1959 Trip

July 1959 trip to the South of France

Trip 1959

2 coaches, 70 boys and 6 teachers embarked on the first leg of the 3-week trip, covering 2650 miles. Having travelled down the Great North Road, London was duly reached and meals eaten at the Chicken Inn. There was time to examine the sights : Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Fleet Street, St Paul’s, the Tower of London and London Bridge.

Arc de TriompheTour EiffelThe English Channel was very calm for the ferry from Dover to Ostend. The party then headed for Paris, via Lille and Arras. The Lycee Michelet, in the south-west suburbs, was reached. The Lycee was more than a hundred years old, and looked it. An afternoon was spent in the Bois de Boulogne, where two boys succeeded in losing themselves, resulting in a cold dinner for all.

The highlight of the following morning was the ascent of the Eiffel Tower with a magnificent view over the city. After lunch at the Lycee the party embarked on a coach tour of the city: Church of the Sacred Heart, the Opera House, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe.

After two nights at the Lycee Michelet the party headed south, via Orly, Fontainebleau, Auxerre (where packed lunches were consumed on the river bank), Bourg (tea), before arriving at Annecy, having covered 340 miles in twelve hours. The accommodation proved to be more modern and pleasant than experienced in Paris.

The next day saw an early departure for Chamonix in the French Alps. The first glimpse of Mt Blanc was seen on the Col des Aravis at 5000 feet. At Chamonix the party went by mountain railway to the Mer de Glace, a glacier not far from Mt Blanc. Climbing down a steep mountain path the party went into caves which had been cut into the glacier. Some sight-seeing took place in Chamonix before the return trip to Annecy.

Annecy Chamonix Mont Blanc Mer de Glace

GenevaNiceThe following afternoon saw the party in Geneva - monument to the Reformation, the Cathedral, historic Town Hall and the Place of the United Nations. The day after they were on the road again, this time to Nice 285 miles away.  The route taken was via Aix-les-Bains and Grenoble before climbing the French Alps on the Route Napoleon. This journey encountered a violent thunderstorm, eventually abating on the descent to the Cote d’ Azur. They were welcomed at the Ecole Normale and settled down for a week on the French Riviera.

The first day in Nice was spent exploring the town. Next morning the coaches set off for an excursion to Cannes which included bathing at St Raphael.  A motor-launch took the party from Cannes to the Ile St Honorat - visiting the monastery, bathing or enjoying a glass of the liqueur, La Lerina, made by the monks. From this island they were taken to another island, Ile Ste Marguerite, famous for the prison holding the Man in the Iron Mask.

Further trips included a journey along the Grand Corniche to Menton, on the Italian border; the village of Eze; La Turbie, where there is a monument to commemorate the victories of the Emperor Augustus over the tribes who inhabited the area; Monte Carlo, where they admired the castle, the cathedral, the harbour and the Casino.

After a week in Nice the journey home began. The return trip again took them through Annecy and Paris. The stay in Paris included a trip to Vincennes Zoo but overnight, unfortunately, the coaches were broken into and a number of articles, mainly cameras, were stolen. The journey home continued, via Arras, Ostend, Dover, London (the Chicken Inn, again) and Grantham until the 2650 miles were completed.

Cannes Menton La Turbie