French Language School Trips to the Opal Coast, France

Opal Parle is the French language programme based at our Moulin aux Draps school centre in Northern France.  This immersive language trip gives school students the chance to practise their French while enjoying a mix of fun excursions and local culture guided by our experienced native French-speaking animateurs. Opal Parle is our most flexible and accessible school language trip, suitable for all ages and budgets.

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Our French Language Residential Centre, Moulin Aux Draps

Located less than an hour from Calais and within very easy reach of the stunning Opal Coastline, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Le Touquet, Arras and the World War 1 battlefields, our Moulin aux Draps centre is the perfect destination for schools looking for a low-cost French language immersion school trip. Opal Parle is our most flexible language immersion programme because it offers tailor-made itineraries lasting from one to four nights.

The language centre is exclusively for the use of school groups meaning there are few distractions for students and our local French staff have considerable experience in looking after British school trips and catering for the needs of British teachers and pupils.

The centre is contained within 22 acres of wonderful, car-free, French countryside giving students plenty of space to run around and let off steam. Supervision is easy as the grounds are within view of the main building and teachers can relax in the evenings as the Voyager team will deliver a programme of evening entertainment for your students.

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Activities and Learning

The beautiful Opal Coast offers a plethora of opportunities to experience real French culture.  From Boulogne to Le Touquet, chocolate factories to goat’s cheese farms, theme parks to water parks, there is an abundance of excursions to choose from.

Our experienced French-native animateurs will guide your school tour, supervise mealtimes and provide a full-evening programme to create an authentic French experience.  It’s their job to spend time with your students, build their confidence and encourage them to speak French at every opportunity, coaxing even the most reticent French learners to take part. Not only will they ensure your group are speaking French at every opportunity, but they will also make sure it's enjoyable using their local knowledge to guarantee you get the most out of every visit.

In addition, each student will receive their own Opal Parle language workbook to complete throughout the trip.

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What Teachers Say About the Moulin aux Draps

"We all had a great time at the Moulin aux Draps and our compliments go to the staff, especially Jean Simon - he was great as the animateur and had a lovely manner with our children. The hotel proved to be very suitable for our aged children and we also felt reassured about the safety aspects as it was locked early in the evenings, ensuring no strangers could access the building.

The food was also very nice and the packed lunches were very filling and tasty (and the staff thought so too!). We would definitely recommend this to any school, but especially suitable for primary aged children."

Catherine Pollard, St Georges School, Darlington

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Voyager Interaction - Optional French School Visit

An added benefit of Opal Parle is the option to spend a day or two at a carefully selected local French school where your students can practise their language with their French peers. Using our local knowledge, we will pair you with a French partner school to suit the age and language experience of your children. Contact us to find out more about Voyager Interaction options contact us or visit our Voyager Interaction pages

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Who is This School Trip Perfect For?

Opal Parle is designed for every level of French learner, including beginners, and the Moulin aux Drap centre is suitable for children of primary school age and up.

Because of its close proximity to Calais, the centre is also popular with school groups opting for a shorter trip of between 1 and 4 nights, making it a great value option for schools on a budget or for pupils embarking on their first French-language trip.

Finally, Moulin aux Draps is classed as 3-star hotel which makes it suited for groups looking for a bit more comfort than the standard educational trip.

When Should I Take My School Trip to France?

The Moulin centre is open all year round and provides maximum comfort whatever the weather. We will use our local knowledge to recommend an appropriate activity programme to suit the season.

Spring term is by far the most affordable time to visit the Opal Coast, making our market-leading language immersion programme more accessible to students from families on a tight budget.

An Autumn trip creates the best opportunity for new KS3 French learners to bond as a group, grow more confident practising French together and stimulate interest in the language which will last the academic year. Why not organise a trip in December to experience the Opal Coast’s famous Christmas markets in nearby Arras, Amiens and Boulogne-sur-Mer?

Note that the Voyager Interaction option is only available during French term time. Please get in touch to check availability.

