“Fun, France and Active Education”
Crickhowell High School is planning to take a group of students on a five day residential visit to Château Beaumont, a language and activity centre situated in Mayenne, Southern Normandy, France on 16th to 20th July 2018.
The trip is open to all students in Years 8, 9 and 10 who’d like to immerse themselves in the French culture and language and would be of great benefit to those wishing to improve their linguistic skills with a view to continuing with French to GCSE Level and beyond.
Residential trips have a proven positive impact on both the individual student and on class morale as a whole, whilst enhancing social skills, promoting a healthier lifestyle and breeding active minds. The Château offers a super, authentic French experience in a beautiful setting.
The students will follow the ‘Reportage’ itinerary, which is designed to give them an opportunity to experience the history, culture and language of this unique region, as well as to try out new and fun activities, such as aeroball or the zipwire. There will be visits to a range of sites of cultural or historical interest. Students will also be taking part in a fun and exciting programme of evening entertainment. They will have three meals per day, incorporating French cooking methods and food they’ll enjoy.
The Château is set in 10 acres of private grounds, with a separate accommodation block for school groups, with all dormitories having en-suite facilities. On-site facilities include:
- a classroom
- an entertainment hall
- a basketball court
- a swimming pool
- a climbing wall
- a common room
The total cost is £480.00 and includes all transport, insurance, full board and accommodation, equipment and instruction. Students need only bring money for extra snacks and souvenirs.
Please scroll down for useful documentation and trip links.
Welcome to Château Beaumont
Château Beaumont provides gate-to-gate school trips to France at our own centre on the Normandy / Loire Valley border. We have a strong track record and background in education and have been successfully arranging school trips for over 15 years.
All of our senior management have been Centre Manager at some point, so an understanding of the experience for school children and teachers alike is at the heart of everything we do.
We have an excellent safety record and high levels of staff retention, so for your school trip, you can realistically expect to have an experienced Group Leader or Instructor who has been with us for more than just the season. Their imagination and experience bring language to life and give children the confidence to ‘have a go’.
With exciting activities on site, a wealth of cultural attractions nearby and the opportunity to meet or share the centre with a French school , your school trip to France with Château Beaumont will give each pupil every opportunity to undertake new challenges, practise their French language and explore the rich history and culture of France.
Chateau Beaumont—A Potted History
The Château des Courgés is named after the Gallo-Roman landowner Corvius, who owned much of the surrounding land when France was a province of the Roman Empire. It was built between 1837 and 1852, by the Comte de Vaujas, an interesting time in history which saw the fall of Louis Philippe, the installation of the Second Republic (1848-1852) and the coup d’état by Napoleon III.
In 1922 the Château and its land was bequeathed to the De Branche family, whose descendants still live next door in the “Orangerie”, the former stables and tropical plant house of the Château.
Following the outbreak of WWII in 1939, the Château was requisitioned by the retreating French, later replaced by the Gestapo, who set up headquarters there.
The advance of Allied troops in 1944 drew on the hospitality of the Château once more, when it became their local HQ, before finally being returned to the De Branche family in 1947.
With no electricity and much damage done during Liberation, the village of Chailland bought the Château in 1963 and set it up as a finishing school for the young ladies of the village. We bought the Château in 1999 and have been operating it successfully as an educational centre ever since.
When you come on a school trip to Château Beaumont you can choose from some of the best activities around. All our activities target various learning and developmental elements, such as communication skills, teamwork and problem-solving. C ertain activities can also be tackled in French. Every evening after dinner the children are entertained with a variety of events and teachers can join in the fun or take time to relax in our comfortable Teachers’ Retreat. Activities offered include aeroball, archery, climbing, fencing, initiative activities, nightline, swimming and zip wire.
Château Beaumont is ideally located for a variety of cultural, historical, educational and fun excursions. Appealing to all ages and all French language abilities, your stay with us will be full to the brim with trips. We guarantee you’ll never be bored! Read on and find out more.
A Traditional Market in the Town of Laval
Laval is pretty, historic market town, only a short drive from Château Beaumont, which hosts a bustling traditional market every Tuesday and Saturday. It’s always a firm favourite with schools. The people are relaxed and friendly and it provides a fantastic opportunity for students to practice their French and get a taste of real life in France.
The heritage of the town has been recognised with its official listing as a “ville d’art et histoire”. The town boasts a beautiful old medieval centre, with the river and medieval bridge to one side, and the dramatic Laval Castle standing poised above the town on the other side. Step back in time in the Place de Trémoille, which has some of the most interesting half-timbered houses.
The town also boasts Le Musée d’Art Naif (the Museum of Naïve Art), featuring Henri Rousseau, a famous French artist who was actually born in Laval.
And if you haven’t had your fill of shopping, there’s always the Hypermarché, a mini shopping centre.
