Have you ever dreamed of staying in a French château*? Of choosing produce from the marché* of a small French village in the morning and then cooking those ingredients into a delectable repas* a few hours later? Or taking part in a dégustation de vin* at a centuries-old winery in the Loire Valley? Or working up an appetite walking the ramparts of a fortified coastal city, then satiating it with a traditional lunch of a galette bretonne* washed down with cidre de pomme*?
With Lingua Franca’s inaugural trip to France in September/October of 2018, we are offering you the chance to turn these rêves en réalité*.
*The dream | *castle | *market | *meal | *wine tasting |*crêpe from Brittany | *apple cider | *dreams into reality
We’ll spend 14 days sur le terrain* in France, with three nights in Paris before heading off to the charming port town of Honfleur, Normandy, for a couple of days. From there, we’ll travel to Dinard, just across from St Malo via the magnificent Mont-Saint-Michel for a taste of Breton culture (and by taste we mean the exquisite local pâtisserie kouign-amman*) then off to our very own château in the heart of the Loire Valley, with its own island, lake, grounds and even a private chapelle*, just in case anyone is in the mood for a impromptu wedding or vow renewal.
*on the ground | *kouign-amman pastry | *chapel
With a combination of French lessons, French experiences and ample free time, we believe we’ve created an itinerary which will offer you the chance to improve your French, engage your senses, stimulate your mind and also offer you the chance for a real holiday. We’ve done all the organising for you: your job is just to come along and enjoy.
In one of the more ridiculous-sounding sentences I have ever written, the château we’ll be calling home for a week has only (!) eleven bedrooms, so numbers are strictly limited. In order to be fair, bookings will be taken on a first-come-first-served basis with payment of a $1500 deposit. This deposit will be fully refundable until 31st March 2018 just in case you won’t know your exact schedule until early next year but want to secure your spot.
Friends and family are very welcome of course, and if they speak French, all the better. Even if they don't, though, we're sure they'll still love the experience.
We know many of you may wish to extend your stay, so we have offered packages both with and without flights. We have managed to negotiate some flexible fares, so feel free to speak to us about alternative travel dates as we may be able to accommodate this without any supplementary charges.
We’d love to have you come along on our inaugural trip to France. It's going to be un voyage inoubliable*, and we hope you can make it. Merci* to everyone who has encouraged and supported us over the years to be able to finally offer this to you, our chouchous*.
Katrina and the Team at Lingua Franca.
*an unforgettable experience | *Thanks | *teacher’s pets
As we’re a small group, we’ve been able to choose charming, boutique hotels for our stay, culminating in the not-so-boutique 19th century Chateau Allure du Lac in Grez-Neuville, near Angers in the Loire Valley. This is an enormous property, set on 105 acres with its own lake and chapel and we will have exclusive use of it for a whole week. Breakfast at all our accommodation is included, and at the chateau it will be especially sumptuous, with pâtisseries cooked fresh on-site every morning. No need to set your alarm clock: the delicious smells wafting up from the galley will be your call down to le petit-déj*.
*pastries | *brekky
We have designed our itinerary with you, our discerning travellers, in mind. We’ve combined high-end, once-in-a-lifetime experiences with more simple ones, to give the trip balance and you the best of both worlds. We know you’re a well-traveled bunch, too, so we have left you plenty of free time to explore on your own. For example, in Paris we imagine you’ll have some personal favourites to (re)discover. Apart from a wine dégustation*, a casual dinner together, a guided tour of the Opéra Garnier followed by a lunch in the area and a visit to the low-key Musée de l’Orangerie, the rest of the time is for your own pursuits.
After three nights in Paris, we’ll head to Honfleur on the Normandy coast, with stops at Monet’s Garden at Giverny and then a small detour to Deauville for lunch and apéros*. Next on to Honfleur, the port town, which will be our home for the next two nights. Think seafood, the smell of salt in the air and time to stroll around discovering this most charmant* of villages.
Our next stop will be Dinard, with a side-trip to the iconic Mont St-Michel and a behind-the-scenes look at the factory of St James, the famed producer of the mariner t-shirt, rendered iconic by such well-known characters as Coco Chanel, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and John Galliano.
After two nights in Dinard, we’re off to our château in the Loire valley, but first, a stop for lunch and a wander in the exquisite town of Dinan (not to be confused with Dinard). Thoroughly won over by the village voted one of the most charming in the world, it’ll then be private transport to our base for the second week, the magnificent Château Allure du Lac near Angers in the Loire Valley.
We have organised a range of activities, such as a cruise on the Loire River, cooking class, market visits and winery tour but we have left a lot of time (at the recommendation of the owner, Susy) to fully appreciate the property. We're told once people arrive they are always very, very reluctant to leave, so we have planned plenty of down time for you to just soak up the ambiance*. There are board games to play, boats to row, abundant flora and fauna to appreciate, not to mention the sheer pleasure and indulgence of doing nothing in the most incredible surroundings. As an added bonus, Susy tells me guests are astounded how soundly they sleep at the château, so you’ll return to Brisbane well-rested and with a head and heart full of wonderful memories.
*tasting | *pre-dinner drinks | *charming | *atmosphere
We’ve arranged two packages: one with flights and one without for those who prefer to make their own arrangements, use points or upgrade to a different class of travel.
It is worth noting, though, that we have negotiated a really good deal with Emirates which means they are very flexible with alternative arrival and departure dates, so if you were thinking of extending your stay, talk to us first and we may well able to accommodate this without a price supplement.
We’ll be traveling on an Airbus A380 in economy class and our flight times are very civilised. We’re leaving Brisbane at 9pm on Wednesday 26th September, landing in Paris at 1:30pm on the following day. For the return journey, we’ll leave Paris at 9:50pm on Thursday 11th October and will have you back home safe and sound by 6:25am on Saturday 13th October.
If you wish to use frequent flyer points or upgrade, let us know and we can ask Emma, our travel agent, to provide you with a quote.
We have planned lessons throughout the trip, and we’ll keep them short and sweet as we’re aware you’ll want to maximise your time really putting your French to the test en vraie vie*. We’ll split the group according to level and lessons will focus on the day’s activities, arming you with the essential phrases and vocabulary to negotiate the experiences with a bit of élégance*. You may not notice your French improving that much on the trip as you’ll be fairly immersed, but we think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised upon your return to Australia to see how much your vocabulary and confidence has grown. Of course, we, as your companions, are always available to answer any ad-hoc questions you may have and if you wish for us to speak to you exclusively in French, we’d love to oblige, bien sûr*.
*in the real world | *flair | *of course
Your deposit of $1500 will secure your place on the trip. This deposit is refundable until the 31st March 2018 so if you want to come but do not have your 2018 schedule nailed down just yet, you can still claim your spot. Final payments will be due on the 14th July 2018.
- Return economy-class airfares Brisbane/Paris/Brisbane*
- All accomodation
- All activities
- All transfers
- All lessons
- All breakfasts
- Lunch or dinner (occasionally both) each day**
*For flight package. Package ex-flights includes all of the above minus the flights.
**see itinerary below
- Travel insurance (mandatory)
- Some meals*
- Incidental expenses
*see itinerary below
We’ve provided a provisional itinerary to give you a really good idea of what we’ll be doing. This is subject to change but the dates and destinations and most activities should not change, just little things here and there if we find something we think you’ll like even better closer to the departure date..
Please read our terms and conditions before paying your deposit. They are fair and reasonable and there shouldn’t be any surprises, but please do read them quickly before you commit to make sure you’re happy with them.