Day 1: Sacre Coeur
At 2.30am on Thursday, I found myself stood in the cold outside St Edmund’s Girls’ school about to board a coach which would take me, 33 girls and 3 teachers to Paris for a weekend of singing. As a result of the silly o’clock start we caught the 6.40am ferry from Dover and were in Paris by lunchtime. The first challenge was to find a cafe near Montmartre which would accommodate 37.. This in fact turned out to be easier than we had thought and everyone got fed before heading up towards Sacre Coeur where we did our first bit of singing.
Day 2: Saint Sulpice
We were due at Saint Sulpice for our first official concert by 12.45 which just about left time to visit the Musee D’Orsay. Whilst not officially in the programme it was felt this would be worth a visit for the girls to see some Impressionist art. This was followed by a walk through Paris to Saint Sulpice where the girls performed their sacred programme. In the acoustic of Saint Sulpice they sounded fabulous as did the soloists. As the concert had followed Mass we had a reasonable audience, although this was supplemented by a few parents who had tagged along to offer support.
After Saint Sulpice it was a case of a quick lunch (Crepes for 37 which turned out not to be that quick) before we took the girls to Les Halles for some shopping and then onto Flunch for dinner. This was followed by a very cold boat trip down the Seine, after which we tried to go ice skating but the French officials were very official and despite advertising a closing time of 10pm decided not to let us on at 9.15pm.
Day 3: Eurodisney & the Eiffel Tower
No school trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to Eurodisney, although to be fair we did have to perform so it wasn’t just a day on the rides! The concert was on the main stage at Eurodisney where until recently there were performances of the Lion King. This was a very different programme from Saint Sulpice and included a lot of music from disney films (not surprisingly) and musicals as well as some numbers by Frank Sinatra. After a rather disappointing meal at Eurodisney we then braved the cold and headed off to the Eiffel Tower (the very top which was even colder).
Temperatures had plummeted to about minus 12 with the wind chill factor by the time we reached the third floor of the eiffel tower and having the queue for nearly an hour to get the lift down again resulted in some very cold girls! For me the most amusing moment was, having shepherded 15 girls into the lift on the third floor (top floor of the eiffel tower),one girl panicked after seeing her friends getting into a different lift and said no get out this lift is going up…..
Day 4: The American Church & the Louvre
The plan for the morning before heading back to Calais was to visit the Louvre museum primarily to see the Mona Lisa. As our booking wasn’t until 12.15pm we decided to go to the American Church in Paris where the choir of Bishops Wordsworth School (also in Salisbury) were singing during the morning service. A few girls and teachers had brothers/sons in the choir so it seemed fitting.
After the service (which went on longer than we expected) we then had a quick drive across Paris to the Louvre where the girls were despatched to view the Mona Lisa before we headed back to Calais to catch the 6.45pm ferry.