Organise your trip

These pages provide useful information to help you plan a great trip. If you require any further help, please do not hesitate to call us on 01273 202 999.

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1. Promotion

As you are now provisionally booked with us, we usually recommend that you first of all focus on the promotion of your trip.

Material

In order to help you with this, we have a range of material to help you for your staff and parents meeting.

  • Parents leaflets for the Chateau (free of charge)
  • Brochures for the 'Normandy Experience' programme to use at your parents meeting so please don’t hesitate to let us know how many you need
  • Sample letters available (see below). You will also find lots of useful information relevant only to teachers. 
  • A chateau pack to show the parents and staff including a sample of our workbook.

Inspection visit

We believe the best way to understand the Chateau and Normandy Experience programmes is to see it for yourself. This is why we operate an open house policy. We encourage you to come and see us at anytime prior to your trip to meet the team and ask as many questions as you want. Just arrange your own journeys to the Chateau and we will take care of the accommodation and meals for you (free of charge). It’s also a great way to prepare prior to your parents evening.

Promotion’s outcome

The most important thing about your provisional reservation, from our point of view, is that you keep in touch with us and definitely contact us around or before your first deposit date to let us know what is happening and where you are up to.

Let us know about your parents evening, the level of interest you had and how we can improve it if necessary. It’s also important to bear in mind that you will not be penalised if you drop in numbers at this stage and the price will remain the same (we may however ask you to arrange your own transfer to port if your group is below 20 pupils, but these situations are judged on a ad-hoc basis).

The important thing to remember is that we are here to help you along, so don’t hesitate to keep us up to date!

Letter to parents

Use this customisable letter to announce the trip and get parents on board

  Download file (42 KB doc)

2. General information

1. Who organises what?

The first and most important thing to know, at this stage, is who organises what! As the Chateau is a centre working between different countries, there is a clear define between the duties of the French team and the UK team.

The Chateau (France) is in charge of all accommodation arrangements, programme  settings (excursions and activities), dietary and medical requirements and any queries related to the centre. To get in touch with the team, you can call them on 0033 233 604 695 or email them at admin@the-chateau.com 

For Normandy Experience programs, please email bene@the-chateau.com who is solely in charge of these bookings, organising programmes, rooming and anything related to the stay.

The UK office (Brighton) is in charge of all the promotion, the numbers, financial and general administration, and the transport aspect of your trip for ALL bookings. To get in touch with the team, you can call them on 01273 202 999 or email them at carole@the-chateau.com or nick@the-chateau.com.

2. What’s included? Not included?

Included

All accommodation, meals, activities, lessons, evening entertainment, staff and transport are included in the price (unless arranged otherwise at your booking stage).

Not included
  • Journey meals on arrival and departure day. You will have a cold buffet or snack (depending on the time of arrival) and packed breakfast on departure, but meals on the ferry are not included.
  • Pocket money (for market trips for example).
  • Excursions entrance fees. For a price guideline of excursions, please click here. However, you can easily choose excursions that do not have entrance fees (eg. Mt St Michel, Dinard, markets).
  • Travel insurance is not included in the price.

IMPORTANT: All aspects of operations and transport are liability insured. Details of policies can be found in the ‘Safety and Security’ tab of our website. Your school and union should provide general liability insurance to cover you and your colleagues. These days in Western Europe, we do not necessarily consider that travel insurance is a necessity and so it is not included in the price. The important practical issue is that you have E111 medical cards to cover any medical requirements and that parents are clearly informed that lost property is their responsibility (often these days, this is covered by home insurance or credit cards perks). In any case, please make sure parents understand clearly they check they’re covered/ get cover/ take their own risks!

Having said that, many schools decide to take out travel insurance. We can organise this for £5 per pupil for Normandy Experience and £6 per pupil for the Chateau programme.

3. Transport

Our standard means of travelling is coach + ferry. We usually arrange the transport between 3 to 6 months prior to your departure. Every group is transferred in different ways and this varies according to party size, distance travelled etc..

1. Full-time coach:

A coach picks you up at school and transfers you all the way to the Chateau via Brittany Ferries. Depending on numbers, it is likely this group will share the coach with another group, either from their school or from port. A group normally needs to have 50+ pupils in order to have this facility.

2. Shuttles + ferry:

A coaches will pick up their groups from school and transfer them to por,t where they will cross as foot passengers (with luggage trailers on main crossings). On the French side, our Chateau coach will pick up the group and transfer them to the Chateau/ Normandy Experience accommodation. As much as possible, we try to put these groups on a Fast Ferry to shorten their journey.

Note on coaches: The coaches we use are from very experienced companies and we have been in partnership with them for many years.