The Pretty Village of Chailland
Nestling in the peaceful Ernée Valley, on the edge of the Mayenne forest, the little character town of Chailland is dominated by the silhouette of a rocky peak on which stands a statue of the Virgin. Accessible by way of a path, which runs alongside a rose garden, the summit of the Rocher de la Vierge offers a beautiful
view over the Ernée Valley. As well as these attractions, you can also admire the terraced gardens of the old presbytery, the banks of the Ernée dotted with washhouses, and also Clivoy Castle with its remarkable garden.
This picturesque village is located a 5 minute drive / 20 minute walk from Château Beaumont. In Brittany, the village is known as a Petite Cité de Caractère and is a popular lunch spot / walking area for school groups.
The Mont-Saint-Michel is an island commune and one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. Set in a mesmerising bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, the island is often referred to as ‘the Eighth Wonder of the World’.
This staggering location has long inspired awe and the imagination. The story of how the mount turned into a great place of Christian pilgrimage is colourful. Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches, early in the 8th century, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea.
966 onwards saw the development of a major Benedictine abbey on the Mont-Saint-Michel. Magnificent monastic buildings were added through medieval times, one vertiginous section being nicknamed The Marvel. Its magnificent appearance, combined with carefully guarded secrets held within the walls make this a fantastic excursion appealing to all ages for varying reasons. An unmissable experience!
The Brittany American Cemetery
This lovely World War II cemetery containing the remains of the 4,409 American soldiers who lost their lives in the Normandy and Brittany campaigns of 1944, serves as a poignant reminder of the ravages of war. Set in 28 acres of rolling countryside, the peace and tranquility that now reigns supreme is a far cry from the travails of the soldiers who gave their lives for the freedom of future generations. This is an important, albeit sombre excursion into the history of our time.
The Ancient Ruins at Jublains
Jublains is the site of the ancient Noviodunum, a Roman capital created in the heart of the Gaulish territory of the Aulerci Diaulitae. You won’t need to stretch your imagination much as you stroll through this open-air history book. The traces and relics of the period are all around you and bear witness to the town’s glorious past. Before your eyes you’ll see sophisticated Roman baths with hot and cold water plunge pools, a vast tiered theatre – a temple dedicated to worship, streets arranged in a perfect chequerboard pattern and, of course, a fortress.
The purpose of the fortress was, for a long time, rather puzzling. However, archaeologists have now settled the matter: it was a transit warehouse where goods levied as taxes and/or precious metals were temporarily stored. One can now see why the walls are so amazingly thick!
The Seaside Town of Saint-Malo
Walking through the cobbled streets of Saint-Malo’s old town is a definite step back in time. This popular tourist destination and busy ferry port offers visitors an authentic glimpse into Brittany’s important seafaring past. And ….. it has a Welsh connection! It was founded by the Welsh monk, St Maclou, who built a church on the site of the Roman city of Alet. I doubt that he ever dreamed that his beloved creation would one day become a breeding ground and headquarters for French pirates! A good choice as even today it is known as the walled city of the sea.
The tall granite buildings house an interesting mix of cosy hotels and restaurants, and a dizzying array of shops. Take a tour on the little train to get your bearings or enjoy a bracing walk around the ramparts. The Musée de la Ville tells you all you need to know about the town’s history.
Opposite the old town are two little islands that can be reached at low tide (heed the warnings or you’ll get stuck!). On one is the Vauban-built Fort National and on the other is the tomb of the writer and politician, Chateaubriand, who was born in Saint-Malo in 1768.
Long sandy beaches sweep east from the old town to the district of Rothéneuf. Here you’ll find the former house of one of Saint-Malo’s most famous sons, Jacques Cartier, who discovered Canada; the 15th-century Manoir de Limoëlou houses a fascinating museum dedicated to the explorer.
La Ferme Marine de Cancale – Oyster Farm
Please note that this trip can only be done in conjunction with a trip to Saint Malo.
This fascinating trip to an oyster farm in the seaside town of Cancale. Known as the ‘oyster capital’ of France, Cancale has an ancient association with oysters dating back to the Roman era. The oyster beds are located at the northern end of the town immediately beyond the main jetty with each farmer owning a framed section of the seabed. These vary in size and are clearly visible at low tide.
Ferme Marine is a working oyster farm and will easily satisfy a thirst for knowledge about these intriguing gardeners of the sea. A guided tour of the farm will detail all the stages between farming the oysters and their shipment around the world. There is also an exhibition and shop.
La Refuge de L’Arche (the Ark Refuge)
The Refuge de l’Arche, a real haven of peace for around 150 species of local and exotic animals, lies in a lush green environment covering 15 hectares of beautiful parkland. The Refuge cares for injured, sick, mistreated and abandoned mammals, birds and reptiles, offering them peace and balance after a difficult start in life. Once they have been treated and cured, the animals are released into their natural environment
The Refuge offers a great adventure worthy of Noah’s ark, whose story began in 1968, when a bunch of friends picked up an injured cormorant they’d found by the roadside. There are viewing and observation terraces for visitors to watch the animals, as well as signs and educational materials. There are also three discovery trails to explore. If you like animals, this is a must!
