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

Nilou Begins Working Holiday at La Giraudiere

Calgarian Nilou Davoudi Arrives At La Giraudiere to Jump Start Her Working Holiday Experience 

I first came to France when I was 16 to visit family in Normandy. Instantly I was in love with France and everything French – from the language and culture to the bread, cheese and wine to the kind, proud people who smile easily. Ten years later and I came back again with my husband to visit. The love I had for France was still very strong. So, I quit my cubicle job, left my wonderful husband, friends and family behind for a working holiday year in France.  I decided to come to France to improve my French, learn more about the culture and learn more about myself as a person too.

Heavy snow blankets the city of Calgary AB Canada on Tuesday September 9th 2014 (Ted Rhodes/Calgary Herald)

The day I left my hometown Calgary, Alberta, Canada, there was still snow on the ground and the weather was bone chillingly cold. No this wasn’t the middle of winter – it was mid September. After a long flight from Calgary to Amsterdam, another flight from Amsterdam to Bordeaux, a short bus ride, a train ride and a car ride, I finally made it to La Giraudiere – exhausted but thrilled to be there. I had seen several photos of LG before I arrived but the photos do it no justice. This place is absolutely breathtaking. I chose La Giraudiere to help me transition into my working holiday year. I had never been to southern France so this was a great opportunity to not only see the sights but also immerse myself fully into the language and culture.

Working Holiday in France at La Giraudiere

Working Holiday at La Giraudiere in beautiful south west France (http://www.lagiraudiere.com/)


So far I have been here for a couple of days and I am living the life! The views are stunning, the weather is a dream come true, Brossac (the village) is like a postcard and the food is to die for. The other volunteers here are fantastic and Paul and his adorable dog (Sidney) are the best hosts you can ask for. I feel right at home! I am hoping that my time at La Giraudiere will give me the confidence I need to begin a year working and living in France.

Everything here has been better than I would have ever expected and I am very grateful and glad I found La Giraudiere!

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Student ends his year in France volunteering at La Giraudière

Student, Matthew Harrison, ends his year in France volunteering at La Giraudière

Matthew Harrison year in France

Matthew ends year in France at LG

After spending a year in France at Toulouse University, physics student Matthew decided to spend his last four weeks in France at La Giraudière in June and July of this year.

He proved to be a very handy odd job man; and at well over six feet tall, there was no need for a step ladder! During his stay he helped with the gardening, painting, insulating, tidying, cooking and any other bits and bobs that needed doing around the house.

A regular at the local Pétanque and weekly music concerts in the village, Matthew relished the opportunity to mix with the locals.

He has a very high standard of French which stood him in good stead for his year in France studying Physics at Toulouse University. Thanks to his high standard of French he was even able to contribute towards the lessons at La Giraudière and was impressed the quality of teaching.

Now back in his home town of Hull, the LG team wish Matthew all the best in whatever he does next. Thanks for all your help Matthew, and we hope to see you back here again very soon!

This is Matthew’s testimonial  of his time at La Giraudière.

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Volunteer Leo says goodbye to La Giraudière before returning to Hong Kong after his Working Holiday

Leo and Jenny visit La Giraudière

Leo and Jenny visit La Giraudière

On Saturday La Giraudière was thrilled to welcome back one of its previous volunteers when Leo and his girlfriend Jenny popped in to see us. Leo spent three weeks here in January at the beginning of his French working holiday, and he came to say goodbye over the weekend before going home to Hong Kong.

Under the France and Hong Kong Working Holiday Scheme, Leo was able to spend up to one year as an employee in France. As we enjoyed lunch in the garden, he filled us in on his time in France and other various places all over Europe. He maintained, however, how glad he was that he started his European adventure here at La Giraudière. It acted as a base for him, he said; and gave him the opportunity to gain confidence in the language and culture before setting off to find work. In between landscaping and gardening, repairing wood burners, painting and other general maintenance tasks at LG, Leo spent his weekends exploring the area; and by the end of his three week stay he’d found a job at a restaurant in Bordeaux. He then went on to find work in Marseille, before spending the last two months of his trip travelling Europe with Jenny.

