Language Immersion Trip to Paris for Year 10 and Sixth Form French

Posted on 8th March 2024 by Catherine Gibson

23-27th February 2024

The Norwich High School for Girls Senior Language Immersion Trip to Paris is a unique opportunity available to Year 10 and Sixth Form French students. Although it includes lots of sightseeing of the main Paris sights, it is far more than this! During the trip the group is accompanied and supported by a French animateur who leads lots of the activities, gives explanations and chats to individuals in French. This contact with a sympathetic native speaker means that students can build up confidence in both listening and speaking; they are constantly encouraged to have a go! This year we were particularly lucky as our lovely animateur, Faissal, was training five other animateurs, so the students had even more opportunities for interactions in French.



The Year 10 group was led by Mrs Moores and Miss Jolly and their visits were to the main tourist attractions of Paris: Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, Montmartre and a boat trip on the Seine – as well as Disneyland on the last day. A highlight was when the Norwich High group went on the Tower of Terror together!

The Sixth Form group had a completely different itinerary, organised by Mrs Gibson, which focussed on bespoke visits which were directly linked to the A Level curriculum. They enjoyed a visit to the Musée Marmottan, a museum which houses lots of Monet paintings, as well as a collection of Berthe Morisot, a female Impressionist painter, about whom one of our students has chosen to speak in her oral exam. They also loved visiting Galerie Dior – a sumptuous and colourful display of Dior’s couture and the Opera Garnier, an extravagant, gilded opera house and home to the Phantom. Thanks to links made by contacting organisations directly, the group enjoyed a 20 minute conversation with a French cinema expert at Le Grand Rex cinema, another with a lecturer in French immigration, and a fascinating lecture at ULIP about the history of French immigration. Another highlight was meeting a team of volunteers at the soup kitchen ‘La Soupe Saint Eustache’ who explained their work to us and even invited us to taste their delicious food. We were welcomed with open arms; they were very appreciative of the fundraising that we had done for them, when the Language Assistants sold pancakes during Languages and Cultures Week earlier in February. The students found it very empowering to hear their A Level topic vocabulary in use and asked lots of interesting questions. It was an amazing way of bringing our A Level topics to life.

“All students, no matter what their level, made progress with their French during the week and had lots of fun! This trip is a biannual trip, so will next take place in February 2026 for Year 10, 11 and the Sixth Form. We look forward to seeing lots of you then!”

Head of Modern Foreign Languages at Norwich High School for Girls, Mrs Catherine Gibson

Poppy, Year 10 French GCSE student at Norwich High School for Girls

“I had a very enjoyable experience and I really enjoyed being able to talk French to the animateurs, in the shops and cafes as well as when getting dinner. I really enjoyed the activities during the day around Paris and I felt there was a good balance between free time and activities.”

Annie, Year 10 French GCSE student at Norwich High School for Girls

“I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone doing French. I loved walking around the streets and seeing the nice buildings and shops. The trip also helped improve my French vocabulary and I learnt a lot of new words from the animateurs. I also really enjoyed the museum and would definitely spend more time at the Musée d’Orsay if I went again. I also loved Disneyland and I think we had the right amount of time there.”

Emily, Year 13 French A Level student at Norwich High Sixth Form

“The Paris trip was an exceptional experience to practice the French language in the real world- thanks to trips like this one and my experience of languages at Norwich High I have been inspired to read French at university in the forthcoming academic year.”

Selina, Year 13 French A Level student at Norwich High Sixth Form

“I would recommend this trip in a heartbeat! The depth and immersion into French culture continually went above my (already high) expectations. First and foremost, almost everything we did had strong links back to our A Level curriculum, allowing me to gain a lot more knowledge and information that I’m sure will benefit me in many ways throughout the rest of my course. Additionally, I came back from this trip feeling a lot more secure and confident in my French language skills and capabilities after having conversed with so many insightful and interesting people, something that I believe is down to the teachers who have formed amazing connections in France with so many great people who are willing to help us learn and practise our communication with. Lastly, the entire atmosphere of the trip was, to me, lovely because we were all really willing to learn and amazed by everything we saw and did!”

Saanvi, Year 13 French A Level student at Norwich High Sixth Form

“I would definitely recommend this trip for French students and even more so for A Level French students as it was such an immersive experience that broadened my knowledge and appreciation for not only the language but the French culture. It was amazing to be able to talk with so many people who were experts in their fields, whether it be cinema, immigration or charity work and having the animateurs with us was brilliant for speaking practice. It was such an enjoyable experience and I am really glad I went on the trip as it gave me a final boost of confidence in my French before my exams!”