Opal Parle Programme at a Glance

Educational Objective

Build French-language reading, oral skills and confidence

National Curriculum Aims

  • Practise speaking on a variety of topics
  • Build confidence in conversation and supports spontaneous conversation
  • Exposure to wider cultural topics and insight into the francophone world

School Tour Type

French language immersion, residential with off-site cultural excursions, language-based activities and the option to visit a French school

Duration

2 - 4 days

Location

Based at the Voyager Moulin aux Draps school centre near Boulogne-sur- Mer, less than an hour’s drive from  Calais

Tour Staff

Dedicated French native animateurs will lead all activities, trips and evening entertainment in French

Travel Options

School pick up and drop off, dedicated coach and driver, ferry crossing

Meals

Full board, home-cooked French meals, suitable for British tastes including French-themed tasting menu

Student Accommodation

Modern shared hotel rooms with en-suite bathrooms

Teacher Amenities

Comfortable en-suite single or twin hotel rooms, separate staff area and wifi

 

Read our case study

Language Immersion – How does it work?

Instead of acquiring French by formal instruction, your students learn French from native French-speaking animateurs to create a totally French-speaking environment. Every excursion and experience, including mealtimes, is seen as an opportunity to speak and understand the French language.

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Sample excursions

Cross Curriculum Excursions

Try some fresh bread at a Boulangerie

Boulangerie

What could be more authentic than a visit to a Boulangerie where your students can sample the smells and tastes of freshly baked bread.


You'll spoil your dinner!

Handmade Sweet Manufacturer

 A visit to this factory is another gastronomic delight where your students will learn how sweets are traditionally made. Bon Bon!


Boulogne

Boulogne

Boulogne is one of France's major fishing ports, which is not only within easy reach of the UK, but is complete with old town and cathedral. The Old Town is nestled between mighty ramparts, which were built at the beginning of the thirteenth century and can still be seen today. It sits in the shadows of the Cathedral Belfry and Tower, and remains the administrative and spiritual centre of Boulogne. If you and your group are interested in history then the Castle Museum is worth a visit. It was also built in the early thirteenth century and was the first castle to be built without a keep in the history of military architecture.


Nausicaa Sealife Centre

Nausicaa Sealife Centre

The French National Sea Centre is a science centre entirely dedicated to the relationship between mankind and the sea. It houses Aquaria, exhibitions on the marine fauna, and the exploitation and management of marine resources.

www.nausicaa.fr


Bagatelle Theme Park

Bagatelle Theme Park

The Bagatelle Theme Park is a popular attraction situated on the D940 between Berck and Le Touquet-Paris Plage. The attractions include family favourites like log flumes and rafting, to rollercoasters. It also houses a small zoo and a 360 degree cinema. It opens from Easter to Sept.

www.bagatelle.fr


Aqualud Waterpark

Aqualud, le Touquet

If your trip is during the height of summer a trip to Aqualud waterpark could be a welcome way to cool down and wind down…but don’t forget the suncream!

www.aqualud.com


History Excursions

WWI Somme Battlefields

After eighteen months of deadlock, the Battle of the Somme was supposed to be the decisive breakthrough for the British and French Allies on the Western Front. Instead, with 20,000 men killed on the first day and one million casualties in total on both sides, the Battle of the Somme became a by-word for indiscriminate slaughter. Due to their efforts on the first day of the Battle, George V gave the First Newfoundland regiment the new title of 'The Royal Newfoundland Regiment.' Owing to the massive slaughter that the regiment suffered, the Regiment and the British Legion are still remembered every year on the nearest Sunday to 1st July.


Beaumont Hamel Memorial Park

Beaumont-Hamel Memorial Park

Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland memorial park is a significant and important destination for students of World War I. It is the site where the British Army suffered their worst ever casualties in a single day, which considering the carnage of the trench warfare that typified 'The War to end all Wars' , is humbling and moving as well as difficult to comprehend.


Thiepval Memorial

Thiepval

The Thiepval 'Memorial to the Missing' remains the largest British war memorial in the world and is dedicated to the 73,357 British and South African men who have no known grave and who died at the Somme between July 1916 and March 1918. The memorial, which dominates the surrounding area, is 150ft high and was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The cemetery behind the memorial is unusual because it contains the remains of both French and British soldiers to commemorate the Anglo-French alliance at the Somme.


