Inspection visit of the Opal Coast, the perfect destination for...

Our “Tour de France” continued with a visit to the Northern Opal Coast region, our most popular destination for primary school trips. We set off from Normandy looking forward to an exciting couple of days of beaches, cheese and chocolate and generally embracing our “inner child”!We arrived in the picturesque seaside town of Le Touquet just before lunchtime, and checked into the Riva Bella Hotel. The hotel’s location was fantastic, right in the heart of Le Touquet and just 100m from the beach, meaning that we had time for a brief paddle in the sea before heading off for our next visit!Our first visit was to the Chevrerie de Montcavrel goat farm, where we were warmly welcomed by two excited sheepdogs and Eliane, our tour guide. The farm was a dream come true for animal-loving Dan: as well as the goats (les chèvres), Eliane introduced us to all the various rabbits, horses and cats that lived on the farm and explained the fascinating process of making cheese in the farm kitchen.  We were all rewarded by delicious cheesy samples and even bought some to take home.Continuing the gastronomic theme, our next visit was to the Chocolaterie de Beussant-Lachelle, a chocolate shop well-known for its spectacular artisan chocolates, and very popular with school groups of all ages. We were greeted by our tour guide, who gave us a brief talk about the process of chocolate-making and (even better) some more free samples! We made a quick stop at Hippotel, a lovely two-star hotel where many of our Opal Coast groups choose to stay, to say hello to Francois, the exuberant manager of the hotel.  As ever, he welcomed us warmly and showed us around. We were all very impressed with the hotel’s green, peaceful location and top-of-the-range facilities – it is certainly our favourite hotel for our primary school groups! The next day was our final day in France, but there was still one more visit to make before catching the Eurotunnel home. We drove to the nearby town of Montreuil-sur-Mer to visit Hannah France, an Englishwoman abroad who set up an excellent French language school in a beautiful old maison. We loved Hannah’s classes and activities for school groups, and were particularly impressed with her French language-themed town trail. We were also interested to learn about the importance of Montreuil-sur-Mer as a reconnaissance base during WW1, and Hannah’s ideas for combining French language classes with historical visits.  Can’t wait to offer Hannah’s classes to our school groups!We set off back to Calais in high spirits, full of enthusiasm and ideas. These were a fantastic few days and our school groups will now benefit from our in-depth knowledge of the location. If you’d like to find out more about our tours of the Opal Coast, your will find plenty of information on our website or give us a call on 0121 271 0121.www.diverseschooltravel.co.ukBy Laura Whitaker

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