Ellen Ingram

    Ellen Ingram is in France with the British Council. She is linked with Alva Academy in Clackmannanshire.

    Les Vacances d'Hiver

    Hello everyone!

    It has been a while since I last wrote a blog about my life here in France as I have not been up to too much after the Christmas holidays. I have been spending my weeks working, preparing lessons and going to the gym after over indulging during the festive season. However, only five weeks after returning from the Christmas holidays, another fortnight of holidays were upon me.

    I ended the school term with a trip with the English department to the theatre to see The Hound of the Baskervilles. It was really strange to be sitting in a theatre in France with French people watching a play in English. Although I am not a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes I rather enjoyed the play and I think the pupils did too. The pupils are in the première and terminale levels of school (equivalent 5th and 6th year in Scotland) so they were able to understand the story as their English is quite competent.

    The first day of the holidays started with an early rise. My flatmate and I needed to catch a train to Lyon where we were going to meet some of my friends from university who are also assistants in France. The train journey took about 5 hours with just one stop-over in Strasbourg which gave us time to grab ‘un chocolat chaud’ et ‘un croissant’. We arrived in Lyon just after 1pm and met my friends then went to drop our things off at the apartment we had rented for the weekend.

    During the afternoon we began to explore Lyon. We visited the Croix Rousse area of the city, L'hotel de Ville, the opera and the Bartholdi fountain to name a few sights. The city is so beautiful and although it was freezing cold I was happy to wander about the streets to see so many lovely buildings and pieces of architecture. At night we went out to eat mussels before going back to the apartment to get a good night’s sleep.

    We started our second day in Lyon with a visit to the museum of the French resistance during the Second World War. I found the museum very interesting and I learned a lot about life in France during the German occupation and Vichy government regime.  Lyon was the capital of the resistance as many citizens organised protests and fought against the power of the Germans and Vichy officials. Many people died as a result of fighting for what they believed in, however the result of the war might have not been the same without those brave resisters.

    In the afternoon we continued to explore the city with a visit to the old town of Lyon and a ride on the funicular railway to see the Basilique de Fourvière, a beautiful cathedral which overlooks the city. The paintings and stain glass windows inside the cathedral were magnificent as was the view of the city at night.

    I said goodbye to my friends the next morning and headed to the train station to catch a train to Nice. The journey to the south of France was spectacular as the train travelled through the French country-side past vineyards and eventually to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.  I stayed with my friend Conni in Nice (who I stayed with in October) for a week. Conni lives in the old town of Nice which features many beautiful buildings with cute boutiques and restaurants. As Conni was working I spent most of the time relaxing which suited me perfectly!

    On the Wednesday afternoon we took the train to Cannes, another beautiful town in the Cote d’Azur. We had lunch in a restaurant near the promenade then spent the afternoon wandering the old town and catching a glimpse of the walk of fame where there are many handprints from celebrities who have attended the Cannes film festival. It was really cool to see the theatre where films are premiered at the film festival every May and I can imagine the excitement of being there when the event takes place.

    During the week the weather was nice, not hot but so much warmer than Sarreguemines! However on Saturday it rained all day -but despite the rain we decided to take a short train ride across the border to Italy. From Nice it only takes 50 minutes to arrive in the town of Ventimiglia which is the first Italian town across the border from France. The town is small so we did not spend too long there as the rain had started to dampen our spirits. However we walked up the hill to the old town to see the old church and found a little café to have a cake and a hot chocolate. I can imagine the town being a lovely, relaxing place to visit during the summer months as it is by the beach and there seemed to be many cafes and restaurants.

    It rained on my last day in Nice which caused the events for the carnival to be cancelled for the third day in a row which was such a pity. The Nice carnival is the third largest carnival in the world so it would have been lovely to have seen some of the parades. However Conni took me to a restaurant which serves full English breakfast which was absolutely fantastic and gave me a little reminder of home.

    I flew back to Sarreguemines on the Monday morning to spend the second week of my holidays cleaning, planning lessons and going to the gym. I have so many things planned for the next couple of months including a trip to Paris, a visit from my parents and a trip to Spain so I will keep you updated on my future travels and experiences.

    Hope you are all well in Scotland and I look forward to answering your questions and hearing your comments!

    A bientôt!


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