Brossac Comité des Fêtes Dinner

Brossac Comité des Fêtes Dinner

On Friday, March 20, 2015 there was a Brossac Comité des Fêtes dinner held in appreciation of its members and to celebrate another successful year of events.



This dinner was to be the final gathering for the season as the Comité will be on break until the end of spring.  La Giraudière is highly involved in la Comité des Fêtes’ events.  Some of the main events include the Fêtes de muguet in May for which the La Giraudière team helps with the bike race and Bastille Day in July for which volunteers help produce the fireworks.

This special occasion was held at the newly reopened restaurant, Quai Sud, situated across from the lake.  The delicious meal consisted of gizzard salad, duck filet with a Port wine sauce, oven roasted potatoes, apple tart for dessert and all served with wine.




During the evening, the committee members shared stories and laughs together.  The laughs increased when the evening took a surprise turn with a display of balloon busting clowns for entertainment.  It was a night that was well enjoyed and an indication of the fun cooperative projects to come this year in 2015.

Canadian in France Volunteers at La Giraudière

Canadian in France

Our most recent volunteer is Davida who is from the city of Toronto in the province of Ontario, Canada and she will be spending five weeks at La Giraudière to do volunteer work and to experience the French way of life in the countryside.  This is Davida’s second trip to France.  She has previously spent about a year in France during which time she worked as an English Teacher Assistant in the beautiful city of Bordeaux.  Five years later, she had an itch to go back and have another great experience.

In September, Davida started researching different work or volunteer opportunities in France.  She came across La Giraudière online and found the project and experience to be interesting and very unique.  The flexibility of start dates, the affordable cost and the reviews of previous visitors were also very appealing.  After receiving more information from Paul, the coordinator, she decided to apply for the program.

Canadian in France

The old house at La Giraudière

This new volunteer departed on an Air France flight from Toronto on February 26, 2015 at 6:30 pm and touched down at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris after which she took a connecting flight to Bordeaux.  Although she arrived safely, her luggage did not.  Unfortunately, a luggage sorter broke down at Charles de Gaulle airport affecting the luggage of all flights between 5am and 1pm for terminal E and F and which resulted in many unhappy flyers.  Thank God for carry-on luggage that is well stocked.  Davida was only missing a few essential items which she was able to purchase upon her arrival.

Canadian in France Volunteers at La Giraudière

Despite the mishap, Davida is happy to be in France again.  The weather is certainly pleasant enough, leaving behind the -11°C of Toronto to meet a mild 11°C.  Soon after Paul welcomed her at the station and brought her to La Giraudière, they took a long walk around the village of Brossac where Davida was able to take in the lovely charm of the French countryside.

This Canadian in France is looking forward to helping Paul prepare to host a school group who will be visiting La Giraudière in April.  Stay tuned for more posts.

A semester Off to Experience French Culture

Leaving America for a new unique culture

Snow Storm Forces Boston International Airport to Close

Boston International Airport 2015

On Monday January 26th, New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) was expecting a colossal snow storm. Elizabeth Cattell, student who just finish high school weeks before was getting ready for her 3 month trip to France. Flying out of Logan International Airport in Boston at 8 pm seemed impossible. Luckily, for international flights, the airport would stay open till midnight. Fortunate? Yes I would say so. Avoir de la chance!

Finding La Giraudiere

Elizabeth_an_American_VolunteerMonths prior, her mother, found out about a volunteering program in France via internet. Accommodations, meals, transportation, French lessons, weekly market trips, excursions, and communities activities seemed like the perfect fit for an active and outgoing girl. With the benefits of volunteering, and helping the community applying was a must! 5 weeks seemed like the perfect amount of time, but after arriving she can see staying longer!

Arriving to a foreign country

Elizabeth has somewhat of an advantage coming to France, she received her dual citizenship at the age of 18. Her mother, Fabienne Cattell was born in France, and moved to America when she was 21 for school. Ever since Elizabeth was born, she traveled to France every 2 years to visit family. But this journey marks her first time traveling alone to a foreign country.

An experience of a lifetime

La Girauiere is open and ready for 2015! Elizabeth, being the first of 2015, will begin preparing the house for future volunteers. On the weekends, she departs with her family. Having Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays as work days, and Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Mondays as the weekends, she finds the perfect balance. Touring France has been an amazing learning experience. She has a very good base of French language, but hopes to become fluent after 3 months.