Playing around with the 'Selfie Stick'

Playing around with the ‘Selfie Stick’

After a lovely lunch in LG’s garden, we had the chance to play around with the couple’s ‘selfie stick’, an Asian phenomenon that’s about to take Europe by storm! Paul then took Leo and Jenny to the market in Tatre, where they enjoyed some fresh French oysters. It was then time to say our au revoirs, and to wish them well on their last week in France before their return.

Thanks for coming to see us Leo and Jenny! As Paul said, it really makes his work here worthwhile.

Leo, Jenny and Paul after lunch

Leo, Paul and Jenny after lunch

To learn more about the France and Hong Kong Working Holiday Scheme, visit http://www.consulfrance-hongkong.org/Working-holiday-visa

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Written by Elain Jones, a student from Wales volunteering at La Giraudière

Les événements de La Giraudière en 2014:

Les événements de La Giraudière en 2014:

Le calendrier des événements prévus à La Giraudière pendant la dernière partie de 2014 sont désormais disponibles sur le site de l’association.

Le premier événement se déroule le 24 septembre, une “Soirée pour les Brossacais de rencontre la communauté internationale de Brossac;” Le but est de mélanger tous les nationalités de Brossac et pour les expatriés différents de venir rencontre les autres et la communauté locale. Il y aura un turnoi des flechettes avec des prix à gagner, ainsi que plein d’autres activités. Le prix pour les joueurs est 14€ et 9€ pour les non-joueurs, qui comprend le repas et le dessert.

En octobre quand les nuits commencent à tomber plus tôt…il n’y a rien mieux qu’une soirée internationale pour vous éloigner de la télé! On propose la “Soireé Allemande,” avec le schnizel accompagné de la bière bavaroise traditionnelle et du vin allemand. Le prix est 11€, y compris le schnizel et frites, un quart du vin allemand ou un demi-litre de la bière bavaroise.

Le 8 novembre sera temps d’encore brûler le pauvre Guy Fawkes, donc un grand feu et un ragoût chaleureux vous attend à La Giraudière: “Guy Fawkes Night;” Le prix est 12€, y compris un apéritif de punch, un bon bol de ragoût irlandais et un quart de vin.

Le marché de Noël à La Giraudière, Brossac: Notez que les dates du marché ont changées. Le marché reste un événement de 2 jours, mais aura désormais lieu le dernier week-end de novembre, le 29 et 30. Il y aura aussi un repas pendant la soirée de 29, un dîner du marché de Noël à 19.30.

Les détails complets de ces événements et les autres prévus sont disponibles sur http://association.lagiraudiere.com/

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Le calendrier des événements à La Giraudière

La page web des événements de l’association

Events at La Giraudière 2014:

Events at La Giraudière 2014:

The calendar of events planned at La Giraudière for the final part of 2014 are now published and live upon the website of the association.

The first event planned is on the 24th of September, named “Soirée pour les Brossacais de rencontre la communauté internationale de Brossac;” The goal here is for the different expats and nationalities of Brossac to come along and meet other expats and the local community. There will be a darts knock out with prizes plus other activities planned for the evening. The price will be 14€ for players and 9€ for non-players, which will include dinner and dessert. Reserve now as places are limited.

October and the evenings are drawing in…what better way to pull you away from the tv than an event with an international flavour? “Soireé Allemande — A German night with Schnitzel served with traditional Bavarian beer and German wines.” The price for the Soireé Allemande is 11€ and includes your Schnitzel and frites and a quarter of German wine or half a litre of Bavarian beer.

November 8th and it is time to burn poor old Guy Fawkes yet again, so a warming open air fire and stew awaits you at La Giraudière: “Guy Fawkes Night;” The price is 12€ and includes a warming punch aperitif, a hearty bowl of Irish stew and a quarter of wine.

Marché de Noël à La Giraudière Brossac: Note that the Christmas market dates have changed. The market remains a 2 day event, but will now be held on the last weekend of November, the 29th and the 30th. There is also a dinner planned for the evening of the 29th. Dîner du Marché de Noël – 19.30.

You can see fuller details of these events and others planned by visiting http://association.lagiraudiere.com/

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Calendar of Events at La Giraudière

Association events web page