Fun for Volunteers in France

Last weekend was full of fun for volunteers in France, nevermind in Brossac, who explored French culture through numerous exciting excursions. Super génial!

Fun for Volunteers in France : Friday

Despite the great weather, it is not always easy being one of the Volunteers in France but the numerous excursions offered to the volunteers in Brossac keep them motivated and happy. La Giraudière gets the balance between life and work right! After Friday morning French lessons and a hearty lunch, the volunteers at La Giraudière went to Aubeterre-sur-Drone for a bit of sightseeing. They were certainly amazed by the beautiful old town that was full of vibrant colour and interesting local shops. Paul walked them around the town and highlighted the best things to see and do. During this tour, he even snuck them into a church wedding.

Fun for volunteers in France included these beautiful flowers
Tree outside of house in Aubeterre

And the highlight for the volunteers?

For the volunteers, the main highlight was the monolithic and subterranean church of St Jean. None of the volunteers had seen a church like this before! It cost only three euros with the student discount which they got thanks to Paul’s involvement. The first thing they noticed when they entered the church was the cold and dampness of the room and then as their eyes adjusted to its dimly lit interior, they looked up and were stunned into silence. The room was immense with towering, solid limestone walls. They then noticed small openings in the walls of the stairs and the upper stories. They could see people peering out of the gaps and taking photos of the ‘miniutre’ people on the bottom level.

Fun for French volunteers included looking up at towering limestone walls of church
Subterranean Church of St Jean

Included in the price of the church visit were audio guides. This helped them a lot as they were an international group with a variety of languages. As a result, we walked around at our own pace without any pressure or stress that often comes with guided tours.

Get more information about the church of St Jean on the Aubeterre sur Drone website.

After all their sightseeing, the ravenous volunteers went to a restaurant in Chalais. The group sat outside as it was a warm evening and sampled French dishes, confit de canard and soufflé for example. They also drank French wine and a few had an after dinner digestive.


On Saturday evening, the volunteers went to a night market. It was packed with people and there were so many different options of things to eat. Sweet and savoury and all local, of course. One of the volunteers bought some snails. As for the rest of them, they decided to stop in a nearby restaurant where they had traditional French dishes, such as beef entrecôte. After they finished there, they watched a flamenco dancing performance while eating ice-cream from one of the local sellers. After all the excitement and some dance moves from Paul, the exhausted and happy group went home.

Fun for Volunteers in France : Sunday

The volunteers and Paul went on a lovely drive on Sunday. They started off the day by going to a brocante in Berneuil. Paul told the volunteers that often people come with all their items from different countries and travel all over France and even Europe, from one Brocante to another. As a result, the brocante had a very international and exciting feel to it. The volunteers had no idea what item they would see next.

Church at Berneuil was fun for french volunteers
Church at Berneuil

After the Brocante, the group decided to go to Jarnac. When they arrived, they parked close to the river which runs through the central part of the town. As they walked from the car and got to the river, they saw a beautiful big gate which gave entrance to a green space. The gate overlooked the water and the vibrant flowers surrounding the entrance cast their relfection on its watery surface.

View from bridge at Jarnac
River at Jarnac – view from bridge

The group crossed over the river and continued to walk along its banks and into the town. They were amazed to see old water wheels still in between buildings. There were not many people around as it was a Sunday. However, the group found one bar open so they got some drinks. After a few hours of relaxing and walking around the pretty town, they went home so they could prepare for the new week ahead and new arrivals.

Courvoisier building in Jarnac
Courvoisier building in Jarnac

Find out more about Jarnac on their website.

There is lots of fun for volunteers in France. Read more about different experiences had by volunteers on our blog.

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Excursion for Volunteers

There is always an opportunity for an Excursion for Volunteers at La Giraudière and on Wednesday, the 31st of August, La Giraudière’s volunteers went on an excusion to Talmont and Royan which ended with a three course meal.

Russian Volunteer Looks out Car Window on Excursion for Volunteers
Vladimir enjoys car journey

There was an excursion for volunteers at La Giraudière last week. The volunteers woke up excited to learn more about French culture and their surrounding areas. They set off on the excursion at 9am, falling asleep to the drone of the radio and the warmth of the morning sun. Thankfully, a quick stop for coffee soon cured any tiredness.

The Excursion for Volunteers started with Talmont

The first stop was Talmont – one of the plus beaux villages de France. As the town is pedestrianised, they parked the car near and then walked on in. The volunteers remarked on its beautiful narrow streets and vibrant flowers. It might be worth mentioning, the hollyhock flower is its most popular.

Seaside View of Talmont Coastline on Excursion for Volunteers
View from Talmont

In particular, the Church of St Radegonde impressed the volunteers with its romanesque appearance. Interestingly, it once served as a resting place for the Pilgrimage of Saint James of Compostela. After their sightseeing, they then had coffees in a nearby cafe. They took one last gander around the town before heading back to the car.

Romanesque church in Talmont on Excursion for Volunteers
Church of St Radegonde in Talmont

The excursion had its second stop at Royan

The volunteer’s second stop was Royan, a popular resort town with five beaches and a port filled with boats! Unfortunately, everyone forgot their swimsuits. But they, of course, made the most of the situation by walking along the coastal roads and taking in the views. After the walk, they then treated themselves to some ice-cream and observed the town’s bustling atmosphere.

