Two Volunteers Take a Day Trip to Angouleme

Two Volunteers Take a Day Trip to Angouleme

On Saturday, two of the volunteers decided to venture out of Brossac and explore the nearby city of Angouleme. The morning started relatively early with Paul taking the two girls to Chalais train station, just in time to catch the 8:00 am train.
Upon reaching Angouleme, the volunteers followed the directions to the ‘centre ville’, climbing further up the town’s landscape. Like most day’s out, the first stop was the tourist office, where the volunteers decided on the selection of museums and sites for the day. From here, we headed straight to the food market, looking at the range of jams, cheeses and wines of the region, whilst practicing their little knowledge of French with the locals. The rest of the morning was spent exploring the rest of the town, hiking up the ‘jardin vert’ and having a stroll by the river.

Angouleme Jardin Vert

Angouleme Jardin Vert

By the time we sat down for lunch, we were exhausted from all the walking. We quickly replenished with bread, burgers and salads before setting off again to the various churches and cathedrals of Angouleme. The historic architecture of the buildings was beautifully inspiring, whilst giving an insight into the religious heritage of the town. By the time we had finished in the churches, the museums had just opened. Us girls began at the museum of Angouleme, which celebrates the prehistoric findings, Sub Saharan remnants and the archived paintings of the town. The last stop on the list was, of course, the comic strip museum. Angouleme is a city dedicated to ‘la bande dessinée’, with comic images and recognizable characters scattered across the walls of the town center. Here, the festival of comics takes place each January, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors to witness the city’s art. Although our visit didn’t come in time for the festival, the displays at the museum were enough for us to embrace this part of the region’s culture, allowing us to admire the different artist styles and funny stories of the comics.

Angouleme Museum Cathedrale

Angouleme Museum Cathedrale

Inside an Angouleme Cathedrale

Inside an Angouleme Cathedrale

Overall, our day trip was very enjoyable and with lots to do in Angouleme, both us volunteers would recommend visiting the town during your stay at La Giraudière.

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Volunteers’ Day Out to La Rochelle

Volunteers’ Day Out to La Rochelle and its Ports

This past Thursday, despite typically being a work day, Paul decided to take the volunteers for a day out to La Rochelle, making the most of the sun and the warm weather. It was an early start to the day, with Paul and all the volunteers leaving La Giraudière by 8:00 am in order to maximise the time spent at the beautiful and historic city. Before arriving at La Rochelle, we made a stop on the way at the town of Pons for breakfast, enjoying the range of coffees and croissants that the café had to offer.
Upon reaching the seaside town, the volunteers began by walking around the different shops and market stalls, before sitting down for our next meal at a restaurant overlooking the old harbour. As La Rochelle is a coastal city, it is not surprising that lunch consisted largely of fish soups and calamari, with the volunteers making the most of the region’s maritime tradition.

 

La Rochelle Port

La Rochelle Port Minimes

After having appreciated the picturesque views and fresh food of the city, it was now time for the volunteers to split up and explore the specific sites and museums that interested them the most. Some chose to spend this time shopping for family and friends (and themselves) in the artisan shops, whilst others chose to immerse themselves in the history of La Rochelle, visiting the WWII German Bunker situated under the town. However the day was spent, the culture and heritage of the city was recognized and admired by all.
As the volunteers’ day out drew to a close, the tide had fortunately risen, allowing us all to experience the beautiful Renaissance architecture of the 17th century city from the boat bus, taking us back to the car park. After a day of sight-seeing and shopping, all the volunteers were definitely grateful to have a rest from all the walking.

Boat Bus at La Rochelle

Boat Bus at La Rochelle

However the day wasn’t over just yet. On our return journey home, Paul and the volunteers took a stop at Routiers, a truckers restaurant. Here, we all enjoyed plenty of bread, wine and desserts alongside the help-yourself-style buffet. The food was delicious and just what we needed after a tiring, activity-packed day.

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A Volunteer’s Story

When I first arrived at La Giraudiere, I wasn’t sure what to think, as this was my first volunteering role. I had always stayed in hotels and this was nothing like that. La Giraudiere is like-minded people living together and working towards a common goal. With each passing day, I have enjoyed it more.