Note on ferries: We work in partnership with Brittany Ferries. Here is general information:
Routes: We usually use Portsmouth-Caen or Portsmouth-Cherbourg crossings since these are more frequent and provide more assistance than any other crossings (these routes are the only ones providing luggage trailers). Other crossings are Poole-Cherbourg and Plymouth-Roscoff (used for groups around Plymouth)

Crossings: There are 2 types of crossings.

Standard sailing: This crossing lasts 6 hours and usually leads to a steady crossing since the ferry is larger. This crossing supplies hot food and Brittany usually try to allocate a room to each group as a courtesy, but this is NOT guaranteed! (It is possible to guarantee it for £150 each way). For foot passengers, luggage trailers are not provided and need to be paid for, which we do at our expense. These luggage trailers are available on certain crossings and we always try our best to guarantee it to your group.

Fast cat: This crossing lasts less than 3 hours. It has friendlier timings but crossing can be choppy depending on the weather. Hot food is not available on these crossings and the seating arrangements are airline style. This crossing automatically has luggage assistance for foot passengers, that’s why we try our best to prioritise foot passenger groups on these crossings to facilitate their journey.

Eurotunnel: A rarer option but convenient to certain groups close to Folkestone. Use of Eurotunnel is only possible if you have a Full-time coach. There are no choppy crossing, but the time on the road is considerably more than the other options. However, timings are friendlier and the total journey time is usually 5 hours on the French side.

Flights: Very rare option but becoming increasingly popular due to the range of UK airports that fly to Dinard or Rennes. Certain groups arrange their own flights, in which case we supply the transfer from the airport (in Brittany) to the accommodation. Please discuss options with us.

3. After your first payment

Once you have made a provisional booking with us, we will be sending you a booking summary to explain the payment schedule and, at a later stage, the main transport legs of your trip. It will also confirm the numbers we have for your group and will be sent to you every time you make any changes.

Finance

The payment schedule is arranged according to your needs, so should you have difficulties collecting the deposits on time, just drop us a note so we can amend the deadline for you.

Different payees: If you have a Chateau booking, the first and second deposits should be made payable to the ‘Chateau de la Baudonniere’ and your final balance should be made payable to ‘Foreign Client Payment account’. Any additional payment after that (eg. Last minute extra pupil) should be payable to the ‘Chateau de la Baudonniere’. For Normandy Experience groups, all cheques should be payable to Normandy Experience.

Loss of deposits: From the moment you inform us that one of your students withdraws from the trip, he/she will automatically lose the deposits paid till that point. Pupil places are not transferable. If a pupil drops out and another joins the trip, then a cancellation is forfeit and a new deposit is payable, unless the school asks and the company agrees to transfer. Please note that replacements should also bear in mind gender splits for accommodation purpose.

As soon as you confirm your booking, please give us your gender split so we can arrange rooming.

Paperwork

This is the best time for you to organise all the paperwork relevant to your trip:

Risk assessment: We know they are time-consuming and that’s why we have them ready for you to print from our website on www.the-chateau.com and click on the Safety & Security tab on the top right side of the page. You will find all the necessary documents for your risk assessment.

Our website is also a great provider of information, particularly for parents evening. You will find most of the information and answers to most of your questions.

Emergency numbers: You will find below a list of emergency numbers. You may need to fill in health & safety papers (French emergencies and coach companies)

Passports: Please make sure that all the students and adults passports are valid and non-EU passports are dealt with accordingly.

Insurance: As mentioned above, make sure the group and individuals are insured accordingly. It is recommended that you purchase insurance as soon as you confirm, as it will cover any withdrawals due to sickness.

Queries

Do not hesitate to contact the relevant office if you have any queries that arise.

4. Six to two months prior to departure

1. Internet log-in

Our website now has an exciting feature ennabling you to view your booking online. You can check your finances, your transport, rooming and programming for your trip, as well as upload your group details.

We will send you, around that time, an email with your internet log-in and a password along with clear user explanations. We strongly recommend that you check this booking as often as you can, to check for possible changes and other topics, mentioned above. This feature gives you all the information you need whenever you want it.

Note: We advise you to give us a quick call prior to a parents meeting to make sure that the booking is accurate (should there be any changes in process).

2. Finance

At this stage, the financial side is straightforward, but please do call us if you have any queries (or check your details online).

3. Transport

Your ferry, coach or train bookings are getting confirmed and we will make them appear on your online booking and other correspondence as they are confirmed.

Timings will appear too. However, as things change, the transport planning is LIKELY to change too at this stage and will be more reliable further down the line. We know changes are inconvenient but they are usually due to change in numbers or crossing alterations. We always have the school’s best interest at heart, changes are therefore carefully considered and we always try to provide the most convenient journey instead.

