​Experiencing Culture, History and Technology in Toulouse | King's College Taunton

​Experiencing Culture, History and Technology in Toulouse

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Twelve Lower Sixth academic scholars spent the last few days of the half term holidays on a trip to the French city of Toulouse.Former capital of the Languedoc region, and now a thriving technology centre as well as a beautiful ancient city, staff and pupils were looking forward to the experience.

Led by Mrs Lisa Cashmore and Mr Toby Smith, Thursday night involved a bit of late-evening pizza, ahead of Friday’s sightseeing.

At the Cité de l'Éspace, a museum dedicated to space and its exploration, including rocketry and meteorology, the group managed to see a precious chunk of real moon rock, and enjoyed watching a powerful IMAX film on the 1969 Moon landing. The planetarium viewing was fascinating, as was the climb inside a real MIR space station.

In contract to the technology of mankind, the short tour of the Romanesque Basilica enabled the group to consider its ancient history. In line with a major event taking place, the programme was altered to allow some pupils to watch the rugby final, in the company of a French crowd of mixed allegiances, while Mrs Cashmore guided others around the Roman remains in the Archaeological Museum. Everyone then headed out by tram to the city limits, and the Airbus factory, to see the A380 assembly line and Aviation Museum, before returning to the centre for a symphony concert from the excellent Orchestra Nationale de Toulouse, including works by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. By the time they returned from their traditional French cellar restaurant, it had been a rather long day, with the pupils great company throughout.

Sunday began a little later, with a walk through empty streets for a guided visit around an EDF hydroelectric barrage on the Garonne, then the stunning church of the Convent of the Jacobins, before the pupils had some free time to explore more of the old city, many going to the Cathedral and the Bemberg Art Museum. Returning, punctual as ever, the pupils were treated to a Tunisian taster menu before the final bus trip to the airport.

Commenting, Toby said: “This was a trip planned and arranged in house, designed around the group who were going, their interests and academic appetites.”

He added: “It also served to broaden horizons in many directions, and the pupils were engaged in everything, keen to find out more, to use what French they had, and explore the opportunities offered. They were excellent company for each other and happy to keep up with the busy schedule. The city was a fantastic destination, despite the weather, and one to which many will want to return.”

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