Guides in Paris 2023

>>  Monday, August 28, 2023

It's been 8 years since I did an international trip with Guiding and this summer we went to Paris again. It was a county trip, on a similar format to the one I'd been on before and I was responsible for only a handful of Guides (of the 150 that we took), so apart from the obvious worries of responsibility it was really quite stress free. 

It was a very early start on the first day and a full day's travelling, but it all went smoothly.  

The next morning we headed into Paris and climbed the stairs to the second level of the Eiffel tower. Security was much tighter than any time I'd been before and it actually made for a much more pleasant experience underneath the tower.  

It was really lovely seeing guides every which way I turned, even these ones that were completely ignoring the view and concentrating on the best wi-fi spot. 

After we had a  headcount (A very common happening!) and a picnic we headed to the river bank for a boat tour.


The Eiffel tower was in her glory, whilst poor Notre Dame is still looking rather sad for herself. 

After the boat tour we had a coach tour and went around the Arc de Triompe a number of times!

And Guides took over the supermarket on the way back to our base. 

After a pool swim and the campfire in the evening you'd have thought we were all rather exhausted but the guides still needed nagging to bed for the big day the next day!

So the girls I had this time were much younger than the ones I took last time and we weren't confident to leave them conmpletely to their own devices, this made for a different Disney experience to the time I brought Rangers, but I think it was actually more fun and I did more rides - including the Indianna Jones 360 loop! 

The park was at capacity but the queues were considerably shorter than UK theme parks.

Whilst I was enjoying myself immensely, I still couldn't shake off the deep feelings of guilt that Disney is totally about excess, fun, and an awful lot of environmental damage whilst a huge proportion of the world doesn't even have access to clean water.

These were not feelings I shared with anyone, no one wants a Debbie-Downer when the parade of happiness is passing by!

Back to base for the last night disco and packing ready for a long day of travelling again

This was a great trip, well run by the main leader Guiders. 

These international trips, or any Guiding residentials, offer so many development opportunities for the girls - making new friends, independence, new cultures, and they usual come at must cheaper prices than anything schools offer because we are all volunteers that run them. I used my work holiday and paid the same as the girls to take them away - and I would do it all over again! 


Maze 2023

We have visted the local maze every year since it opened, we always walk every inch of path, marking it off with a highlighter pen as we go. We use the 'hard' map without extra clues. The owner always recognises us, and this year refered to us as old timers - not sure how I felt about that!

This year the theme was 'marine life at risk' and the maze was a giant turtle. The quiz boards were harder than normal and were also very informative.  
Cog has her hands rather full this summer so it was HWMBO and myself alone again.

We went end of season and despite the dreadful weather all summer it was at least 8ft in most places.

For the first time ever we had to queue to get in, I think this will be because it has been shut a lot of weekends because of rain and the kids go back to school around here next week. 

But the maze swallows people and it didn't feel over crowded, although we did bump into our next door neighbours twice! 

As always my tips for visiting a maize maze are:

Call in advance, they will tell you how muddy (or not) the paths are and if you need wellies, trainers or sandals. And then stick all 3 in the boot anyway!

Take a small backpack, with waterproofs, hats, and bottles of water.

Take cash - ours now takes card payments by preference, but occassionally the wifi is not great so I still recommend taking cash or be prepared to drive a long way to find an ATM!

Take a couple of pens - they will charge you for a pen.

If you want to make it easier, take a highlighter pen and mark off the paths as you go round.

Ours is totally wheel chair and pushchair accessible unless it is really really muddy. They have lots of viewing platforms and helpers, you won't lose your children (for long) no matter how hard you try and they have quick exits so you can get out to the loos and then go back in again without having to walk a million miles.

At ours there are lots of other games and mini mazes to do as well, picnic tables and plenty of parking. It is an easy, fun day out and I thoroughly recommend it for a family few hours of togetherness and exercise....oh yes and yelling at each other debating about which way to go!

As maze post tradition now dictates, here is my maze gallery:

2022  Platinum Jubilee. A very hot day, 30C
Me and HWMBO (Cog was working)

2021  - the Phoenix rising from the Flames after Covid, Me and HWMBO

End of season height, coats and lots of sunflowers

2020 - Not open because of Covid lockdowns.

2019 -  Astronaut to mark 50 years since the first man on the moon.

HWMBO & I went

2018 - NHS Ambulance theme with Australian friends and Cog not long out of intensive care.

2017 - A hot year and a good crop

2016  was a bad year all round but points to us for still making the effort to go.

This was a good crop year and a fun afternoon with friends.

The weather couldn't make up it's mind, warm, sunny and wet at different points of the walk.


This was the best crop they'd had in a long time.

Dreadful crop year. But the sunflowers meant it was still well worth seeing.


The owners said it was a bad crop year. It seemed pretty tall to me, but maybe it's about the size and number of the maize itself, not just the height of the plant.


The height was there but the plants were rather lame


A wet year I think as we are wearing wellies.

2008   Again not too bad a height.

Looks like another bad year.

Cog  always reminds me that 2006 was the 'alien' year and she went with her father, not me.


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