After months & months of anticipation, D day has finally dawned and all gathered punctually at the International Departure Hall at OR Tambo this afternoon. I have just spoken to Mrs Harding who reports that check-in went smoothly and no problems were encountered at emigration. They are all present at the boarding gate, in awe of the beautiful sunset and magnificent  Lufthansa A380 which will fly them to Frankfurt, from where they will connect to Nice, Côte d’Azur. Please rest assured that all arrangements are firmly in place and that the safety & security of your precious children is of paramount importance to the chaperones. I have no doubt that a wonderful tour awaits your daughters, filled with special memories and abundant blessings - ‘bon voyage’ and I will update the site as soon as I have heard from the chaperones tomorrow.....


07h00 I have received this lovely update from Joelle: "Had the best flight ever, no turbulence at all and landing on time. Monica and Corinne were the lucky ones, because of overbooking they were seated in premium economy! All the girls are doing fine and are stretching their legs at Frankfurt airport before flying to Nice. The weather is....I don't want to tempt fate...wonderful! Taskeen was a bit sad to say goodbye to her 3 days old baby brother who came to wave goodbye at the airport, but she is fine, all her friends have surrounded her with love and care. Will chat later ... hugs and bisous!" 17h00 A further update!: "We landed in Nice after flying over the majestic Alps. How lucky are we...all our suitcases were waiting for us at carousel 5! The weather was a bit overcast but it soon cleared. Our animatrice Anaïs greeted us and was thrilled to receive her Kingsmead hoodie. As soon as we arrived in Antibes, the girls met their "famille d'accueil" and went home for a quick bite and a shower. Later, we met in front of the beautiful fountains of the Place Charles de Gaulle to begin our orientation walk around the city. We started with the vieille ville and its tempting patisseries, then walked through the narrow cobbled  streets to the marché Provençal and ended at the port d'Antibes where we saw the most incredible yachts, one of them has just been bought for R500 000 000-00!! The girls are now enjoying some free time but have been strongly encouraged to go back home early. Everybody is really tired; however, it did not stop Cami, Stef and Taskeen from trying the famous local ice creams! I believe that Jon-Benay has already taken more than 215 photos!!"


The girls are already experiencing the French way of life and yesterday Mohini had a snails & a crêpe for dinner - she was very surprised that French families drink their coffee in a bowl and not in cups!! The girls find the Côte d'Azur such a vibrant, beautiful and eclectic part of the world. This morning we met at 09:20 on our favorite square, Place de Gaulle and boarded the bus. We travelled along the Mer Mêditerannée all the way to the quaint medieval village of Eze, where the girls explored the tiny arts and crafts shops and enjoyed "getting lost" in the narrow streets. Afterwards, we had a guided tour of the world-famous parfumerie Fragonard. Our knowledgeable guide explained the mysterious magic of perfume and tested our talent at the game "guess the scent". After such hard work, a little bit of retail therapy was needed and Ljuba was certainly in top form. We were all very hungry when we arrived in Monaco and we went for a picnic in the exotic gardens overlooking the sea. It was quite windy and the seagulls were as hungry as we were, but we had much fun; especially when Madame Chernigov and Madame Harding were reprimanded by a guard for stepping on the grass! We then took the petit train for a sightseeing tour of Monaco, and saw that all the preparations for the Grand Prix are in full swing. It was time for some retail therapy, with dads and brothers in mind. The weather had turned a bit cold and a few drops of rain made our visit to the majestic Musée Océanographique even more welcome. We stroked sharks and saw piranhas, some girls - Anastasia, Victoria and Ali thought Madame Piranha should be the new name for Madame Cherni, because she jumps on their mistakes just like a piranha jumps on its food! Tomorrow, school starts...let the fun begin!


09h30 The day is absolutely glorious and all the girls arrived at school on time. We are incredibly proud of them, they are enthusiastic, fun and well-behaved. Mohini and Rumaanah have won the first croissant and pain au chocolat of the week by arriving first at the beautiful school of le Chateau. There are many international students this week, Swiss, Italian and German. This morning, from the terrace of the school, the girls could see both the snowy tops of the Alps and the calm Mediterranean Sea – so beautiful! This afternoon, we are looking forward to our cooking lesson and we will end the day with a barbecue at Castel Arabel……. 23h30 Everyone is back at home after another unforgettable day. The sunset over the Cap d'Antibes was breathtaking and the air was so clear that we could see as far as the island of Lerins. The girls loved their lessons and they are already finding it far less scary to use their French with the Frenchies. Today, at lunchtime they met Jean-Marie, the legendary chef of the school. He had prepared a veritable feat - 3 huge salads, potato, chicken goujons, ratatouille and mousse au chocolat … baguettes and cheese were also on the menu...we are in France after all!! After relaxing on the terrace, we took the bus to Nice for a cooking lesson. Madame Aude is a famous chef and started her renowned cooking school 8 years ago. She taught the girls the recipe for aiguillette de poulet au citron et á la vanille. Délicieux and I am relieved to say no chopped finger! Vive Masterchef Afrique du Sud! While a group was cooking, the other group went shopping at the local Monoprix to find surprise prizes for Wednesday's pétanque competition. It was so funny to see them so captivated by the variety of biscuits and bonbons. Although Anastasia had already had lunch and a plate of aiguillette de poulet, she still managed to eat a whole tub of ice cream!  We returned on the bus to Juan les Pins, in a bus filled with songs and laughter and we walked to the beach to dip our toes in the cold sea before going to Castel Arabel for a barbecue. The evening was so magical that all the students - at least 75 - walked back to the beach to play games or just chat lazily. Tomorrow's weather forecast is excellent, which is wonderful for an escapade and free afternoon in Nice”. Such a lovely update …merci beaucoup Joelle!


