From the "Retfordian" Dec 1954, page 24,
by John Palmer, aged 14.
THE FRENCH TRIP
Having all collected safely on Retford platform, we left for
London under the eagle eye of Mr Chislett, on the 4th of
August. We had a pleasant trip down to King's Cross and from
there to Waterloo and Southampton. As we reached the docks
eager heads appeared at the carriage windows to catch a glimpse
of the sea and the Queen Mary. After a tedious passage through
the Customs we boarded the "Falaise" at 8.30 pm.
The sea was quite rough, but this was overlooked in our thrill
at meeting our first French people. They were very friendly and
we soon settled down to sign language. Most of us could not
sleep and we sighted the French coast at 7.00 am next morning.
after having a good laugh when a passenger dropped his landing
permit into the water, we reached French soil at 8.30 am.
Once through the Customs, Mr Chislett used his natural
initiative to procure a bus to Paramé, where we were to stay.
After unpacking our cases and digesting our French food, we
set off to scour Paramé. There was a long beach with many
rocks and, to our joy, we discovered a Casino near the promenade.
We made friends with the inhabitants and soon realised how
quickly the francs went.
On the 9th, we packed our lunch and set off in the bus for
Mont St Michel. The mount is composed of a large mass of
rock, jutting from the quicksands, and it becomes an island at
high tide, except for the road joining it to the mainland. The
shops on the mount thrives entirely on the tourist trade, and articles
were a colossal price. We visited the two museums which gave
a history of the island. On coming out, the guide expected a
100 franc tip from each party, as well as the entrance fee. Perched
on the summit of the mount is the Abbey. It is a magnificent
structure, and the view from the top was surprising.
On the way home, after an exciting day, we had community
singing on the back seat of the bus, from which we gained much
enjoyment.That day we visited Dol Cathedral. To reach the top
we had to climb 190 steps of a spiral staircase, and the view
from the top did not help our dizziness.
The sea at Paramé was very warm, and some of us went
swimming every night. On the 11th, after a wonderful holiday,
we sadly packed our bags and waited for the bus to St Malo.
The staff of the hotel gave us a nice send off, and we were sad
to leave Paramé.
Some of our members successfully smuggled some mementos
of France through the Customs, and we boarded the "Falaise"
again at the harbour. As we left the docks at St Malo, we
noticed with apprehension that the sea was exceptionally rough,
and once out in the open sea we all retired, feeling green. A
deck hand came round and placed bowls at strategic points on the
After a nasty night, we all woke early to see the Needles and
the Isle of Wight. As we docked at Southampton, we saw the
Queen Elizabeth, and, after another wait through customs we
boarded the train for Waterloo.
Retford was reached at dinnertime and, after thanking Mr
Chislett, we all went home. What a holiday!