December 2022

Christmas meal

Date 12 December

Our Christmas meal is always a relaxed, enjoyable event, and this year was no exception when 50 members and friends gathered at the restaurant l’Escale de la Gare in Saumur to join in the fun. Committee members had arrived at the restaurant early to ensure tables were suitably decorated with traditional greenery, fir cones and baubles. Once the aperitif had been served, the crackers had been pulled and the paper crowns donned, the entertainment got underway under the direction of our master of ceremonies, Terry Orner.

Our thanks go to John Barritt who disclosed the true stories of several well-known children’s tales and nursery rhymes, including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Jack and Jill. Our thanks also to Tony Oakley who played his guitar and sang for us, and in addition this year displayed his prowess with the harmonica.

It wasn’t all a case of sitting back and enjoying the entertainment. Terry wanted ideas for a new version of the well-known poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas….”  Each table in turn contributed to Terry’s final unique and humorous rendition of this much-loved poem.

A big thank-you to all who generously donated prizes for the raffle, and who contributed to the Christmas carol singing. The meeting was a great start to the festive season and couldn’t fail to awaken the Christmas spirit in all who were present.

ESU LOIRE VALLEY - Upcoming events

Details of the public speaking competition 2023

  • Format

2 regional competitions will be held, one in Marseille and one in Angers.  Three candidates will be selected from each to progress to a national final, the winner of which will represent France in the ESU International Public Speaking Competition in London. 

  • Themes 2023

The theme for the regional and national competitions is: ‘Relations between nations are too important to be left to governments alone’. 

The theme for the heats in London is: ‘You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression’.  Those advancing to the grand finals in London will be asked to give their speech on ‘Relations between nations are too important to be left to governments alone’.

  • Dates

The IPSC 2023 will take place live in London during the week of Monday 8 May to Friday 12 May.

The regional competition in Angers will take place Saturday 11 March 2023 at 14h00. The venue is TBA.

The national finals will take place Saturday, 25 March 2023 in Paris. The venue is TBA.

Head Office, Dartmouth House

After nearly three years of closure, predominantly due to the pandemic, Dartmouth House opened its doors on Monday, 9 January 2023. Opening hours will be from 09h00 to 18h00, Monday to Friday, and it is hoped that members will return with friends to help make Dartmouth House the vibrant and inclusive setting for the ESU’s charitable work it has always been.

With an ethos based on sustainability, Graysons will be taking over the in-house catering and will serve delicious menus with mouth-watering options for breakfast, with an array of tempting small plates and sharing dishes at lunchtime, not to mention cakes and afternoon tea and tipples. There is something for every occasion and every appetite.

Staff at head office look forward to greeting ESU members in 2023 and wish to remind everyone that membership fees help to provide young people with the life-changing speaking and listening skills and cross-cultural understanding they need to achieve their full potential and to change their lives and communities for the better.

Monday 9 March – a special dinner

9 March 2023, 19h00 – 21h00

A special dinner is being held at the House of Commons in London to celebrate and support the ESU’s international exchange programmes.  The speaker is to be confirmed.

Members £200, guests, £250, under 35s, £125

This event is part of the English-Speaking Union’s programme of celebrating global understanding through dialogue and will support our vital charitable mission of giving young people the speaking and listening skills and cultural understanding they need to thrive.

ESU Debate Academy

The unique English Speaking Union residential summer school, Debate Academy, is open for bookings for 2023. Taking place at Stamford School in Lincolnshire, this friendly, immersive summer school for 14 to 18 year olds offers top-quality coaching in debate to all ability levels. It’s a wonderful opportunity for cultural exchange, in a supportive and fun environment.   

If you would like to send a student to Debate Academy, full information and booking can be found online here:

Other branches in France

Paris branch

A guided visit in English has been organised Friday 27 January 2023 at 15h00 to the Musée de la Legion d’Honneur, 2 rue de la Legion d’Honneur, 75007, Paris.   Following a tradition that goes back to the Orders of Chivalry, when Napoleon Bonaparte became Premier Consul, he aimed to restore institutions and create a system of honours.  The Legion d’Honneur became law 19 May 1802 as a recognition of accomplishment.

The cost of the visit is 15€ per head and as numbers are limited, prior registration is vital. You can contact the Paris branch here:   

On Friday 3 February 2023 members will meet in the prestigious French school of gastronomy and hotel management: l’Ecole Ferrandi, Restaurant “ Le Premier”, 28 rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, PARIS 75006, where they will share a good French meal while giving the students an opportunity to practice English in the context of their future work

Bordeaux branch

The next meeting of the “English Café” will take place at the creperie, “Twist ‘N’ Crêpes”, 329 cours de la Libération, Talence, Wednesday 18 January 2023, from 19h30 to 22h30.  Bookings must be made before the evening of Monday 16 January.


International Council Meeting

Congratulations to the ESU Pakistan team who worked hard to organise a successful and friendly International Council Meeting in Karachi 28 and 29 October 2022.

