French learning programmes at Château de la Baudonnière

A week immersed in French at our fairy-tale château

Our residential French immersion programmes at the Château are suitable for all learners and year groups, from beginners to A-Level students. Our approach immerses your students in the language so that they only hear, see and use French throughout their trip to create a truly authentic and realistic setting. To achieve this, our experienced French-native animateurs will deliver a full programme of adventure activities, language lessons, excursions, mealtimes and evening entertainment, all conducted in French.

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A week immersed in French language and culture

  • Your students will only hear and speak French throughout their stay which means they’ll have more exposure to the language in a week than a whole term of formal lessons at school
  • Constant opportunities to use French in a real-world setting so that your students see the benefits of learning a second language and enjoy the experience of understanding and being understood in French
  • By practising with French-native animateurs, your students will improve their listening skills, grow their vocabulary, and learn to pronounce like a native-speaker
  • Your students' confidence will soar as our highly-experienced animateurs encourage even the most reticent children to have a go and use their French in fun and supportive environment
 
climbing normandy school adventure trip

French language immersion programme at Château de la Baudonnière

Developed over 20 years, our standard French immersion programme has been tested and refined to create a memorable and immersive experience which is shown to improve pupils' language confidence and understanding.  

But this is a school trip, and so it is also designed to be fun, create lasting memories, foster new friendships, deliver new experiences and grow confidence. 

The majority of the programme is conducted onsite, making full use of the Château’s fabulous range of onsite sports and adventure facilities including a lake, climbing wall, Tough Mudder-style assault course, woodland, sport courts and mini-farm.     

Our experienced team has developed over 500 different games, exercises and activities to motivate pupils of all different ages and French levels. The typical itinerary will consist of activities such as aeroball, assault course, climbing, archery, orienteering, photography, fencing, French bread making, initiative exercises, kayaking and nature trail.

Each activity is conducted in French and concentrates on a specific area of French vocabulary. For example, climbing uses body parts and movement commands, bread making uses weight and measurement vocabulary. Each activity is followed by a formal language debrief and journalling session using a bespoke French student workbook. 

The programme typically includes a guided day trip (or 2–3 half-day trips) with an animateur giving your group the chance to explore Normandy’s famous historical sites, visit its natural landmarks, or experience our local culture.   

Learning doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Our animateurs will also deliver a fun-packed evening programme, in French, to keep your group occupied. Favourites include the Château's campfire singalong and marshmallow toast, mini-olympics, floodlit sports sessions and talent show. Indoor options include bingo, initiative games, French quiz night and French movie night. Guests agree the pièce de résistance is our famous French soirée, a French-themed fancy dress evening with plenty of laughs for students, teachers and animateurs alike.

All meals are eaten French-style, to encourage children to try something new, with menus and instructions in French.

 

Sample itinerary

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
08:15am   Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
09:15am–12:00pm   Aeroball

D-day landing beaches

Arromanches 360 cinema

Bread making  
12:30pm   Lunch Packed lunch Lunch Packed lunch
14:15–17:00pm Arrive Assault course British Normandy Memorial Climbing Transfer to port for ferry crossing
17:00-18:00pm   Journalling Journalling Journalling  
18:00pm Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner  
19:30–21:00pm Tour Scavenger hunt Quiz night French fancy dress soirée  

Sixth form French immersion programme at Chateau de la Baudonniere


Our sixth form programme is designed to prepare your students for exams through an interesting mix of cultural visits, French language activities and French soirées—we can even include mock oral exams. The aim is to give your students maximum opportunity to practise their French with native speakers, creating a truly immersive and authentic French language experience. There is a focus on oral French and in order to ensure students speak and think in French, we enforce a no-English-speaking rule. As a result, our programme has become a popular and integral part of many schools’ A level French course.

The programme will challenge your students to debate current affairs, social and environmental topics and students are encouraged to ask questions, exchange ideas, converse, and even think, in French. We have taken our groups to local lycées, les mairies, regional hospitals, the law courts, the university of Caen, radio stations and even a homeless centre to give students exposure to a wide-range of people and topics. On these visits students have the opportunity to conduct questionnaires or ask specific questions applicable to their presentation work. Students can use their phones to record interviews, which they can then study later in more detail.

We’ve found that intensity is the key to success, particularly for Sixth form students, which is why activities are instructed in small groups to ensure each student receives individual attention. During the day our French animateurs will lead onsite activities in French and if you wish, we will even invite a local figure, from farmers to politicians, to speak at dinner.

Popular onsite group activities include archery, assault course, canoeing, fencing, climbing, bread making, orienteering and initiative exercises. 

Oh, and the students have a great time too! In the evening, we have a number of popular options to suit your sixth form group, such as a cheese & wine soirée on the first evening to meet and mix with the animateurs, bowling and pizza evening, cinema and creperie, French fancy dress disco and sports tournament.

The most cost-effective option for sixth form groups is to travel with other year groups from their school. However, we are able to accommodate sixth form-only groups of 10 or more on a self-drive basis. Alternatively, contact us about other transport options for small groups.

What teachers have to say about the Château's learning programme


"When we return after each successive trip I am constantly surprised how every aspect of my students’ understanding has improved – their confidence in oral work, their projects, their exam results. It is this level of proficiency in extending students’ performance which brings me back year after year.” 

—Conn Anson-O’Connell, Head of MFL at King Henry VIII School

More about Château de la Baudonnière

Why choose us for your French school trip to Normandy?

French immersion works

Developed over 20 years, our approach to French teaching creates a truly immersive experience that is shown to improve learning and confidence.

We’re here for you

Our local managers are on hand 24/7 to look after the individual needs of your group and deliver the best experience every time you visit.

Schools return to us year after year

Our French language residentials offer the highest quality instruction and care which is why 8 out of 10 school groups return each year.

Animateurs are “like having another teacher on the trip”

All school group activities are led by our own French-native animateurs who are skilled at encouraging even the most reticent learner to use their French.

Authentic French experiences

As part of the local community, with ties across the region, we offer an authentic French cultural experience during your group's stay.

A French programme to suit your learning objectives

Looking for onsite adventure activities? The chance to experience authentic local culture? Or an escorted tour of Normandy's rich history and landmarks? We have a French trip to suit.