Watersports at Royan Beach on Excursion for Volunteers
Beach at Royan

The third and final stop of the Excursion for Volunteers was dinner

The volunteers then stopped for dinner at a popular trucker rest point where there were great prices and tasty food. 1 euro for two glasses of wine, for instance! However, the group were soon tired so they headed home and settled down for a good night’s sleep.

Read about the volunteer’s excursion to Narbonne here.

Interested in volunteering? Find out more here.

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Irish Intern Chooses France

Sarah, from Wexford in Ireland, decided to take up an internship in France after graduating from Trinity College Dublin.

Internship in France for student from Ireland.

Sarah chose France for her first internship as she has an interest in all things French, she recently completed her French degree and will be going on to do a masters in advertising. Consequently, in addition to improving her French, she will be interning at La Giraudière for one month to see how the working world functions regarding marketing for a non profit organisation.

Sarah discovered La Giraudière while searching the internet for internships which included French lessons. La Giraudière’s internship page promised an unique learning experience with opportunities to acquire new skills. Most importantly, as a recent graduate, it seemed ideal to get practical working experience.

Sarah flew with Aer Lingus from Dublin to Bordeaux. From the airport, she took the public bus to the train station. She gazed out the window and marvelled at the thriving city. During the train journey, she remarked on how beautiful the lanscape of the region, Nouvelle Aquitaine was. After arriving at Chalais train station, Paul met Sarah and brought her to La Giraudière where she met the other volunteers – a Spaniard, a Portuguese and a Russian. They shared dinner made by the Russian, Vladimir and spoke about daily life and duties at the house.

Many students from Ireland have chosen La Giraudiere for their French experience. Read about Mark’s experience volunteering at La Giraudiere here.

Interested in volunteering? Find out more here.

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Volunteers Explore Narbonne

New month, new adventures! After exploring Angoulême, La Giraudière’s volunteers went to explore Narbonne a new region in France. From 17th to 21st June, the volunteers took part at the “Welcome Seminar” in Narbonne, Occitane region.

Volunteers explore Narbonne Old Town
Narbonne Old Town

Explore Narbonne

This seminar is part of the Erasmus+ program and more than 30 youngsters from 15 countries participated in different team building activities, language games and challenges to discover and explore Narbonne!

All the international volunteers from different regions in France explore Narbonne
The international volunteers from different projects in France

The “Welcome Seminar” leaders aimed at helping the volunteers to set their own goals for their projects that they are working on, taught non-formal methodologies to learn French, introduced tools that will support the daily work of the volunteer’s project, answered questions, gave tips about how to explore France and asked about how the projects are going so far.

The seminar and activities were based on non-formal education methodology which is included in the European Union’s 2020 strategy and is valued as a “strong contributor to young people’s access to education, training and working life”. The EU considers that the combination with other forms of teaching and education contributes to enhancing the skills needed such as teamwork and interpersonal relationships.

Volunteers in Narbonne exploring problem solving
Problem solving workshop

During this week, the volunteers also shared experiences by presenting the different projects they are working on, participated in important sessions and workshops of different themes as emotional intelligence and problem-solving, important topics to consider when you are abroad.

Although they worked a lot, they also had the opportunity to make friends and have a lot of fun and the olunteers explores narbonne.

Narbonne Beaches

Volunteers explore Narbonne Beaches
Narbonne Beach

Check it out the must things to do in Narbonne according to our volunteers:
–  Visit the Cathedral
– Have a nice walk next to the channel
– Rent and drive a boat (license not required!)
– Take a picture in the big bench in the Cathedral garden and feel like a child again
– Visit the beaches next to the city and swim in the mediterranean sea
– Sing your favourite song in “Irish Pub O’brians” Wednesday karaoke night

If you are interested in joining the Erasmus group of volunteers at La Giraudière, you can read more about the Erasmus project at Erasmus Project in France or you can visit the International volunteer’s website at Volunteering in France.

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Volunteers hold an Open Day in La Giraudiere

On June 26th, La Giraudière held its open day. The purpose of the event was to discover all the hidden dimensions of entrepreneurship.

Since last May, the association Les Amis de la Giraudière is carrying out the project ”Recognizing Young Entrepreneurs and Teaching Entrepreneurship”. Funded by the European Commission, it gathers five students of different nationalities.

“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”

The open day began at 2 p.m. with the introduction of the concept of “entrepreneurship”. Hugo Müller, Erasmus student, presented social and commercial entrepreneurship. These two branches are the most important areas of the matter.

Afterwards, Paul Rice presented the project. His speech was related to schools and entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the discussion about improving education institutions was present too.

In fact, several media in the area reported on the event, with the assistance of Jean-Yves Delage from the Charente Libre newspaper and Joël Bideau from the Sud-Ouest. If you are interested in those articles, you can check them out here. The mayor of Brossac, Didier Maudet, was also present.

If you are interested in joining the Erasmus group of volunteers at La Giraudière, you can read more about the Erasmus project at Erasmus Project in France or you can visit the International volunteer’s website at Volunteering in France.

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