The atmosphere is very relaxed, and one can dress down easily as no one stands on ceremony.

Getting to know varying types of people from all walks of life is interesting and educational; we all become one big family, which makes for wonderful camaraderie. Also, saying bonjour to new volunteers and sadly au-revoir to others adds to the family atmosphere.

Having come along to La Giraudiere with a friend, I would like to add that I would very happily come alone and volunteer as everyone feels at home and welcomed straight away.

It becomes a pleasure to contribute to the project and help each other. My main role at La Giraudiere is working in the office and dealing with applications. Juggling the bookings can be quite challenging at times, but having retired as an Office Manager a few years ago, I loved coming into the office to work again, without the daily commute on the Tube, of course. I didn’t realize that I had missed it quite so much.

Jan at her application desk

Jan at her application desk

I have only visited the South of France and Paris; the French countryside seems very different and I find the people to be friendlier than I have previously experienced.

The area is littered with divine little French towns and further afield, the Dordogne area is very picturesque.

Whilst here I have already visited St. Emillion, nr Bordeaux, La Roque-Gageac, along the Drone River, the Lasceux Caves, and no doubt there will be a few more excursions before we return to London.

I’m really looking forward to our planned excursion to La Rochelle on the Charente coast line.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog about my time volunteering at La Giraudiere.

Merci beaucoup

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Volunteers at La Giraudière Sample French Cuisine

This past Sunday, Paul took a group of volunteers out to sample some authentic French cuisine. The meal was an eight course, 3-hour experience that everyone really enjoyed.  We went to the nearby village of Bardenac to Restaurant Poirier.  Restaurant Poirier serves traditional work man’s lunch during the week, but then on Sunday lunch, this family run restaurant serves some extravagant and fabulous French cuisine.

Restaurant Poirier

Restaurant Poirier

We all sat down at a cute table outside surrounded by beautiful flowers. 

Volunteers at Poirier

Volunteers at Poirier

Paul suggested we start our meal with an aperitif.  We tried Pineau, a traditional drink that only comes from this area of Charente.  The sweet drink comes in both red and white; our group sampled both.  It was perfect to wet our appetites.  Soon afterwards, the food began to arrive.  The meal started with a delicious homemade vegetable soup.  One of the volunteers, Jan, even tried the soup the traditional French way known as Chabrot; she poured in a little of her red wine with the soup and then sipped out of the side of the bowl.  Next we had a melon charcuterie course, a fish course, and then a meat course.  At this point we were all starting to get quite full.  Luckily, we had our dessert stomachs ready to eat the cheese course and the dessert course that followed.  

Homemade Vegetable Soup

Homemade Vegetable Soup

The vegetable soup was creamy and perfect for dipping our bread in!

Salad Course

Melon Charcuterie

The melon charcuterie featured fresh juicy melon, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella with tomatoes, and foie gras.

Meat Course

Meat Course

The perfectly cooked medium rare steaks were served with yummy mushrooms, and potato quiche.

Cheese Course

Cheese Course

The cheese course came with a wonderful variety of cheeses that we all loved sampling.

Dessert Course

Dessert Course

The dessert had fresh strawberries, creamy ice cream and was topped with whipped cream.

We hope you enjoyed looking at the photos of this wonderful meal!  We are all so grateful to have tried this delicious French cuisine.

 

 

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A Day in La Rochelle

This past weekend we, the volunteers took a day trip in La Rochelle. This beautiful city is right next to the atlantic ocean and the sun was kind enough to stay shining all day as we explored all the gems La Rochelle had to offer. Some found a Brocante, the French word for Flea Market, others jumped from cafe to shop looking around, and some enjoyed the beautiful architecture and history of this city. Frances visited the Bunker where the Germans kept submarines during the second world war. Paul went museum hopping and found that the numerous choices could keep him occupied for several more days!

Architecture in La Rochelle

Architecture in La Rochelle

Our lunch consisted of mussels, bread, pasta, salad, more mussels, and more bread! It was a superb meal that kept us energetic throughout the rest of the day. When it was nearing the end of our excursion, everyone met at the boat bus that carried us back to where we parked. We were all sad to leave but the beautiful memories and photos are something we will always cherish.

A Meal of Mussels

A Meal of Mussels

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