January 2019 Newsletter

Learn French with an intensive, friendly language course in the Lot & Dordogne area of France!
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Giles at the school
Welcome to the French Residential newsletter, with language tips, news from the school and some of what's happening in Gourdon... Enjoy your read!

Giles Murray
Reading French
Reading tip: Get French news articles delivered directly into your feed on Facebook and Twitter by liking French news pages. Videos are often embedded into the posts, so you get a bite-sized listening excercise into the bargain!
On Facebook: Le Figaro ; Le Monde ; Le Parisien
On Twitter: Le Figaro ; Le Monde ; Le Parisien
News from the school...
This month were are launching into a big reorganization and repaint of the school, before the first courses begin in March. Weather permitting, the school will get a total refresh, inside and out. It is important to us that we welcome you ino a clean, organized and comfortable environment, so that your focus can be on improving your French!
It's never been easier to get to the school! With more low-cost flights serving the airports within easy reach of Gourdon and new routes opening up all the time, we've completely refreshed the travel information on our website. Check out our comprehensive explanation of how to get here.
Listening to French
Listening tip: Make the most of free audio books available to stream and download. Loyal Books currently has 117 free French audio books on its site. These are largely French literature classics found in the public domain, so you can also follow the written text at the same time as listening.
What's new in Gourdon...
Throughout 2019, the town of Gourdon-en-Quercy will be commemorating the 400-year anniversary of the destruction of its castle, with a series of special events. In addition, a book telling the story has just been published, using evidence from the town's extensive archives. "1619, Gourdon en Quercy : le château disparu" is available in the local bookshops or to borrow from the library.

The last lord of Gourdon was Pons de Lauzières-Thémines (1553-1627). His loyalty to the Queen Mother, Mary of Medici, provoked the anger of the young King Louis XIII, who sent the Duke of Mayenne to take Gourdon in 1619. The castle was quickly demolished by the Gourdonnais themselves, and its stones were reused in the construction of the houses on the hill.

To find out more about the fascinating history of Gourdon and to see the scale model of the castle (see image above), we highly recommend a visit to the town's museum, La Maison du Sénéchal, which will reopen in April.
Writing tip: Conversation Exchange is a site where you can find a motivated penpal looking to improve their English, in exchange for helping you to improve your French. Choose your correspondant by age and hobbies to find the right match. Methods of communication range from Messenger, Skype and WhatsApp, to good old-fashioned letters!
Speaking tip: Do you remember being instructed to "écouter et répéter" from your school days? Practising speaking French without a partner isn't always easy, but we suggest you watch this video of everyday French conversations, repeating each phrase as you go. Whatever your level, you should improve your spoken French...
Recent blogs:
How to talk about extreme weather in French
With frequent reports of extreme weather events and natural disasters from around the world, we look at how to talk about them in French...
New Year's day is the first public holiday or "jour férié" in the 2019 French calendar. This year all but one will fall on a week day, meaning there could be 9 long weekends!
Follow our advent calendar throughout December as each day we unveil a Christmas-themed video. We have songs, comedy, recipes and more to get you in the mood for all things festive, "à la française" !
See more blog articles...
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