France Trip


During the 4th year spring bank holiday, I went on a weeks trip to Paris. This was meant to be an educational visit and an opportunity to improve one's French, but from my point of view this was an introduction to the university of life.

On the ferry over to France, I discovered the delights of duty free and sophisticated drinks. I had only ever drunk beer in very small quantities before, and having consumed about 3 or 4 different "shorts," the combined motion of the ferry and the effect of the drink caused me to keel over-the first of many occasions in my youth.

The trip was a joint one with a girls school in South Harrow-I can't remember which one. The train journey from Dieppe to Paris signalled the start of the boys eyeing up the girls. My eyes along with many other pairs alighted on this gorgeous girl called Karen who had a smashing pair of legs-this was the age of the mini skirt. In my case, this was about as far as it got.

It was quite a revelation to be served wine with meals whilst we were there, and this must have been where I got my taste for the vine. We also sampled horsemeat which was interesting to say the least.

We did all the usual tourist spots-well not quite all, we were too young for the Moulin Rouge and the Follies Bergeres. Even at the tender age of 15, I remember being struck by the beauty of Montmatre and the Sacre Coeur, and the night-time view of the city from high.

If we had any freetime in the evenings, some of us made a beeline to the local cafes where we smoked ourselves silly on Galoises and drank weak French beer. We also played on the pinball machines which were the then equivalent of the video arcade games of today.

There were always tales going around of boys who had pulled girls, but I suspect 99% were fantasies. When we visited Notre Dame, I found myself in the enviable position for just a few minutes of being alone in a small room within a museum with the delectable Karen. Did I do anything about it? No chance! I was struck dumb with embarrassment.

All in all a memorable trip. I've always wanted to go back to Paris, but haven't made it yet.
(John T 66-71)

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