Diary entries from Mme Gibson

Jeudi 23 février

Good evening from Paris! Just to let you know that all is well here. We had an excellent journey and even managed to get an earlier ferry. It was a bit choppy but everyone was fine and we arrived at the accommodation centre at about 6pm. We had a little bit of time to settle in before dinner. The rooms are clean, modern and comfortable. There is a good choice of food in the self service cafeteria and everyone seemed to be happy with their meals. After dinner our animateur Faissal led some hilarious ice breaking activities in French. As I write, everyone is preparing for bed, ready for a full day of sightseeing tomorrow. The students are all very cheerful and have been great company! Bonne nuit! Catherine Gibson

Samedi 24 février

We have had a lovely day today and we have been so pleased to see blue skies!

The Year 10 group started the day at a traditional market on the Rue Mouffetard, where they practised their French buying fruit from the stalls. They then visited the Arc de Triomphe before having some free time in the Champs Elysées. They had a picnic in the Tuileries before visiting the Musée d’Orsay. At the end of the day they did a beautiful boat trip on the Seine.

The Sixth Form group has also had a great day. They started with a walking tour of Montmartre; a highlight was stopping off for a drink at the Café des Deux Moulins, made famous by the Amélie film. They then had their lunch in front of Notre Dame before going to the Musée Marmottan where they enjoyed paintings by Morisot and Monet. The day’s sightseeing finished with a boat trip on the Seine.

This evening Faissal, our lovely animateur, led a French quiz which was good fun. He was very impressed by the students’ level of understanding. We then had dinner and as I write, everyone is winding down ready for bed.

The group has been a pleasure to be with and they all seem to be having lots of fun!

Bonne nuit! Catherine Gibson

Dimanche, 25 février

It has been another great day of exploring Paris!

The Year 10 group started the day going up the Eiffel Tower – fortunately reopened today after a few days of strikes! After visiting Notre Dame, they then had some free time for shopping on the Rue Rivoli, which they enjoyed. The rain held off until mid afternoon, so it was a rather wet visit to Montmartre!

The Sixth Form group started the day with a fascinating guided tour in French of Le Grand Rex cinema, after which they had a good chat with the guide about French cinema. We then had some free time in the Champs Elysées before enjoying the visual treat of the Galerie Dior, which they all loved! As a total contrast, we then took the metro to the Soupe St Eustache, a French soup kitchen. We had fascinating conversations with the team of volunteers there and were made to feel so welcome. We even tasted some of the food. All of these visits relate directly to A Level topics and bring these topics to life. It was wonderful to see the students connecting with people and using their knowledge to ask such intelligent questions.

Finally we all met up for a lovely meal in a traditional French restaurant in Montmartre. The students said they loved the food and the convivial atmosphere.

As I write, they are settling to bed, ready for another busy day tomorrow! Everyone is cheerful and doing really well with their French!

Bonne nuit! Catherine Gibson

Lundi 26 fevrier

A fantastic last day in Paris for both groups!

The Year 10 group had an amazing time at Disneyland, enjoying lots of the attractions. A highlight (??!!) was when the group went on the Tower of Terror ride together, which certainly lived up to its name! Everyone had a great day, despite the weather, and enjoyed a meal in Disney village at the end of the day.

The Sixth Form group had a very different day! We started at the University of London in Paris where we had an excellent university lecture in French about the history of French colonialism. After some free time in Rivoli, we had a fantastic visit to Opéra Garnier- we were all wowed by this opulent building! Then our animateur, Faissal, invited his uncle, an eminent lecturer of Science Politique, to join us in a (very elegant) hotel café to talk to us about the history of immigration in France and changing attitudes to it over the years. It was so interesting and we were so grateful to Faissal for making this happen! The students have felt so empowered and inspired by these contacts with French experts on topics that we study for A Level.

It has been a fantastic trip, with all students being lovely company. They have been so positive and have impressed us with their efforts in French. They themselves have commented that they feel they have made progress in listening over the last few days and that they feel more confident ‘having a go’ at speaking, which is great. We have been extremely lucky to have not only our main animateur, Faissal, with us, but also five other animateurs in training. This has meant that there have been so many more opportunities for the girls to practise their French! The animateurs have been very impressed not only with the standard of their French, but also with their behaviour and positive approach.

Bonne nuit et à demain! Catherine Gibson

View the video highlights which have been put together by our Language Assistants below.