Although few delegates were able to attend live, many branches around the world were represented virtually at the meeting which was chaired by Jonathan Callund, outgoing President of the International Council.  Jonathan was assisted by Jane Easton and a team from Dartmouth House, along with Aziz Memon of Pakistan, who replaces him as International Council President.  Their hard work and dedication resulted in lively, inclusive discussions and a most stimulating meeting which reinforced the principles of the ESU and left all delegates with much to think about.

The social events enjoyed by the guests in Karachi were planned with as much care as the meeting itself.  “Thank you” to all involved for a most successful ICM 2022.   

Attending other ESU events

A reminder to all that once you have subscribed to the ESU you can pay members’ rates to attend events organised by any branch in France or elsewhere in the world. 

A full list of member countries can be found on the main website: simply click the continent you are looking for under ‘Show Me’ at the top of the page:

Don’t forget to check out the other sites on our Links page.


60 rue Boisnet, 49100 Angers

Open to the public: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 13h00 to 18h00 and Thursday 18h00 to 19h00

Saturday, 21 January

15h00 to 17h30

Seven years ago, France launched a national festival called “La Nuit de la Lecture” which takes place in bookshops and libraries throughout France to celebrate reading.

The library’s contribution to the festival will highlight readings from 10 most-loved library books. Each reader will explain why they choose their book followed by a discussion period.

Free tea, coffee, cakes, and biscuits. Free and open to the public, no reservation needed

“Ski, Snow and Surf”

14 – 16 February


“Ski, Snow and Surf” is a 3-day English-learning workshop for ‘collège’ age pupils. Participants learn English in a fun, interactive way with games, songs, and activities accompanied by lots of talking and moving around.

The workshop will be at the library for three consecutive afternoons of three hours each, from 14h00 to 17h00.

To sign up a participant, please contact the front desk by phone (02 41 24 97 07) or email ( The number of participants is limited so sign-up fast! Cost is 75 euros (includes snack, materials, and a library membership).

Sunday, 26 March – the Big Quiz

Saturday, 1 April – Open house and BBB (Big, BIG booksale)

For more details of the many social activities that are available through the library, please contact the front desk on, or consult the website.

Loire Valley Voices

Do you like singing in French and in English?  The Loire Valley Voices choristers have a repertoire that includes pieces by the Beatles, Sting, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Womach, Laurent Voulzy.  They would welcome new members to their multicultural group, led by choirmaster, Stéphane Claire, who encourages each individual to find their true voice. 

The first meeting of this friendly group 2022 – 2023 took place Thursday, 15 September, in the Salle Yves Duteil in Fontevraud L’Abbey.  

For more details please contact

Bilingual families in Angers

We have been asked to advertise the activities of this group.

Please see below.

Join our community of bilingual (English/French) families in the greater Angers area for fun outdoor activities this summer. If you’d like to attend any (or all!) of the events, email Hilary Hodge at She will send out an email before each event with more details.

The Joy of Teaching English

The regional education board, the Académie de Nantes, is currently looking to recruit native English speakers to become full time or part time English teachers, either on a temporary or permanent basis.

They are looking for people from a whole range of different backgrounds, such as legal, medical, athletic, military, tourism, etc.  Applicants can select the region in which they would prefer to work.  If this is of interest, you can get in touch with the Académie via this link.

You will be asked for a CV, a short letter of motivation and your qualifications. If your application is successful, you will be invited to attend an interview during which all details will be fully explained.

beauville arts

Beauville Arts brings together young people and performing arts professionals to stage inspiring high-quality performances. With an ethos close to that of the ESU, their courses and summer camps “develop talent and boost confidence, helping to create lifelong friendships and precious memories”.

The company works with schools during termtime and provide courses and camps during the holiday period. Themes for 2023 include: West End Medley, High School Musical, Lion King, James Bond, High School Musical, Les Miserables, The Rise of Hamilton, The Greatest Show, Mamma Mia, and Fame. Some courses take place in Beauville, others on the Côte d’Azur and others in Germany.

Courses are taught in English and help develop skills in the English language as well as nurturing performing arts talent. More details can be found on the website: or by contacting


Daily English is an association that provides French young people with the opportunity to learn English by being immersed in a British family and provides British in France with the means to earn an income by teaching and hosting them. Click here to visit the website.

There’s a clear structure to these visits: the youngsters arrive on Sunday afternoon, and the hosts spend the first evening putting them at ease. From Monday to Friday, there’s a lesson after breakfast each day, then an outing and lunch.  In the evenings they all play board games or watch English films.  On Saturday, they leave by 11am.  Lessons are prepared by Daily English Daily who provide a whole teaching programme and the hosts simply print off what they need.

For more details either on how to host or how to find a suitable placement contact Sally on 04 99 65 21 63 or send an e-mail to


30 Rue de la Petite Bilange, 49400 Saumur

Since September 2021, in association with Language Connexion, this primary school has been offering all its pupils every assistance to learn English from an early age.  A young British teaching assistant motivates learning by using songs and rhymes for the early years and by using English to teach various subjects to primary and junior pupils.