You to may be interested in volunteering, read more at Volunteering in France

Amanda Styles From UK volunteers at La Giraudiere

Project Coordinator Amanda Styles from UK volunteers at La Giraudiere

Amanda chose the second week in September 2014 to come and volunteer her time at La Giraudiere. Amanda main reason for volunteering was to be in the French country side in a real rural community, practice her French whilst contributing towards LG.

Amanda UK volunteer helps Bob with the cycles

Amanda keeping an watchful eye on Bob Canada as they both check and repair the bicycles at La Giraudiere

Amanda was selected for her IT skills and project management but it soon became apparent that Amanda could take on any tasks presented to her.

During her time at La Giraudiere Amanda help prepare for a Soiree Entente Cordiale whereby the mixtures of locals, French, Belge and British, could come along for an evening at La Giraudiere play some cards throw some darts or shoot some pool.

Volunteer-amanda_stylesUnfortunately, Amanda had to leave prior to the event evening but over 40 arrived and a great evening was had by all. Amanda also helped the other volunteers who were at LG during her time.

On the menu was Chilli con Carne with Rice followed by dessert both of which were prepared by the group.


“Amanda it was a shame you were only here for a week as you contributed so much during your week so a big thanks is due, have a great 2015 and hopefully see you back at La Giraudiere soon.” Paul – (Project manager and Vice president of the association.)

Nilou Davoudi Canadian Volunteer helps La Giraudiere

Nilou Davoudi Canadian Volunteer helps La Giraudiere

Volunteer from Canada

Nilou Canadian Volunteer September 2014

Nilou Davoudi from Calgary in Canada a program coordinator with the University of Calgary in Canada chose to volunteer at La Giraudiere in September 2014. Nilou arrived on the 1st of September and was here for a three week volunteers stay.

During Nilous stay she helped prepare for two events, the first was a community event for which an international group arrived yes French, British, Belgium and dutch were among the villagers that live in Brossac and were invited for a Soiree Cordial at La Giraudiere.

A darts and playing cards competition was held and the winners and runners up each won a trophy and a bottle of wine. Nilou was responsible for the bar and keeping the visitors supplied with French wine and beer that night and this was an ideal opportunity for Nilou to practice her French.

On the menu was Chilli Con Carne and Rice again Nilou helped in the preparation of the dinner. This was the first time that Nilou had traveled abroad on her own and for sure the first time she had volunteered abroad.

“A big thank you to Nilou without whom it would not have been

possible to hold these events.”


Queens University Undergraduate chooses La Giraudiere

Volunteering experience abroad

Queens University Undergraduate chooses La Giraudiere for his first volunteering abroad experience. A full time undergraduate music student who was in his second year at Queens University decided to volunteer at La Giraudiere during the summer of 2014.

Salwan Queens University Undergraduate

Salwan Cartwright-Shamoon had never worked in the construction or gardening and never used a washing machine. Sal had to cook for a group of 8, during his term, again a total new experience for Sal.  Sal grasped all the challenges that La Giraudiere had to offer and surpassed all the expectations of myself and the group.

Thank you Sal for choosing La Giraudiere and contributing in the way that you only know it was great living and working with you for sure three weeks I will always remember and thanks again for the testimonial and looking forward to seeing you back here for Christmas 2015.

Bastille day work group

Salwan with other Volunteers from La Giraudiere and the local village of Brossac helped the local community prepare for Bastille Day celebrations – Sal is on the far left.

You can read Salwans testimonial by visiting Salwans Testimonial

Christmas in France

Christmas and markets in France

La Giraudiere together with volunteers is going to put together a Christmas to remember. The Christmas in France program started last year when La Giraudiere held a Christmas market followed by a Christmas day Dinner.

Well this year the Christmas Market is a little earlier than last year as the dates will be the weekend of the 29th and the 30th of November. You can read further info about the market at Christmas Market in France The market will be run by the association “Les Amis De La Giraudiere” If you would like to come and help with the market please do so and contact us via our website.

Christmas France market

Christmas market at La Giraudiere 2013

Christmas in France at La Giraudiere this year will be a Christmas day dinner on the 25th of December followed by a new years celebration on the 31st of December which will take us into the 1st of January 2015.

If you would like to come and volunteer and help make the perfect Christmas yes a Christmas in France to remember then visit Christmas In France for further information of how you can volunteer in France for Christmas for as little as 18 euros per day all in.

