French immersion – Château de la Baudonnière centre, France
Based within the grounds of our own magical Château, students spend the week enjoying a varied set of on-site activities led in French by a native French-speaking animateur.
Key stage 2 – 16+
Native French animateurs
Sep - Nov / Feb - Jul
Our unique residential French language programme
Nestled in the picturesque Normandy countryside, our Château has been welcoming students for over 30 years; the extensive grounds provide the perfect environment for students to improve their language skills and confidence, through a range of on-site activities all taught in French by our native-speaking animateurs. Our unique programme encourages students to listen and practise their French from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave, whether it’s working together to build a raft, tackle an assault course, climbing or bread making all tasks will be instructed and carried out in French by our French-native animateur team.
To ensure that each student gets individual attention, all activities are taught in small groups of no more than twelve, in addition each student will be given a workbook to help reinforce the vocabulary that they are learning. Off-site excursions allow your students to explore the rich cultural history of the region and range from goats cheese farms to the outstanding Mont St Michel. Teachers will be able to take a back seat as our animateur team lead your students through their Château programme, from petit déjuener right through to evening entertainment - all in French of course!
As one of our most established programmes, your trip shouldn't differ too much from this sample itinerary.
Arrive and meet the animateur team who will look after your students
Dinner and evening activities conducted in French
Day 2 - Full day of activities led in French by your animateur
French games and evening activities with animateurs
Day 3 - Local cultural excursions in French
Arromanches town visit
D-Day landing beaches
Arromanches 360 Cinema
French games and evening activities with animateurs
Day 4 - Full day of French activities
French costume and French quiz night
Day 5 - Full day of activities led in French by your animateur
Town market visit to pick up souvenirs
Nestled in Normandy
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. Students stay in gender-specific en-suite bunk rooms in accommodation blocks throughout the chateau grounds whilst teachers stay in en-suite twin bedrooms.
Click here for more information about this residential centre owned by Voyager School Travel.
Ready-made resources to get your trip off the ground
These ready-made trip resources are designed to reduce your admin and help speed up the process of planning, promoting and getting approval for your French trip:
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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 paths on the wall. They will use commands in French to each other and will learn French words for movements and parts of the body.
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.
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 practising 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!
Kayaking sessions are conducted on our on-site lake. 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.
Students 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 practics French numbers (scores) and directions. All this followed by a balloon shooting competition!
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.
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 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!
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.
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...).
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.
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.
Mont Saint-Michel Excursion
This island and its surrounding bay are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Scale the cobblestoned streets to reach the churches and the famous gothic-style abbey. Groups with an Animateur will experience a guided barefoot walk across the bay, which is a highlight for students.
Saint-Malo is a historic walled city with a surrounding beach. Central to the cobblestoned old town is the Roman Catholic Saint-Malo Cathedral. Popular visits also include the town museum and the Great Aquarium, home to 11,000 marine animals.
Famous as the home of the 70 metre-long Bayeux Tapestry, the medieval town is also home to the largest British military cemetery in France, making it a key destination for groups studying the history of conflict.
Just 15 minutes from Château de la Baudonnière, groups can visit the town's Bell Foundry, Copper Workshop and Pewter Museum. It is rich in history and has a bustling morning market every Tuesday.
Visiting Dinan is like taking your students back in time. This medieval walled town is full of charm thanks to its 13th-century castle, river, narrow streets and magnificently preserved timber clad buildings.
The seaside resort of Granville is a historic fishing port with views towards Jersey and Guernsey. Students of fashion and design will be particularly interested in visiting Musée Christian Dior to tour the exhibition housed in the fashion designer's childhood home.
Caen Memorial Museum
The port city of Caen features a castle built by William the Conquerer but is of most interest to our groups for the Caen Memorial Museum, which is an essential stop for students studying WWII and the Battle for Caen. There is also a section on the Cold War.
Local French Market
A chance for students to be immersed in local culture and produce and to pick up some souvenirs, a visit to the market is a great opportunity for learners to interact in French with the welcoming stall owners.
If you'd like to factor in some time for your group on the beach, your animateur will be happy to organise a picnic or beach games on one of Normandy's many sandy beaches. Your animateur can also lead a coastal walk where students learn about the local wildlife.
There are many cemeteries in France which serve as poignant memorials to the fallen of WWII. Visits to these sites complement History tours and allow students to gain a greater understanding of the loss of life and the human effects of the war.
Supplements for small groups, single teacher rooms and additional adults
There is a waiting list of schools who want to stay at the Château in the peak season from June - July, with first priority given to rebookers, so we strongly recommend that first-time bookers take a trip to the Château outside of these months.
The spring term is the most affordable time to experience our market-leading programme and offers a greater choice of student activities.
Travel 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. Alternatively, KS4 and KS5 students visiting in the middle of the school year will benefit from invaluable practise before their French oral exams.
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