Pozieres

Pozieres

Pozieres is where tanks were used for the first time, but it is also the scene of some of the heaviest fighting that took place on the Somme.


Lochnagar Crater

Lochnagar Crater

As the largest crater on the Western Front, the Lochnagar Crater has a diameter of 300 ft. and a depth of 70ft., and when it exploded it created an explosion which could even be felt in London.


Delville Wood

Delville Wood

The Delville Wood Memorial immortalises the memory of the South African troops who lost their lives along the Somme battlefields, whilst the museum at Delville commemorates the 25,000 South African volunteers, who laid down their lives In both world wars and in Korea. The now peaceful setting contrasts dramatically with its story.

There is a cafe and toilets.


Somme 1916 Museum

Somme 1916 Museum, Albert

The museum at Albert is located 10 metres underground and is 250 metres long. The museum will give you and your students the opportunity to experientially understand what everyday life was like in the trenches during the year 1916.

www.musee-somme-1916.eu


Historial de la Grande Guerre

Historial de la Grande Guerre, Peronne

The Historial de la Grande Guerre museum, aims to show its visitors what life was like for the major participants in World War I, and what the impact of the war was on the rest of the twentieth century. It also shows the effect that the war had on the civilian populations that were occupied by enemy forces, who were often forced to flee their homes. There is an extensive collection which includes many items that were used by the soldiers, which help to clearly depict life during the war. There are also some films and walk through exhibits, which add to the experience.

www.historial.org


See the secret tunnels at Arras

Arras

Arras is famed for the secret tunnels beneath the town that were dug out and used by British troops during the Great War. Eventually, the Battle at Arras claimed 159,000 lives in only 39 days, which is more than the amount of people who died per day at the Somme (2,943).


Vimy Ridge

Vimy Ridge

Vimy Ridge ran 12km north-east of Arras and was built by the Germans to withstand the onslaught of artillery. The trenches were also protected from infantry attack by concrete machine gun posts. The British and French were constantly trying to take hold of and occupy Vimy Ridge because of its strategic benefits. Repeated French attempts to take Vimy Ridge cost about 150,000 lives between May and November 1915. The original trenches have been reconstructed to show how close the two lines were.


La Coupole

La Coupole

La Coupole is a World War II remembrance museum that seeks to analyse the relationships between science and war, and war and the image. It is located where the secret launch site of Hitler's V1 and V2 rockets were planned to be. It is an impressive museum that uses multi-media interaction in order to bring the facts of World War II to life in a way that is accessible and informative.

http://www.lacoupole-france.co.uk

For 2016 La Coupole has a virtual tour on it's website - visit it here:

http://www.lacoupole-france.co.uk/virtual-visit.html

 


Azincourt

Azincourt Medieval Centre

Interactive exhibition, including a multimedia tour of the French and English camps and the battlefield itself. The museum focuses on the Battle of Azincourt and the whole of the one Hundred Years War. It is specifically designed for younger children and is also a wonderful resource for medieval history teachers.

illucolor.fr/7_vallees_comm/Azincourt/

Sample tour

Sample 4 day Opal Coast tour

Day 1

  • Coach pick up from school
  • Channel crossing
  • Arrive at accommodation
  • Centre orientation
  • Evening activities at accommodation

Day 2

  • Nausicaa aquarium excursion
  • Boulogne town exploration
  • Chocolate factory workshop tour
  • Evening activities at accommodation

Day 3

  • Arras excursion
  • Vimy Memorial
  • Thiepval Memorial
  • Evening activities at accommodation

Day 4

  • Local French market visit
  • Return home
  • Coach drop off at school

Teacher Resources

Find a selection of useful resources related to your trip.

Teacher Resources

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Testimonials

"We had the most fantastic trip last July with your company. Everything went so well and the centre and staff in Paris were absolutely great. We cannot wait to renew the experience next July! Please send Jaures and Juju our very sincere thanks. They are both first-class animateurs/organisers - always sorting out any little hiccups straight away." Party leader, Howell's School.

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