So do not put up with the same old Christmas come and help us make you the perfect Christmas.

Colin and Marlene volunteering testimonial

Volunteering Testimonial

Volunteering testimonial – Reflections of La Giraudiere from a UK couple.

A Big thank you to Marlene and Colin from the UK for choosing to volunteer at La Giraudiere and become part of the summer 2014 group. Thank you for all that you did whilst you was here, you worked well together and with the group you were a pleasure to have about the house and you soon made it your home. When ever anyone needed some help you were first there.

You were supposed to arrive as volunteers in 2013 but due to unforeseen circumstances had to cancel, well I am so glad you did not cancel altogether and that you actually postponed your trip to arrive in 2014. Miss you both and hopefully you return one day to your new French home in Brossac.

Volunteers testimonial to play piano

La Giraurdiere volunteers Marlene and Colin accompanies Sal on the piano at Bordeaux station.

“Colin and Marlene had just celebrated our 20th Wedding anniversary when they reflected back on their three week volunteering experience at La Giraudiere this summer. They sent me their reflections in the form of a testimonial and they go on to say “The experience stands out for many reasons, We have had the opportunity to experience the French way of life first hand….” you can read their full testimonial by visiting French volunteering experience

La Giraudiere receives many testimonials and letters of thanks you can see a collection of Volunteers testimonials by visiting VOLUNTEERS TESTIMONIALS

Christmas Volunteering France

Christmas Volunteering France

This year as just flown by,, it seems only a while ago I was blogging about last Christmas volunteering France and here we are with just over 9 weeks to go until Christmas arrives yet again.

If you are facing the same old Christmas and not really relishing the thought of it, then maybe a change would do you good.

Last Christmas La Giraudiere opened it’s doors to Christmas volunteers for the first time, and I have to say it was a lot of work organising the events, but a great success especially as regards people having memories of a Christmas that will last for a long time.

This year, as last, the Christmas page of the website is displaying the Christmas publicity inviting volunteers to sign up you can see it at Christmas-Volunteering-in-France it also says about the plans for this Christmas the Christmas Market, the Carol service, Christmas Day dinner and new years celebrations.

You might be interested to see how thing went last year,  2013, what work was there to do for the Christmas market and how did everyone contribute towards the Market.  Check out a picture video produced by one of last years volunteers on youtube

So think you could help this year?  Like to be printing the publicity, driving around and placing the publicity for everyone to see or distributing the flyers at other markets and fetes.

Last year there were 4 international volunteers from Ireland, UK, Singapore and Canada who joined up with the local volunteers to produce a great team. Who knows where they will come from this year but for sure it will be a very merry Christmas at La Giraudiere.

Christmas volunteering France lightsSo do not miss out get your application for a place in now visit the Christmas page for info and link to apply at Christmas In France

Looking forward to seeing you at La Giraudiere

About Us ~ New About La Giraudiere page published

About Us – About La Giraudiere

A new web page titled About Us as been published upon the website, The new web page explains what La Giraudiere is about and what it offers its programs, internships and other traineeships. It goes onto explain how the internship programs are designed to bridge that gap between studying and taking on a real work position.

The volunteers program was how La Giraudiere became established as a global project open to all. It too is mentioned and how it encourages all no matter what greed or race, what age or background you can come along and help and in doing so benefit from a stay in France at a price unknown before.

2015 will see the return of a school group from the USA so our “about us” page gives mention to the fact that one of our principle goals is the welcoming of Schools and University groups.

All the programs  at La Giraudiere are described in brief and how they provide a unique learning experience, which with French language lessons for non French speakers and the English language program for French speakers  reinforces our commitment to encompass all.

The page mentions our Code of Conduct which all applicants have to agree to abide to before being accepted onto the programs.

As a non-profit organisation the La Giraudiere association, Les Amis De La Giraudiere, is in place to not only help our project but also the other associations within the village of Brossac. Weather you be here on an internship or as a volunteer you will be encouraged to get involved and become immersed in French rural life and sample “La vie association” Francais.

The about La Giraudiere page finished by stating “La Giraudiere is well established in the village life of Brossac and yet remains international in its operations and scope. This mixture of Local French life and international outlook provides a place for cultural understanding with a unique French experience”.

Which for those of you that have participated will know only to well. Take time to visit and bookmark our new About La Giraudiere  page

About Us about La Giraudiere learning logo

La Giraudiere Logo