Château de la Baudonnière - French Language Immersion

The Château de la Baudonnière has been offering residential linguistic, cultural and experiential courses for over twenty years and has an over-subscribed programme that runs year round. A school trip to the Château is all about French language immersion.

  • The beautiful Château de la Baudonnière

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  • Cold water wash after the muddy assault course at the Château

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  • Archery lessons

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  • Animateurs at the Château

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  • Children wear appropriate safety helmets during activities at the Château

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  • Bread making and fencing at the Château de la Baudonnière

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  • Students having fun at the Château

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Learn French at our Normandy Centre of Excellence

Everything that is done involves using practical spoken French to convey meaning and students are encouraged to speak French to get what they want.

Situated ninety minutes south of Cherbourg, the Château nestles in 90 acres of its own grounds which incorporate an orchard and cider press, boule pitch, farmyard, lake, assault course, climbing wall, archery range, tennis court, orienteering and initiative courses.

 

 

Find out more in our CASE STUDY

A team of native speakers

The French native team delivers activities to your group in French with a maximum group size of twelve. Lead by our animateurs, each activity concentrates on a particular area of French vocabulary; (eg climbing = body parts and movements) and starts with an introduction to the language and activity and finishes with a debrief which includes helping the class to complete their workbooks.

Voyager groups are in the unique position of being able to incorporate one or two days at this centre of excellence into the school tour. Excursions and cultural visits form the remainder of your school trip and your tour coordinator will offer advice on how to create a well-balanced programme that works.

Watch a video about our animateurs here!
Be ‘That’ Teacher – make it happen

“"I have been on 27 outbound trips and this one was by far the best. The Château have a unique way of developing the children and should be really proud of this".”

Lynne, Party Leader, Kew College

A trip to our Château is the best French language school tour you can find. Here's why...

  • Professional French native animateurs will be speaking French with your group during the day, in the evenings and at mealtimes.
  • Your French native tour manager will be with you the whole time.
  • Students will enjoy activities such as canoeing, archery, fencing, bread making, assault course and climbing while they learn French at the same time.
  • Educational structure, each student provided with a comprehensive workbook to reinforce their experience.
  • Programmes that are especially designed for Primary, Middle, Secondary and Sixth Forms, and for every level of French, including beginner.
  • Normandy specialists with 25 French staff on the ground.
  • Unbeatable value for money.
  • It works – even with complete beginners!

 Find out more here...

Total language immersion - effective learning for school groups

The Château is all about French language immersion. Everything that is done at the Château involves using practical, spoken French to convey meaning, and the children are encouraged to speak French to get what they want. A friendly, French family environment supports this philosophy.

As one of our party leaders said; “The classroom situation is always artificial to some degree. Here my pupils know it’s for real. If they know that when they want something, they have to ask for it in French, they will do it!

Pupils leave after our full-week programme having had a great time in a fun, but educational tour environment. Their ability to speak and understand French will have improved substantially but more importantly pupils will have the confidence to use French and they will understand the practical benefits of learning and using the language. We hope this translates to having pupils who are both more able and more motivated back in the classroom on your return.

Sample excursions

Great educational excursions for school groups in Normandy

Le Mont St Michel

Le Mont St Michel

Probably the most beautiful place in Normandy. Built in the 11th century, the Abbey is a feat of medieval architecture with outstanding and panoramic views over the bay – and its rooms are as impressive as its exterior. As a centre of Christian pilgrimage, the Abbey has been kept in good condition throughout its life. The nearby Maison de la Baie explains the history of Le Mont St Michel with an audiovisual tour.

The adventurous can approach by crossing on the tidal causeway, but wearing shorts is recommended! One of our expert French native guides will be keeping you on course, whilst noting the local flora and fauna, pointing out some of the many points of interest, and explaining about the famous salted sheep.


French markets

Le marché

French markets are always lively and colourful. You will see all kinds of stalls, including fruits and vegetables of the season, fresh fish and sea food, and French livestock such as chickens and rabbits. You can join the bustle, buying all kinds of souvenirs from French fashion, jewellery and sunglasses, to the traditional Camembert or Normandy cider. You’ll certainly find the ‘hot produce’ stalls with their evocative smells of pancakes, saucisses grillées and more, are impossible to walk by without sampling!


St Malo

St Malo

Our region is rich in towns where every stone is steeped in history, with medieval ramparts perched over picturesque valleys. One of the finest is St Malo, with its magnificent cathedral, Wax Museum and the Old Market Hall, shops with local crafts and open markets. It’s also home to a huge aquarium, where you can ride on a submarine or even touch living fish – a real hands on experience!


Dinan

Dinan

Dinan is one of the most attractive medieval walled cities in France. The old town is full of half-timbered houses, churches, castles and cobbled streets overlooking the river Rance. Its fortifications made Dinan an almost impregnable fortress.


Granville boats

Granville

The old town with its narrow cobbled streets of houses built from local granite offers panoramic views towards the islands of Jersey and Guernsey to the north and Mont Saint-Michel to the south. Built on its own little peninsula, once the basis of the town's defences, Granville is compact and a fantastic shopping centre.


Arromanches tank

Arromanches / Landing Beaches

Arromanches is at the heart of the D-Day Landings. There are museums with vivid and emotive displays, including the famous 360° cinema with unreleased footage from war correspondents, filmed on D-Day. There is also the Musée du Débarquement in Arromanches Les Bains, built on the site of the Mulberry Harbour, with working models and film to explain this incredible technical feat.


Caen Memorial

Caen

Two Abbeys, a castle and a good range of shops. As well as the Caen Memorial which stimulates thought and debate about the future of the planet, presenting a wealth of material from the 20th century in an innovative way.


