1963 France - School Trip

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From The Review 1963

The Review 1963 - Holiday in France

This was one of the most successful holidays abroad and we thank Mr. Twyford, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Boon and Mrs. Boon for all the time and energy they spent in organising it.

1963 School Holiday in France at Stoke station group 1
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1963 School Holiday in France at Stoke station group 2 from Jon Holton
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Thanks to Jon Holton for the above photographs.

1963 School Holiday - Beach in France from David Brassington
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Thanks to David Brassington for the above photograph.

John Edge, Robert Jones, David Brassington, Peter Stephens
Paul Mandley, Kevin Pye

We left Stoke Station on the London train and after refreshments, went by Underground to Waterloo to catch the boat train to Southampton. It was late evening as we boarded the Cross-Channel boat and most boys had to spend the night on deck under blankets, catching what sleep they could. We docked at le Havre at 6 a.m. went through the customs and had breakfast. We then began our long journey by bus to St. Malo, absorbing all sorts of impressions of the French countryside as we bowled along. We passed over the Seine by the new Tancarville Bridge, one of the modem wonders of French scientific skill.

The land we travelled through was sparsely populated and extraordinarily flat. In parts it was heavily wooded, and it was dotted with lots of farmhouses, most of which seemed to be in a terrible state of repair. There were numerous inns or cafes, but very few had customers - a fact we noted frequently during the week.

We were to stay at Paramé, and we arrived there just after noon for lunch. Afterwards most of us went to visit St. Malo and found it very interesting to stroll round the narrow streets of this ancient Corsair town. Several boys used their French in shops and generally succeeded in making themselves understood.

On Sunday we were free all day, so we swam and lay in the sun all morning and in the afternoon watched all that was going on. There was a fate on the beach, and this included dinghy races, an aerial rescue by helicopter and low-level flying. In the evening there was a firework display to round off the entertainment.

A boat trip to the island of Cezembre had been arranged for Monday morning and we had a most enjoyable outing. We inspected the remains of Germanblock houses and gun emplacements, and looked at the bomb craters and twisted metal which littered. the whole place. After exploring the island we sunbathed on the beach.

On Tuesday we went to Rennes. Rennes is the industrial capital of eastern Brittany and has many fine shops and buildings. The day trip would have been more successful if the rain had held off, but it was still a memorable visit.

On Wednesday we had an excursion along the Brittany coast, having lunch at Trestrao, swimming and inspecting the rock shapes of Ploumanach. Thursday was very very hot and such a thick mist came in from the sea that we couldn't see more than ten yards. In the afternoon we took the coach and went to Dinan. Just after we arrived it began to rain and the boys spent their time scurrying from shelter to shelter. Fortunately it stopped and we returned from Dinan down the River Rance.

Friday morning brought a visit to the Sculptures of Rotheneuf. These had been carved out of the natural granite rock by the Abbé Fouré, and told the story of the notorious Rotheneuf clan who lived two hundred years ago. Moving on to Coneale, we saw the oyster beds. It was wonderfully hot, but unfortunately we could not sunbathe because the beach was of shingle. In the afternoon we visited Mont St. Michel, that famous granite island. On the top is the Monastery of St. Michel and several boys visited it. There were many shops and street vendors on the island trying to attract tourists as customers.

On Saturday morning several boys went into St. Malo to buy last-minute presents while the others went on to the beach. We left there after lunch and reached le Havre at 8-30 p.m. The majority of the party had comfortable seats on the return voyage. After a pleasant journey from Southampton we arrived in Stoke at 4-30 p.m. It had been a splendid holiday.

C. W. Hancock and M. J. Sidley.

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