Le Château de la Baudionnere
During the first week of the Easter Holidays, 28 students and 4 brave staff members went to Normandy for 5 days to experience the magic of the ‘Château de la Baudionnere’ – a chateau located in the rural outskirts of Avranches.
We left sat 10am on Monday 6th April and, after a few teary parents waved goodbye to our enthusiastic and eager francophones, we were on our way to Portsmouth for the ferry crossing to Caen. The crossing was very smooth with everyone finding their sea legs very quickly and before we knew it we had arrived at the Chateau to a welcoming ‘chocolat chaud’ and our comfy dorms.
The week that followed was spectacular. The French weather could not have been better, with 5 wonderful days of sunshine and temperatures between 16 and 20 degrees all week.
Students took part in a variety of activities including archery, climbing, aeroball, circus skills, bread making and a very muddy assault course to name a few. All the activities were done in French with absolutely no English being spoken by any of the chateau staff. Our students made us proud with their excellent questioning, listening and beautiful French accents. Before the end of the first day they were all talking in French to the animateaurs at the chateau and some even to each other.
During the week they also looked after the animals at the farm and made friends with the rams, pigs and chickens. However the baby rabbits and lambs were the favourites, being played with, chased and cuddled all week long.
The food at the chateau was also varied and very French, giving our students the opportunity to try French cheeses, salads, and a variety of French pastries and yes… snails! Their arrival was greeted with a few wary grins but the tray was empty by the end of the dinner.
We were all sad to leave the chateau on the Friday morning because even though we had all made new friends, tried new things, and learnt so much, we all felt we still had more to do.
Our crossing back home was just as smooth as our departure and it was lovely to come back to the sunny British coast.
All in all, I can safely say I could not have been prouder of our students. They were a joy to be with and their level of French on the journey home blew us all away. We are so grateful to the chateau staff for making our stay so comfortable and fun.