11-year-old Austin Albanese-Gill from Hills Academy, Bedford, shares his highlights of a recent school trip to Paris.

Austin Albanese-Gill's school trip to Paris

11-year-old Austin has reported back from his trip to Paris with Hills Academy.

My grandad tells me in his day a school trip was to the local park to play rounders. Today I am on a Eurostar train that can travel to Paris at over 200mph.

I am one of 25 children from my school, Hills Academy, Bedford, heading towards the French capital.

We needed lots of food because we were busy, busy, busy.

Our head Moya Whitehead says the four day trip has a focus on art, the French language, inspiring children and to look more broadly at the world.

Austin Albanese-Gill's school trip to Paris

Austin (left) and his friend Curtis enjoying the sights of Paris. 

In a few hours we’d swapped London St Pancras for the Gare du Nord and straight on to a bus tour of the city, quickly seeing the Eiffel Tour - it was closed for repairs so we could not go up - and the French version of the Statue of Liberty, one of several in the country!

There was so much to view in the days ahead. But first it was to our hostel, St Christopher’s Inn, just a few yards from the train station. And vegetarian burgers for dinner.

We needed lots of food because we were busy, busy, busy.

There was much walking so we were glad to rest our feet and take a cruise down the River Seine, it was so enjoyable and we could again enjoy many sights.

It was non-stop, and we were excited to view Napoleon’s tomb, then quickly on to the Musee d’Orsay to see Van Gogh’s painting, The Starry Night.

Montmartre, high on a hill, is where the amazing artists paint in the streets, and it was also a great place to see the Eiffel Tower light show.

Taking time to stop for some art

Our stops included the famous Notre-Dame cathedral which had been damaged by fire a few years ago. It was here we were able to stop and do some drawings. While we were there one of the Gendarmes came over looked at my drawing and said ‘beautiful,’ which made me feel very proud.

Austin Albanese-Gill's school trip to Paris

The group stopped to take in the architecture around the Notre-Dame Cathedral which is being repaired after the fire of 2019. 

We couldn’t walk everywhere so we took the Metro which was always quite packed. We had looked forward to our trip for a long time and we were not disappointed. We were sad to leave.

But before we did it was up the 56 storey Montparnasse Tower - wow, what an amazing view we got.

Plans to return in 2024

Mrs Whitehead told me she plans to take some more lucky Years 5 and 6 next year.

She said: “I will use the same hostel and public transport. Particularly useful was the form I filled in for the Metro which gave us extremely cheap travel around Paris. The French attitude to children is so positive that we had help everywhere we went.”

Before we knew it, we were heading through the French countryside on the way home, everyone had enjoyed their whirlwind trip.

My school has some great trips, later this year I am going to Bryher in the Isles of Scilly… it might just be a bit quieter than Paris.

**Austin’s school trip took place in March 2023.