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Opal Coast Christmas Markets

2 & 3 Day Study Experience Tours from £125 per student
Departing: Throughout 2017 & 2018

France's Opal Coast region provides the ideal way to introduce students to French life, culture and language. Within just an hour's travel from Calais it is possible to enjoy a wide range of visits and activities. Above all, the Opal Coast fully embraces the Christmas spirit and, from late November, the region's Christmas Markets welcome and delight both local and international visitors.

We base our tours around the lively and cosmopolitan city of Lille. In recent years, the city’s elegant centre has been transformed and designer boutiques now line the streets of the medieval centre. Numerous restaurants and cafés will be vying with each other for your custom - the cuisine a tempting mix of traditional French and Belgian specialities, particularly moules et frites, for which Lille is renowned.

The Town Hall Belfry provides the ideal vantage point for admiring the city from above. Don’t miss the old Stock Exchange building - the Vielle Bourse - a reflection of the city’s historical commercial importance. You may also want to visit Palais des Beaux Arts - France’s second largest museum after the Louvre - that has works by Goya and Rubens, as well as the city’s most striking monument, Louis XV’s triumphal arch, Porte de Paris.

Lille’s Christmas Market is traditionally held at Place Rihour, which is adorned with decorations, colourful lights and market stalls. In the main square, a huge Ferris wheel is erected, which offers a great view of the city and its Christmas illuminations.

In Amiens, the Christmas market is staged in the heart of the city, and is one of the biggest and best Christmas markets in northern France. The fresh alpine setting plays host to over 120 chalets and stalls which include a wide range of produce, from seafood, pâtés and cheeses to sweet treats such as the famous Amiens macaroons. There is also an open air ice rink, merry-go-rounds, singers and shows, the most mesmerising of which is La Cathédrale en Couleurs – a free light show held during December on the striking Gothic cathedral.

Arras, which is renowned as one of the prettiest towns in northern France, holds its spectacular Christmas Market in the Grand Place. Around 60 exhibitors offer a wide selection of arts and crafts, as well as local delicacies.

Everyday, practical situations offer the opportunity to practice speaking the language through conversing with native speakers, helping to re-enforce what students have been taught in the classroom. Immersing your students in the culture contributes towards their learning objectives and helps to improve a student’s confidence and develop their language skills.

What the price includes

  • Exclusive coach hire throughout your trip including pick-up and drop-off at your school or college
  • 1 or 2 nights' accommodation
  • Continental breakfast daily
  • Return Channel crossings to Calais
  • Transfers between your accommodation and chosen activities each day
  • Services of a Study Experiences Tour Manager throughout your trip
  • Individually tailored itinerary
  • Educational Visits and Attractions Guide
  • 1 Free Staff Place for every 8 students
  • All Government Taxes, City Taxes, Service Charges &
  • 24 hour emergency cover and support

Day Trip Itinerary

For groups located in the south-east of England we can also offer a day trip to the Opal Coast. You will depart early in the morning and return late in the evening to enable you to make the visits you wish, however please be aware that your time in France is naturally limited. Price from £79 per student.

Tour Highlights

We base our tours around the lively and cosmopolitan city of Lille, which as well as hosting its own Christmas Market, is ideally located for exploring the region's other markets. You are therefore able to focus your tour on developing your students' French language skills, while also enabling them to enjoy high quality galleries and museums and visits to World War One Battlefield sites and memorials. Study Experiences can arrange a wide range of visits and excursions, such as:

Nausicaa Sealife Centre – Boulogne

Nausicaa brings the ocean to life through its thematic exhibitions, presentations by animal carers, films and workshops. The large aquariums and terrariums, together with the centre's multimedia resource centre, give students a unique insight into the marine environment, the threats facing it, and most importantly why it should be protected. Educational tools provided by Nausicaa are available to help plan your visit.

Boulangerie “Le Fournil”

Ideal for school groups this traditional, family-owned bakery located in Wierre-Effroy demonstrates baking in the old and new parts of the bakery. Each student will learn how to make a croissant and bread.

L'Escargotière du Choquel

This 'hélicicolé' farm in St-Martin-Choquel raises grey large snails and offers visitors the opportunity to discover the art and science behind snail farming. Your tour includes a tasting!

La Chocolaterie de Beussent Lachelle

Enjoy a guided chocolate factory visit lasting just under an hour, covering different chocolate making techniques, as well as providing a history of chocolate cultivation and production. Tours end with a tasting and the chance to buy chocolates.

La Coupole – nr Saint- Omer

This former V2 rocket site houses a fascinating exhibition that highlights how the course of history could have been altered had the Nazi's plans been successful. A new 3D Planetarium offering an unforgettable journey into space.

Further Information

Travel Arrangements

Our prices are based on a minimum group size of 40 and maximum 49 students. Travel arrangements are based on providing your group with exclusive use of a 48, 49 or 53 seat coach. For groups of between 20 and 40 students, we are able to offer travel by coach for your exclusive use, however we will need to charge an appropriate small group, coach under-occupancy supplement. As schools located in the north of the UK can require a longer period of coach hire, a small regional supplement may apply.

NEW - Choice of Crossing

For groups based in the north of England or Scotland we can now arrange crossings from Hull to Zeebrugge.

Your Accommodation

Your group will stay in one of our carefully selected hotels. Our range includes properties such as Kyriad Lille Villeneuve D'Asq Hotel and the Ibis Lille Tourcoing Hotel.

Your Meals

Your package price includes continental breakfast each morning. For lunches and dinners you can choose to make your own arrangements, alternatively your Study Experiences Tours Specialist can pre-book packed lunches or arrange affordable, value for money meals from a selected number of restaurants in and around the Opal Coast region.

Your Study Experiences Tour Manager

Throughout your trip your expert Tour Manager will be on hand to assist and support you and your students.

Your Choice of Travel Dates

As our Opal Coast trips are available throughout the year, during term time and also during half terms and holidays, you are able to select travel dates that suit you and your students.

Your Educational Visits & Attractions

To ensure that you make the most of your trip to the Opal Coast region your Tours Specialist is able to arrange a wide choice of educational visits, activities and dining options. Full details of everything you might wish to see and do are available in our Opal Coast ‘Educational Visits and Attractions Guide’.

Our Credentials