"Day 4 of our sojourn in France! Valentina and Tahiyya arrived first at school this morning and were today's proud winners of a fresh baked croissant and a pain au chocolat. The girls seem to really enjoy their lessons and are making impressive progress. After lunch, we had planned a relaxing afternoon - catching the train to Nice to discover the vieille ville, walk along the Promenade des Anglais or have a lazy chat on the beach - well, it turned out to be shopping, shopping, shopping and more shopping plus a cup of decadent concoction at the local Starbucks. The girls were quite reasonable and did not buy too much; however, Victoria bought a new suitcase!Tomorrow is Cami's birthday and Jean-Marie will be baking 3 of his legendary chocolate cakes. Miam Miam!"


09h00 “Joyeux anniversaire to Cameron! The weather has kept its promise and it is once again a beautiful spring morning in Antibes. All the girls are in class at the moment. They always greet us with a smile and stories of their previous evening with their host families. Their French is improving but some nuances of the language remain lost in translation: Christie wanted to buy airtime for her phone but came out of the shop with a bemused look on her face and 6 stamps in her hand – ha ha!!


“The girls have enjoyed their lessons more & more and we are so proud that not one of them has ever arrived late for class! Last night they went to celebrate Cami's birthday in a pizzeria and loved every minute & every slice! This afternoon the weather was perfect for a stroll down the streets of la vieille ville and whilst some girls chose to visit the Musée Picasso, the majority opted for some more ‘souvenir shopping’!” The girls have all thoroughly enjoyed their week in Antibes and although they are all very sad to say farewell to this idyllic part of the world, they are excitedly looking forward to a wonderful few days in Paris!


The week in Antibes has been wonderful and it has flown by so very quickly. After class, all were proud recipients of a DELF accredited certificate and the educators at the school were full of praise for the SA students, commenting on their positive & enthusiastic approach, as well as the marked improvement in their confidence to communicate. At 12h00 the girls said a fond farewell to their new -found friends, as they hopped on board the coach to the airport in Nice. At 16h05 they arrived at Orly Airport, where they met with their driver and by 18h00 they had arrived at their hotel, Campanile La Villette (Tel: 00 33 1 44 72 46 46). I have received a message from Joelle, saying that everyone is so excited to be in Paris and that they are really looking forward to their evening in Montmartre .....


This morning they enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the hotel dining room, before setting off on the metro to the Musée d’Orsay, which houses the world’s finest collection of Impressionist paintings. They then crossed to the right bank and strolled through the Tuileries Gardens, before spending quality time’ on the world’s most famous & elegant boulevard, l’Avenue des Champs Elysées, which extends from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc deTriomphe. Thereafter they made their way to the Eiffel Tower, where they ascended to the 2nd level for breathtaking views, before enjoying a leisurely cruise onthe Bâteaux Parisiens, identifying many of the famous landmarks of Paris. This was followed by a delicious 3-course dinner at a restaurant alongside the River Seine and all are very excited at the thought of Disneyland Paris tomorrow …!


"Today was Madame Cherni's birthday and the girls surprised her last night at midnight with a song and a chocolate! At breakfast the fun continued with a flash mob and a "homemade cake" consisting of a piece of galette with Nutella… wonderful! Afterwards we boarded the RER to Disneyland Paris - the girls have learned how to travel like true Parisians and we were in Marne la Vallée in no time at all! The weather was nice and the queues not too long. Bianca and Kathryn went on many scary rides like Phantom Manor, ThunderMountain and Indiana Jones, but they also enjoyed more sedated ones like the tea cups merry go-round! We saw the Goofy Spring Parade and were treated to beautiful dance moves from Victoria, Nastasia, JB, Kinary and Madame Cherni - the evidence of which will be shown at our French presentation during Assembly!! Unfortunately, the rain that we had managed to escape caught up with us and we bid a wet farewell to Mickey and Minnie, returning to our hotel for a delicious dinner of Quiche Lorraine, Saumon crème á la ciboulette and Glace vanille chocolat. Tomorrow we plan on going to Notre Dame before visiting our friend Chef Thibaud Renard in his restaurant close to Place Vendôme, before our long flight back to Johannesburg…"


Today marks the final day of a very successful tour - everyone has had the most wonderful experience and the precious memories & firm bonds of friendship will last a lifetime. After breakfast they left their luggage in the hotel ‘bagagerie’ and all were excited to do some last minute exploring. After lunch they will return to the  hotel to freshen up, before travelling by coach to Roissy Charles de Gaulle. The return flight has been confirmed and they will be departing Paris @ 19h35on flight LH1047, travelling via Frankfurt, where they will connect to LH572 for their onward journey to Afrique du Sud. I am sure there is no need to remind all excited parents that your beloved children are scheduled to land at OR Tambo @ 08h40 tomorrow, Tuesday 28 April. They will undoubtedly be exhausted upon arrival and whilst the many wonderful anecdotes may not immediately be forthcoming, they are sure to reveal themselves in the days, months and even years to come! To act ‘in loco parentis’ is no mean task and the 2 chaperones, Joelle & Raoudha were wonderful, ensuring that your daughters were well cared for, happy and safe throughout the tour – bravo et merci mille fois mes amies! As parents you can rest assured that you have afforded your children the most incredible opportunity and I have no doubt that each and every child will return not only academically enriched, but enriched as a person, having matured and grown in confidence. It has once again been a great joy and privilege for me to be associated with Kingsmead College and it remains for me to say ‘merci beaucoup, bon retour et à la prochaine…..!’