French and History in the heartland of France
Intermediate or Advanced French proficiency is recommended to successfully follow on-site descriptions.
This course is designed for those who want to strengthen their French but also explore the Loire’s heritage by touring historical monuments such as churches, castles, abbeys and museums.
This course is the perfect opportunity to beat the summer heat by spending time in the natural coolness of the region’s thick-walled stone buildings.
Additional purchases of regional products can be made on-site.
All language classes are taught by professional, native French speaking tutors and group classes have a maximum of 6 per class.
During the afternoon, participants will be taken to different architectural sites with a staff member for a tour led by professional guides. All visits will be held in French but we will organize a discreet translation if necessary.
Also included in the week, A Wine tasting at Domaine Jean-Marie VIAL in Saint-André d’Apchon!
Testimonials about French and History
In the French and History course, we spent our mornings in helpful classroom instruction that was tailored to our level. Our afternoons were filled with excursions to chateaux, medieval villages, wineries, and other locations that allowed us to explore the rich history and culture of the region. These excursions demonstrated just how rich the history and culture are!
What’s more, while listening to the guides and docents on our excursions, we were practicing our French comprehension skills and expanding our vocabulary. The guides knew that we were French language students, and so they spoke clearly (and perhaps a bit more slowly than normal) for our benefit and were happy to answer any questions that we asked.
Overall, the French and History course was a fantastic experience, and I would highly recommend it.
Tricia (Dallas, TX)
If you want to get a better feel for the region I highly recommend the historical visits. During the week this included trips to two chateaux, a vineyard and a charming medieval town. Our teacher, Vincent, provided useful background information for each afternoon trip. The local guides were super-knowledgeable and happy to field our many questions.
In short —Great fun!
Leanna (Arlington, VA)
Les visites historiques sont un bon complément du programme de l'école. On visite non seulement des château mais aussi des villages historiques de la région. Les visites sont guidées par des bénévoles locaux qui racontent vivement non seulement les dates historiques mais aussi les petites histoires de la vie quotidienne d'autrefois. Avant chaque visite, on recoit des informations par écrit préparées par Vincent.
Renate et Thomas (Düsseldorf, Germany)
I just spent two weeks at Ecole des Trois Ponts (my favorite place in the world!!! REALLY). The first week was a history week which included excursions during four of the five afternoons (of course the mornings are spent working on French) to neighboring towns that had really interesting chateaux and museums. Vincent was the leader and in many places he had arranged for special tours given by guides who we able to give us many details that are usually not mentioned in guide books. These people had such passion for the places they talk about. It was truly special. My favorite day was the visit to Chateau de Drée and in particular I loved the "petite folie" building. It was like actually being in a fairytale, and we were walking around in it. I can't get it out of my mind and I find myself just sitting and thinking about life in the chateau when it was built.
If you are lucky enough to go to Ecole des Trois Ponts, don't miss the history week.
Clare (NY City)
I signed up for this week because it sounded different and because I enjoyed one of the Wenesday afternoon ‘outing’ with Vincent a couple of years ealier. I was not disappointed. The historical visites were all interesting, it was nice to vist little villages in the area and nice to spend the time out of doors. It was good practice to have to concentrate hard listening to a guide on a tour of a château. In the school, Valérie and Vincent speak very clearly and I am sure they talk more slowly than usual even to the most accomplished among us. I leaned some new vocabulary (l’ouaille, la poutre, le cloître, tous utiles si je serai jamais réincarnée dans la quinzième siècle). There was just time between the end of lunch and the departure from the school to do the homework for the class the next morning. I would thoroughly recommend the French history week.
Mon-Fri 9:15am-12:15pm (group French class) + 4 afternoon visits on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday *
Monday : Visit of Château de Drée in Curbigny (Saône et Loire) and La Clayette.
Visit the Château de Drée and step into the world of the noble families of the 18th century. Take a leisurely stroll in the gardens à la française.
La Clayette is a lovely town whose centerpiece is a small lake surrounding the castle Château de La Clayette, a true delight for those who love old stone architecture.
Tuesday : Visit of Le Crozet Folk Museum (Art and Popular Traditions) and Le Crozet medieval village.
Walk through this picturesque village with its winding alleys, lovely courtyards, medieval & Renaissance buildings and 12th century donjon tower. Climb to the top of the tower for impressive views of the surrounding countryside.
Housed in a 16th century building, the museum features items found in the workshops of blacksmiths and cobblers, a typical interior of a townsperson’s home from yesteryear, old looms, and a regional & archeological library.
Thursday : Visit of Château de la Roche and the charming village of Saint-Symphorien-de-Lay.
Anchored on a rocky outcropping since the 13th century, the Château de la Roche is the emblematic monument of the Loire gorges because of its improbable and scenic location in the Loire River.
Saint-Symphorien-de-Lay is a charming village on the western flank of the Beaujolais hills noted for its gourmet food artisans and 19th century buildings.
Friday : Visit of the Cistercian Abbey La Benisson Dieu and Wine tasting at Domaine Jean Marie Vial in St André d’Apchon.
The Cistercian Abbey was founded in 1138 under the name of Notre Dame de la Bénédiction de Dieu. The abbey is renowned in the region for its colorful tiled roof.
Independent winemaker Jean Marie Vial grows, vinifies and sells a variety of wines: reds, whites, rosé, and sparkling. Jean Marie welcomes guests with open arms and is happy to share his passion for winemaking, inviting you to tempt your taste buds with the diversity of the local Gamay grape, as well as Chardonnay and Viognier bottlings.
*Last minute changes can occur depending on opening hours and time of the year
2021 Prices for French and Gourmet Excursions
|Shared Room on-site||€1.420 (€150) / extra week of General French €1.070|
|Single Room on-site||€1.570 (€150) / extra week of General French €1.220|
|Room off-site||€1.120 (€150) / extra week of General French €990|
Take a look at the producers’ websites for more complete information on their products