22 April 2016

Exchange to Lyon

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On 16 March 2016 some of the Year 9 students studying French had the fantastic opportunity to go on an exchange in Lyon. On our arrival we met our host families in front of the school, L’Institution des Chartreux. We were looking forward to it but also quite nervous at the same time. We quickly disappeared in different directions to what would be our home for the next week.

Our days were very well organised with a mixture of visits to renowned monuments and buildings, such as the Musée de Confluences, a museum of natural science and history built at the confluence of the rivers Rhone and Saone. There we saw various interesting exhibitions including the origins and stories of the world, species, society and theatre and the afterlife.

Lyon’s architecture is really varied and one of the best ways of appreciating it is from the top of an open tourist bus. We got on the bus at the Place Bellecour, the largest pedestrian square in Europe. On the journey around Lyon, one of the most striking buildings we saw was the basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière. Built in between 1872 and 1884 on the top of the Fourvière hill, it is visible from almost everywhere in Lyon. We were able to see the immense size of the building and the beauty of the decorations that were hand carved into the walls, as well as the stunning view of Lyon.

We spent the weekend with our families and I had lots of fun visiting Lyon with my exchange. I felt like I almost wouldn’t mind being part of her family.

As well as seeing a variety of monuments, we had the opportunity to go to the Chocolaterie Bernachon, a prestigious chocolate factory, where we were able to taste some delicious handmade chocolates and hot chocolate. We saw where the chocolate was prepared, and were also able to buy some chocolate at the end. On the same day we visited the Musée des Canuts where we were shown the process of making silk. It was very interesting to watch and we learnt about the history of the Canuts, the silk workers. We also got to see ‘traboules’, which are passageways between buildings, hidden from the view of passers-by on the streets.

We really enjoyed participating in some of the school lessons. It gave us an interesting insight into our exchanges’ lives at school. We enjoyed playing badminton in a sports lesson, a technology lesson and an investigation with our exchanges in their English lesson.

The last day approached much too quickly, and I found that I would really miss Lyon, with the friendly people and the very different lifestyle. We had an amazing time in Lyon and all of us came back filled with lots of new experiences, memories and greatly improved French.

Chiara Calcagnini

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