from the May 1958 Ely High School magazine
Our Holiday in France.
On July 31st a party of twenty-six girls met at Ely station to start on the exciting journey to France. After a day's train journey we arrived at Southampton and passed through the Customs with no trouble at all, and settled on the boat. It was wonderful to see England and her twinkling lights slowly fade into the horizon and be left only as a memory.
Early next morning we watched land appearing nearer. Soon the boat approached St. Malo harbour, and typical French sailors could be seen unloading cargo from other ships. Noisy cranes could be heard also unloading cargo from the holds. Once off the boat the party was ushered to a bus which took us along the winding roads to Paramé.
After a quick unpack our first breakfast, consisting of delicious rolls, butter and coffee, was served in a large sunhouse. By the end of the holiday, although it was interesting sampling foreign cooking, we were glad to return to English food. We spent the rest of Thursday either on the beach or in Paramé itself, having our first experience of French shops and French money. We soon discovered that our meagre French was not a great deal of use, but by the end of the holiday we were quite expert at asking "C'est combien?" and similar questions.
On Friday we awoke at 7am to see the sun shining through the windows. At 9 o'clock we set off for Mont St. Michel.
The bus stopped on the way at the small fishing village of Concale, where we were able to see the oysters packed in their beds. All along the seafront were stalls with people pressing one to buy souvenirs, At Mont St. Michel we walked up a narrow cobbled street lined with gaily coloured shops until we came to a Museum in which there were wax models of people connected with the Monastery on the Peninsula, and 3d pictures of the Monastery through the ages. It was built in 708, and during part of its history served as a prison.
On our return journey we stopped at Dol Cathedral, which was no match for Ely. We climbed a wooden spiral staircase until we came to the top, from which we had a marvellous view of miles and miles of wooded countryside. Later we saw Breton lace-makers outside the Cathedral.
On Monday, on a squally day, we went to the Ile de Cézembre. It was far from picturesque, and must have been used as a fort during the war, as there were many bombed air raid shelters there. When we visited it there was only one house - a cafe - left standing. We spent the time exploring, paddling, and collecting shells. About mid-day we returned to St. Malo and ate a picnic lunch on the sands. It was dreadful, trying to keep your mackintosh from flying away while shelling a hard-boiled egg.
On Tuesday we left France again on the "Falaise." We were all sorry to go, but when, after another night crossing, we saw the shores of England approaching, we were glad to be returning home. Most of us slept on the train, and eventually we reached Ely, grubby from travelling, tired, but happy, and grateful to Miss Wilby and Miss Ling for helping us to have such a wonderful experience.
M CURTIS, U. IVa; B HAYWOOD, G BONE, U. IV alpha.
J CAMPS, G FULLER, S RILEY, L. VI.
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