25 April 2019

The fourth year French exchange culminated in our wonderful week in Provence.

First was a weekend en famille with our partners from Le Lycée de La Nativité, experiencing cultural differences large and small at close quarters. Then Abingdon boys and St Helen's girls enjoyed historical and cultural trips spanning the ages.

We explored Roman Provence at the huge aqueduct Pont du Gard and the imposing arena at Nîmes; medieval times were conjured up at the ruined hilltop castle at Les Baux de Provence; we heard about the modern history of Marseille and experienced modern art here too.

Ancient and modern came together in the amazing lightshow in the Carrière des Lumières, an immersive underground experience using Japanese 'floating world' artworks and Van Gogh.

Food also featured, of course: we sampled local sweet specialities at the famous calisson producer Léonard Parli, as well as visiting an olive oil mill with a history (and equipment) dating back to the 18th century.

We toured the famous L'Occitane factory, where all their products are still made; and we enjoyed Aix-en-Provence itself, spending time in lycée lessons and in the town with our partners. 

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