What makes our animateurs special? Introducing Lilie

23 Oct 2015, 14:12


Anyone who visits the Château de la Baudonnière says there is a magic about the place. The enchantment begins as you drive through the idyllic green countryside of La Manche in Normandy to reach the château. Then you meander down the country lane leading to the château and see the 19th-century house for the first time. The turrets and the conservatory give it a fairytale look. Wild rabbits, cocky peacocks, clucky hens and a petulant parrot complete the scene. Later, when you explore the grounds, you find there are woods, a lake, a river and many more nooks, leafy dens and hideaways to keep you enthralled...

The château is certainly a special place but it’s Voyager’s staff and team of animateurs that make any stay or school trip to the château extraordinary. School parties on a French language immersion course or families taking part on an adventure holiday in the summertime get exceptional attention and help from the animateurs. All of them have been specially trained to guide and instruct the guests through each activity. And, at the château they have been selected by Lilie – a young lady with a constant smile and knack for making things fun.

Lilie (Aurelie, actually) has been at the château for seven years now. Her philosophy is simple: “Sourire et tout ira bien ! “ I saw Lilie’s sunny side all week when I stayed at the château in August. As soon as we got off the coach she gave us a big smiley ‘“Bonjour!”

“At the beginning of each school trip many of the children struggle to even reply to that,” confided Lilie, “but by the end of the week they are responding naturally in French. We don’t give them much choice, everything we do is in French. From the moment we say ‘welcome’ to when we say ‘bye bye’ – it is all in French.”

The programme at the château is varied with activities like fencing, archery, climbing, aeroball and orienteering. It’s a packed schedule but it’s carefully designed to get a balance between fun and learning. Lilie has her own favourite activities: “I love the canoeing because it’s important that the children listen carefully to the instructions. They seem to understand that need and get a lot out of the activity because of it.”

Another good one is bread-making: “Again, they have to listen to the instructions carefully. But, we also have a great time making up songs while we get on with it.”

Lilie’s other top activity is the assault course: “It’s cold and muddy and pretty hard work,” Lilie laughs, “but we still make them speak in French!”

 Ultimately, it is the thrill of seeing children grow in confidence that makes Lilie love her job. As a parent or party leader, you need to trust the people who are taking care of your children when they go on a school tour. You want to feel confident that your child is safe and they are developing language skills and learning important life lessons. And, you want them to have loads of fun. At the château, with Lilie leading the way, Voyager reckons we’ve got it covered!

To find out more about Voyager School Travel language immersion programmes or Family Adventure Holidays to the château please click here or contact us on 01273 827 327.

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