Organising an educational school trip to France? It’s an understandable choice as the country is filled to the brim with noteworthy attractions, meaning that your options for planning a residential are vast. However, while your colleagues may expect you to visit a tourist hub such as Paris, there are often advantages to opting for destinations such as the Opal Coast. Let’s talk about the cultural and natural gems that students (and teachers) can expect to uncover here.
While we at The School Travel Company are big proponents of school trips to Paris, we also recognise and promote the educational value of leaving the big city life behind. In fact, one of our most popular destinations in France is the Opal Coast, which extends from the French region of Picardy to the Belgian border, and allows young minds to explore the country’s language, culture and history in a more relaxed, quaint, and conveniently located environment. If you’re looking to convince your department head and/or colleagues of the Opal Coast’s educational value, look no further than this guide to the area’s perks.
Regardless of whether your trip is language- or history-based, it’s worth introducing your students to the region’s pivotal role in times gone by. The Opal Coast first gained historical prominence when Julius Caesar departed from its shores to invade Britain in 55 BC. It continued to make headlines when its fields were bloodied with soldiers during World War I and World War II.
While the area is known for its tranquil atmosphere today, the traces of its turbulent past remain: many of our tours of the Opal Coast include stops at Hitler’s V2 rocket base in La Coupole, at the Somme 1916 Museum in Albert, and at the Mimoyecques Fortress in Calais. By exposing students to the area’s historical remnants firsthand, your lessons are sure to come alive for them.
In addition to its rich history, the Opal Coast is an ideal destination for opening young eyes to France’s culture and language. While the residents of larger cities frequently accommodate visitors by speaking to them in English, the small fishing towns that make up the coastline preserve and cherish their authentic character. As a result, it’s much easier to give pupils a genuine insight into French language and culture – specifically its scrumptious cuisine.
One of the best places to let students explore the gastronomy and put their language skills to the test is at the local markets, where they can strike up conversations with vendors, sample French specialities, and even haggle over prices. While some students may be timid at first, we’ve found that outings of this nature are usually one of the most rewarding aspects of our tours.
The Opal Coast is not only one of France’s most historical and culturally authentic regions; it’s also one of its most beautiful. Thanks to picturesque ocean views, imposing sand dunes, and diverse flora and fauna, visiting the region is both a figurative and a literal breath of fresh air for students and teachers. It’s not surprising, then, that the region is home to the French National Sea Life Centre, known as Nausicaa. This aquarium is one of the largest in all of Europe, introducing visitors to a vast variety of marine life in an interactive setting that’s both fun and educational.
While the Opal Coast often stands in the shadow of major tourist destinations, its historical, cultural and natural attractions and activities make it an extremely versatile and educationally valuable destination for a school trip. Whether you’re teaching history, French, or science, a visit to the region is certain to enhance your curriculum and invigorate your students’ enthusiasm both inside and outside of the classroom. For more information about our tours of the area, get in touch with our knowledgeable team today.