A Goat’s Cheese Farm
No trip to France would be complete without sampling some of the amazing foods local to any region and this is a gem of a trip to a fromagerie in the French countryside to discover how goats’ cheese is made in the traditional way. Meet and pet the goats, learn about cheese production and, of course, join in a cheese-tasting session!
A Traditional Cider Museum
The Normandy region of France is famous for its apples and, more particularly, its apple products, one of which is cider. Cider continues to be produced the traditional and this tour will take in techniques and machinery used, both new and old. There’ll also be a chance to see how cider is bottled and no doubt there’ll be a whiff of calvados in the air as you speed through to the tasting room for a glass of tasty apple juice!
The Quaint Town of Sainte Suzanne
The wonderful little town of Sainte-Suzanne really is deserving of that old cliché “hidden treasure”. Classified as one of the ‘most beautiful villages in France’ and also as a ‘city of character’, Sainte-Suzanne is a small fortified town in a very picturesque location on a rocky outcrop above the river Erve.
The castle and medieval village are largely surrounded by the original defensive ramparts, still almost intact. Don’t miss the ‘Porte de Trois Clefs’, the door of three keys. This triple lock is on the 18th century Salt Store and because of the value of salt in those days three magistrates each had a different key and to open the door each must open their lock!
A Monbana Chocolate Factory
Everyone loves chocolate and where better to learn about it than in France? A visit to the Monbana factory is a real treat. Learn about the origins of chocolate and the machines used in it’s production. Watch the master confectioners at work and, best of all, taste some of the products and perhaps buy some presents for friends or family. Probably one of our tastier trips!
The Robert Tatin Museum
Hidden away in deep in the countryside at La Frénouse in the commune of Cossé-le-Vivien, you’ll find the Robert Tatin Museum, a truly astonishing and unusual place! All 1,200 square metres of his home are testimony to the incredible talent of this artist, who was a painter, sculptor, ceramicist and builder.
At this incredible museum you’ll discover the mysterious world of the painter and architect Robert Tatin. Stroll down the Walk of the Greats (Allée des Géants), where statues of people like Charlemagne, Vercingetorix, Joan of Arc, Jules Verne, Toulouse Lautrec and Pablo Picasso rub shoulders with each other. Nineteen giant statues illustrate different periods in the life of the artist. Continue your exploration of the place with a visit to the Dragon, Robert Tatin’s house, which remains in its original state, and the Meditation Garden. It took Robert and his wife, Lise, no fewer than twenty-one years to create this imaginary world inhabited by a multitude of sculptures of famous figures!
The Historic Town of Bayeux
The town of Bayeux is a popular destination in Normandy and is listed as an important protected Historic Towns in France. There are several reasons why Bayeux is a ‘must see’, such as the famous tapestry the town itself, the cathedral and the proximity of the Normandy beaches of World War II, where the allied forces landed in 1944 at the start of the reconquest of Europe. Bayeux also has the largest British war cemetery in Normandy.
The Bayeux tapestry is without doubt the most famous tapestry in the world. It relates the story of the conquest of England and King Harold by the Norman, William the Conqueror, in the Battle of Hastings, including the preparations for the battle and the battle itself.
Bayeux itself is an attractive town with a reasonably well-preserved medieval centre, situated round a famous cathedral. The Cathédrale Notre Dame dates in part from 1077, although most of what we see today was built in the 13th to 15th centuries. The medieval streets around the cathedral have lots of medieval houses, some half-timbered, as well as many other historic houses of interest.
The Town of Arromanches
This pleasant seaside town is famous for the part it played in the World War II D-day landings in June 1944. On it’s long, sweeping sandy beaches can clearly be seen the remains of the Mulberry Harbour with a couple of the concrete harbours on the beach and another line of them to be seen in the sea.
There are two attractions in Arromanches dedicated to the town’s role in the Normandy landings; the Musée de Débarquement with information about Operation Overlord, the Mulberry Harbour and a lot of World War II weaponry, the very popular 360° cinema with nine screens showing the film Le Prix de la Liberté. The film contains archive footage of the D-Day landings and immerses the visitor in a recreation of the experience.
Château Beaumont Location
The Château is situated near to the village of Chailland, a petite cité de caractère in the département of Mayenne (53).
Nestling in beautiful, tranquil French countryside on the borders of Normandy and the Loire, the Château sits on the crest of a hill surrounded by 10 acres of grounds – a perfect location for a school trip to France.
Information, Documentation and Useful Links
The trip to Château Beaumont will take place on 16th—20th July 2018. You can download trip documentation below. Any additional documentation relating to the trip will be posted here as it becomes available.
For further information about Château Beaumont, please visit their website http://www.chateau-beaumont.co.uk.