The Ukraine-Russia Conflict

Our thoughts and prayers reach out to the people of Ukraine, particularly to ESU members and friends and their families.  Here in France ESU members are thinking of you and hoping you are safe.

We pray for peace, goodwill and understanding for all ESU members around the world in these troubled times, especially those in Ukraine, in Russia, and in surrounding countries that are receiving and caring for refugees.



The Annual General Meeting took place Saturday 9th April at the Brit Hotel Angers Parc Expo.  31 members were present, and 14 apologies received. 

Reports included membership numbers, the association’s finances 2021, the auditor’s report, highlights of our meetings 2021 and an update on international, national, and public speaking news.  Expressions of thanks were made to all who have contributed in any way to the continuing success of the branch.

The meeting was followed by a meal in the hotel restaurant, the Acropole, at the end of which a surprise birthday cake was given to member John Barritt, who celebrated his 92nd birthday the following day 10th April.

May Day walk

Sunday 1st May, 18 members, family, and friends, assembled at the meeting point in Saint-Melaine-sur-Aubance, a small village situated between Brissac and Murs Erigné, before setting off for this traditional annual walk together.

The weather was perfect for a springtime walk: warm and sunny. The views were stunning.  We walked, or rather, strolled, through an area hitherto unknown to most of us, through the countryside, along wooded paths and into the vines, admiring the many spring flowers along the way.

One of the joys of walking together is the opportunity to circulate, to chat and get to know one another better. Inevitably this creates stragglers, and the walk took somewhat longer than the 2 hours anticipated by Tony.

Rather later than planned, back at the meeting point, Tony welcomed everyone with a glass of bubbles before the hungry group settled down to a long, lazy, picnic lunch together. Our thanks to Anthony for sharing his now famous home-made sausages. Special thanks to Tony for the aperitif, and particularly for organising this lovely walk – let’s hope there will be many more to come.


Chairman of the Board of the ESU of the Commonwealth

Miles Young is sadly unwell with a serious Covid related illness and has had to stand down from his position as Chairman of the Board of the ESU of the Commonwealth. 

Philip Maunder, Chairman of the ESU Devon and Exeter Branch, has been elected as interim Chair of the ESU Board of Governors.  Philip has been involved with the ESU for over 20 years and is a great believer in the importance of communication – an interest that stems from his school days.

Philip Maunder, Interim Chair of the Board of Governors
Philip Maunder, Interim Chair of the Board of Governors

The Platinum Jubilee of the ESU Patron, Her Majesty the Queen

The team at Dartmouth House are preparing a special edition of the ESU Dialogue Magazine to celebrate the platinum jubilee of our patron, HM the Queen. This will come out in early June and will include articles and photographs of international branch members meeting members royal patrons or presidents, past or present.

ESU LOIRE VALLEY - Upcoming events

Treasure Hunt

In a break with tradition, the annual Treasure Hunt will this year take place at the end of May and not in September 2022.  Starting during the afternoon of Saturday 28th May, teams will follow clues in an area around Chênehutte before settling down to enjoy an evening meal with other members and friends at the Hôtel St. Paul in Vivy.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration

Loire Valley Voices, a bilingual choir based in Fontevraud, will be entertaining us to celebrate this record achievement by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at an event to be held at lunchtime Sunday 26th June. Please reserve the date for what we all hope will be a special occasion. More details will be circulated once the venue has been agreed.

English in Saumur Group – Jubilee Celebration

ESU Loire Valley Members are invited to attend a celebration of the Platinum Anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II being organised by Tim Harrison of the “English in Saumur” group.

The celebration is planned to take place Sunday, 5th June, and will take the form of a bring and share picnic which will be accompanied by games such as skittles, etc., and perhaps a Jubilee quiz. People may also like to take a canoe out on the river Thouet.

The venue is the Moulin 2 roues, rue des Ladres, La Motte, 49260, Artannes-sur-Thouet. If you would like to attend please either reply via ‘contact us’ on the website or call Tim : 06 69 00 22 505

Coffee morning

On Saturday 30th April from 10h00 to 11h30 at the Chambres d’hôtes  Le Beaupassant at Vihiers (40 rue Nationale).

Enjoy your morning coffee in meeting others who want to share language and culture. Come and bring your friends !

Click here for more details.

Chatham House Europe Programme

Online Discussion on the upcoming French presidential elections

The Chatham House Europe Programme has issued an invitation to join an online breakfast discussion on the upcoming French presidential elections, Wednesday 6th April, 9.30am – 10.30am CET.

The first round of the presidential election will be held Sunday 10th April 2022. The polls widely show President Macron as the frontrunner, with the war in the Ukraine overshadowing his campaign and turning his attention to foreign policy rather than the domestic issues favoured by his opponents.

