Château de la Baudonnière Residential School Trips to France

Language Immersion and On-Site Activities For Schools

This trip is a multi-activity residential French language immersion programme for schools based in the grounds of our own magical Château de la Baudonnière in Normandy.  All your group activities, day trips and evening entertainment is led by our experienced native French speaking animateurs to create a totally French-speaking environment giving maximum opportunity for your students to practise the French language.

A week at the Château gives your students more exposure to speaking and listening to French than is possible in a whole term of formal lessons back at school.

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Residential French Language Centre For School Groups

Situated an hour and a half south of Cherbourg, our Château nestles in 100 acres of its own grounds which incorporate a lake, mini farm, assault course, orchard, climbing wall, archery range, tennis court, fencing strip and boule pitch.  Our experienced  Château team has been welcoming residential school language groups for over twenty years which means your students benefit from a well-tested and established programme.

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Activities and Learning

At the Château your students enjoy a range of on-site activities from kayaking, archery, fencing, bread making, assault course and climbing all conducted in French by native speaking animateurs. Your students will have so much fun they will hardly notice that they are improving their French conversation skills and growing in confidence as language students

Run in groups of no more than twelve students, we have designed each activity to concentrate on a particular area of French vocabulary, for example, climbing will include body parts and movements, bread making will cover weights and ingredients. To reinforce what they’ve learnt, we provide each student with a complementary French workbook to complete during their time away.

Our language immersion programme at the Château also includes a day of excursions, led by our local animateurs, and planned to expose students to wider cultural topics and insight into the francophone world.

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

Lynne, French Teacher, Kew College

Who is This School Trip Perfect For?

Activities are suitable for every level of French learner, including beginners, and so the Normandy Château is a popular choice for students in KS2 and KS3.  We also offer more intensive GCSE and sixth form programmes at the Château.

 

When Should I Take My School Trip to Normandy?

The Château’s school language immersion programme runs from September to November and from February to July.

Due to its long-standing popularity, we have a waiting list of schools wanting to stay at the Château in peak weeks from June to July. We give first priority to school groups which have stayed with us during the previous year and so we strongly recommend that new bookers try a trip to the Normandy Château outside of the traditional peak season.

The Autumn term is a magical time to organise a school trip to the Château due to the mild weather and beautiful changing colours of the Normandy orchards. Book a school trip in the Autumn term if you are looking to kick start your students’ French learning after the long summer break or to get your new Year 7 students working well together as a group.

The Spring Term is the most affordable time to experience our market-leading Château programme and offers a greater choice of student activities. KS4 and KS5 students visiting in the middle of the school year will benefit from invaluable practise before their French oral exams. March is also the driest month of the year to visit Normandy.

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The Château Programme at a Glance

Educational Objective

Build French language reading, oral skills and confidence

National Curriculum Aims

  • Practise speaking on a variety of topics
  • Build confidence in conversation and supports spontaneous conversation
  • Exposure to wider cultural topics and insight into the French speaking world

School Tour Type

French language immersion, multi-activity, residential

Duration

7 days

Location

Normandy, 90 minutes south of Cherbourg

Tour Staff

Dedicated French native animateurs will lead all activities, trips and evening entertainment

Travel Options

School pick up and drop off, dedicated coach and driver, ferry crossing

Meals

Full board, home-cooked French meals, suitable for British tastes

Student Accommodation

En-suite bunk rooms in modern blocks within the Chateau grounds

Teacher Amenities

Separate staff room, cheese and wine night, TV, en-suite twin rooms

 

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Language Immersion - How Does It Work?

“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!”

Instead of acquiring French by formal instruction, your students learn French from native French-speaking animateurs to create a totally French-speaking environment. From breakfast through to the evening entertainment and all the fun activities and trips in between, everything is led in French by our experienced French team. A week at the Château offers your students more exposure to speaking and listening to French than is possible in a whole term of formal lessons back at your school. This means that as well as having an enjoyable week, your students will make substantial improvements in their French language skills.

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Sample excursions

Great educational excursions for school groups in Normandy

The activities are designed to be fun while encouraging students to speak spontaneously and at greater length on a variety of topics. Our excursions are planned to expose your students to wider cultural topics and insight into the francophone world.

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.

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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.

Teacher Resources

Find a selection of useful resources related to your trip.

Teacher Resources

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Testimonials

"Thank you for an outstanding school trip. Everything was perfect – transport, accommodation, food and visits." Rob Smith, Kings Norton Boys School

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