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.