French red wine and sunshine at La Giraudière
As the end of May approached and my stay in France drew to a close, I couldn’t wait to start planning my next French adventure. As a student at Cardiff University, I’d spent eight incredible months teaching English at a lycée in Brittany; where I’d fallen in love with the French way of life, the people and the culture. Although I couldn’t wait to spend the summer at home in Wales, a part of me was bursting to come back to France and spend a few more weeks living life à la française before returning to the hustle and bussle of my final year at university. I was looking for an unique experience that would also give my French a little extra boost, and a stay at La Giraudière seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
“…good company, good wine, good welcome, can make good people.”
A warm welcome from Sidney
As Paul, the Program Director, drove me from the train station to La Giraudière; the breathtaking views of sunflower fields, vineyards and red-roofed houses were exactly what I’d hoped the Southwestern French countryside would be. Upon arriving at the house I was greeted with a very warm welcome from Sidney, the black Labrador, who later joined Paul and I on the grand tour of the old stone house. As I’m filled in on all the goings-on at LG, I can’t wait to get started on helping to plan future events.
A busy first day at work
Today, on my first full day as a volunteer at LG, I’ve jumped straight into the marketing and social media aspect of the project. With all sorts of events such as a Pub Games night, Belgian and German evenings, Bonfire Night and a Christmas Market planned in the next few months, there’s a lot of organising and promoting to do! During my three weeks at La Giraudière, I’m looking forward to participating in the project’s clerical day-to-day, marketing and event planning work; and of course lending a hand to any other jobs that need doing around the house. Although I’m afraid I’ll need some guidance from other members of the team when it’s my turn to cook!
I can’t wait to spend my weekends meeting and socialising with the locals, or the Brossacais as they’re called; and discovering more of the beautiful rural landscape that surrounds the village of Brossac. I’ve been promised a bike by Paul, so who knows where I’ll end up! I’m keen to visit the nearby market that takes place every Monday, and I might even try my luck at one of the village’s bi-weekly Pétanque games!
A bottle of Bordeaux’s finest at La Giraudière
And after passing through Bordeaux yesterday, I’m also very eager to return and spend a few days exploring the city. Rue Sainte-Catherine, which at 1.2km is Europe’s longest shopping strips, is especially tempting!
So after my first 24 hours here at La Giraudière, the next few weeks are set to be an exciting and interesting experience. As I make the most of the French red wine and sunshine, there’ll certainly be plenty of things to keep me busy!
Elain Jones, a student studying Welsh and French at Cardiff University, publishes her first blog entry at La Giraudière.
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