4. Program

Around 2 months to 1 month prior to your departure, the Chateau will upload your program online for your group. From this time onwards you can liaise with the Chateau team to discuss this program and finalise it. So don’t hesitate to call them on 0033 233 604 695 or email Darren on darren@the-chateau.com. Please note that if the Chateau team doesn’t hear from you, the Chateau team will gather that the provisional program is suitable to your group and will therefore make it final.

NOTE TO NORMANDY EXPERIENCE BOOKINGS: For any queries related to your program, Bene is solely in charge of all the Normandy Experience bookings. Please contact her on bene@the-chateau.com.

5. Rooming

At this stage, the Chateau will also disclose your rooming arrangements online. This is why it is VITAL to receive your gender breakdown as soon as convenient. You can then start filling your online Party member’s list and allocate students to each dorm. The same applies for Normandy Experience. Please contact the relevant manager to discuss this (Darren for the Chateau – Bene for Normandy Experience).

5. Bon Voyage

One month prior to departure

Chateau

The Chateau will need your rooming list with names of pupils as well as any dietary and medical requirements. You will also need to confirm your program. All of this can be done online.

UK office

Finance: The final balance is to be made one month prior to your departure, as per payment dates. Please REMEMBER who to make the cheque payable to (see above).

Transport: The planning is almost complete, but change are still likely up until 2 weeks prior to departure (very minor changes). Please keep checking online or drop us a note.

Party members list: To be filled in online, this list requires names, ages, dorms, dietary requirements and grouping, and needs to be completed 3 weeks prior to departure.

Emergency number: Please provide us with a mobile number on your online party members list so the coach drivers can contact you if necessary.

 

One week prior to departure

UK office

Your final travel itinerary will be available online with references, emergency numbers and names at the Chateau, along with the details of the coach and ferry companies. This document will be finalised 2 to 3 days prior to departure, as drivers names and numbers are only disclosed this late.

Departure

UK coach: Your coach will arrive at your school 30 to 60 minutes prior to departure. Should it be EXTREMELY delayed, please contact the numbers provided on your final itinerary. Your coach will help you disembark at port.

Ferry: Please provide the reference number stated on your itinerary. All of our providers work on a ticketless system where the reference number automatically generates your check-in. There will of course be the usual passport control and checks. If you are on a slow boat as a foot passenger, a luggage cage reference will also be supplied on your travel itinerary. Please show it to the operator who will guide you through it.

French coast: (for foot passengers only): As you disembark the craft, please go through the usual passport control. As you come out of the hall, our Chateau coach will be waiting for you. Most of the coaches will have a ‘Chateau de la Baudonniere’ inscription on the side.

Arrival at the chateau and during your stay

Meals

The team will be waiting for your group and show you to the accommodation. A meal will be provided according to the time of arrival, as below:

Arrive (or the EXPECTED arrival time) Meal
BEFORE 20:00 NORMAL EVENING MEAL  or BUFFET FROID when close to 7 or 8 PM
BETWEEN 20:00 and 22:00 BUFFET FROID which will include Ham, Cheese, Crisps, Bread, Butter, Fruit and Drinks (& wine for teachers)+ salads such as tuna, tomatoe...cucumber
AFTER 22:00 CHOC CHAUD and CAKES/madeleines
Wine for teachers...

Accommodation

Please liaise with the team should any problems arise.

The Chateau team will have a meeting with all the teachers the day after to run through procedures and programming.

Other

The UK office will fax you a new travel itinerary with details of your driver for your return journey.

The Chateau will supply the name and number of the French driver (foot passengers only). The team will also organise a telephone appointment between you and the UK office to get feedback from your trip upon your return.

Your timetable-reminder

Time 

Chateau

UK office

12 to 6 months N/A Provisionally book
Get promotion material (leaflets)
Liaise regarding numbers
Send first deposits
6 to 3 months Ask possible queries
Inform of gender breakdown
Send second deposits
Inform of gender breakdown and any number changes
Receive online log-in
Check transport
2 months Liaise with Chateau re program
Receive rooming
Check transport online
Confirm numbers if needed
1 month Confirm program
Fill in forms via online booking
Final balance
Send names list for transport
Send emergency numbers
1 week N/A Print final itinerary
During stay  Arrange feedback interview Receive updated travel itinerary
Back to the UK  N/A Feedback interview

Contact information

UK office

Chateau

Castaway Travel

142 Old Shoreham Road
Hove
East Sussex
BN3 7BD
Phone: 01273 827333
Fax: 01273 827328

Chateau de la baudonniere

50320 Les Chambres
Phone: 0033 233 60 46 95
Fax: 0033 233 60 50 23

Download the information on this page as a Word file

  Download file (147 KB doc)

Other pre-visit information

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