Omaha Beach

Plages locales

If your group would like to unwind and relax there are many delightful sandy beaches, perfect for an impromptu picnic. One of our French native guides will be happy to organise beach games. Alternatively, your guide can take you on a beautiful coastal walk, and tell you about the wildlife, and the reasons for the rapid transformation of the coastline.


The Bayeux Tapestry

Bayeux

This visit takes you to the entrancing and ancient city of Bayeux, with its rich artistic and architectural heritage, including the magnificent medieval cathedral. You can also visit the Bayeux Tapestry, a unique 70m long document, made in the 11th century of woollen embroidery on linen cloth. The tapestry tells the epic story leading up to the Battle of Hastings and the defeat of King Harold by William the Conqueror.


Bell at Villedieu-Les-Poêles

Villedieu-Les-Poêles

Fifteen minutes from the Château, groups can visit the town's Bell Foundry, Copper Workshop and Pewter Museum. It is rich in history and has a great morning market every Tuesday.

Click here for more information

Sample activities

Group activities to enhance the French language learning experience

Below are details of activities and outdoor sessions available at the Château. They all provide a perfect situation for students to feel at ease using the French language, and include the learning/practice of verbs, actions, directions, instructions and vocabulary relevant to the immediate environment. They enjoy the activities so much they do not realise just how much they are learning.

As far as possible all sessions are conducted in French, unless otherwise requested and depending on the age and French level of the students. All safety points will also be covered in English when necessary. Most sessions are followed up with a French worksheet applicable to the students’ level. All safety equipment is supplied by the centre (eg helmets, harness) and sessions are run by our fully-qualified and experienced staff.


Climbing the wall at the Chateau

Escalade

Climbing sessions take place on the Château’s own climbing wall which is suitable for students of any age. After issuing equipment and explaining the safety procedures, the students will climb various 'routes' on the wall. They will use commands in French to each other and will learn French words for movements and parts of the body.


Test your initiative

Exercices d’Initiative

On location in the Château forest, tasks are set for each group to encourage the students to work together. These team-building and problem-solving activities are challenging, fun and require good communication skills and a lot of team spirit.


Tackle the Assault Course

Parcours de Santé

This popular session is held on our purpose-built assault course in the Château grounds. Explanations are done in French and pupils repeat action statements before being allowed to do each obstacle. Ideal for practicing popular verbs and the use of prepositions. Usually rather wet and muddy, the students enjoy finishing off the session with a run against the clock and a dip in the river!


Canoeing

Canoë / Radeaux

The kayaking is held on our small lake at the Château. Simple instructions are given in French and the students will master various skills in a very safe and fun environment. Students should be confident in water, but do not need to be excellent swimmers. Raft building is a team building exercise, where the group has the task of making their own raft with some ropes, barrels and plenty of patience. Then it’s (often) ‘off we go, oops’, splash!!


Archery

Tir à L’Arc

Archery is conducted on the Château’s own archery range, where the pupils get the chance to be a Robin Hood. After the obligatory safety talk and explanation of the equipment, the students shoot the arrows onto targets, an excellent opportunity to practice French numbers (scores) and directions. All this followed by a balloon shooting competition!


Fencing

Escrime

Fencing takes place at the Château in one of our purpose-built fencing rooms and is an excellent opportunity for students of all ages to learn French in a safe and fun environment, as well as learning about the safety and the equipment. This activity also encourages the students to practice new phrases in French as well as enjoying the fencing itself.


Photography

Photogramme

This activity is designed to enhance the students’ knowledge of French while capturing an image from their activity, be it a leaf or a flower or their very own design. Using our dark room we can develop the image onto paper for the students to take away with them.


Aeroball

Aéroballe

Aeroball is a fun, totally unique sport! The trampoline-basketball-volleyball game is suitable for all ages and is played by two teams of 2. Simple instructions are given in French and the students will have the chance to learn/practise the vocabulary for the body parts. It’s also a great opportunity to practise the numbers (scoring and counting down the end of the match). Aeroball is quickly becoming a favourite activity for students and teachers alike!


Bread Making

Fabrication du Pain

Suitable for all ages bread making is not just a case of making bread, it’s also a golden opportunity to practise your singing talents, as we sing French songs. Students will be guided from the very beginning with simple French instructions. From the measuring of the flour to the kneading of the bread, this activity will keep their enthusiasm going throughout. They will even get to taste the fruits of their hard work as their bread will be baked in time for the evening meal.


Circus skills

Cirque

Enables pupils to discover the art of circus on an artistic as well as technical level. Students are introduced to juggling, diabolo and other circus equipment in a fun and educational manner. The French spoken during this activity is very varied and is based on using the names of the equipment (stick, balls, diabolo...), action verbs (to walk, to move...), directions (left, right, up, down...), colours (orange, red, green...), numbers (one, two, three...).


Orienteering

Course d’Orientation

The students will be taught map reading in French using orienteering games and courses in the Château grounds. As well as using French language for features, directions and map symbols the team orienteering challenges will involve other French language quizzes along with finding the control markers.

Sample tour

Accommodation

Accommodation options for our Château de la Baudonnière

Teachers room

Les professeurs au Château

All teachers staying at the Château are accommodated in single ensuite rooms. For the teachers who come to the Château, we serve wine with all evening meals. There is also a Cheese and Wine evening that enables the Teachers from all the schools to relax and have a chat together. The Teacher’s area in the Mezzanine has tea and coffee making facilities as well as English television with SKY and a computer with Internet Access. We also have WIFI at the Château.


Modern accommodation blocks

Students are accommodated in comfortable, modern, mostly en-suite bedrooms.

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