The campaign has been marked by a striking shift to the right and far right, and the fragmentation of the left. Moreover, there is a risk of a record-low turnout. These shifts are likely to reshape the country’s political landscape in a lasting way and even impact the next president’s priorities and ability to govern. These, and other related issues, will be discussed by:

  • Tara Varma, Senior Policy Fellow and Head of Paris Office, European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Chloe Morin, Political Analyst and Managing Director, Societing
  • Alice Billon-Galland, Research Fellow, Europe Programme, Chatham House will chair the discussion.


The event contact is Rudi Obasi-Adams, AdamsObasiR@chathamhou.

ESU Bordeaux

April meeting

The next meeting of the members of ESU Bordeaux “English Café” will take place at the crêperie “Twist ‘N’ Crêpes” 329 cours de la Libération, in Talence, Bordeaux, Wednesday 13th April 2022, between 19h30 and 22h30.

François Belly, Chairman of ESU Bordeaux, will be there to welcome visitors from other branches to the group.  A place can be reserved by contacting before the evening of Monday, 11th April 2022

ESU Aix-Marseilles - Launch

Below is an invitation for the launch of ESU Aix-Marseilles. PLEASE NOTE – it has been brought to our attention that there is an error on this, where the time should be 18:30 to 21:30.

The buffet will include hot and cold dishes with two “ateliers” and the committee has been assured that all guests will be very well fed.  The event is free of charge.


The international competition unfortunately will not take place live in London this year but will be held virtually on Friday, 13th May, starting at 18:00

Staff at Dartmouth House are working hard to ensure that all participants have the best possible experience, to include opportunities for cultural exchange and for establishing life-long friendships. 

ESU branches around the world held their national finals to select young speakers.  

The week’s activities started with a cultural exchange event in which all participants talked about their geography, their culture, and national dishes.  Experienced ESU mentors lead workshops to help speakers prepare for the competition and candidates were able to experience the highlights of London, albeit via a virtual tour. 

In the heats on Wednesday, our French candidate, Constance Madrid-Caillaud, delivered an excellent speech but competition was fierce and from her group it was Quinten Jakobs from the Netherlands who has progressed to the finals.  The six finalists who will speak on the theme “We Expect Too Much of our Heroes” are:




Words of Wisdom




What makes a hero



The Netherlands

Who are the real heroes?



People’s Republic of China

A superhero movie that needs to end




No more heroes any more

Ching Ho


Hong Kong

“The Weight of A Cape”

The reason that Romania and China are both in italics are that they have already spoken due to different time zones, and their speeches will be recorded.  It is understand from the organisers and from Constance herself that the group is extremely friendly, enthusiastic, and talented and that the week so far has been a great success despite all activities being virtual. 

If you are unable to watch this evening, the finals are being recorded and details will be circulated when available.

If you would like to watch the world’s brightest young speakers in action, you are welcome to join the audience by following the link:

There is a very informative YouTube video that is accessible here.


A bilingual choir based in Fontevraud is looking to recruit new members.  Called Loire Valley Voices, the choir is multicultural with English, American, Scottish as well as French members, living in the three surrounding regions: Anjou, Touraine and Poitu.  Their bi-lingual repertoire includes pop, rock, soul, and Gospel music.

The chairman, Sinh Persin, stresses that the important thing is not the ability to sing but the desire to get pleasure from being part of a small friendly amateur group who have no wish to become professional.  Whilst the ability to speak English helps, some members learn the lyrics by mimicry. Under the direction of choir leader Stéphane Claire, rehearsals take place three times a month, Thursday evenings from 6.30pm. in the foyer Yves-Duteil between September and June.

  • President Sinh Persin
  • Vice-Presidente Beatrice Boisgibault
  • Secretaries Tracey Wilke and Sylvie Reeves
  • Treasurer Ronnie McAllister

If you are interested, please contact 06 78 94 36 19

Bilingual families in Angers, Events Summer 2022

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 below, email Hilary Hodge at She will send out an email before each event with more details.

Saturday, May 7 12-15h: Barbecue at the Lac de Maine.

This beautiful 220-acre park in Angers has sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, swimming areas, and walking and biking trails.

We will meet in the picnic area.

Sunday, May 22 11-15h: Terra Botanica Theme Park

This plant-themed park in Avrillé is home to more than 275,000 plants and 60+ attractions for kids of all ages.

We will meet at 11 at the entrance and explore the park then eat lunch at La Table du Roi René. You can find more information about the park and ticket prices here.

Saturday, June 4 11-15h: Refuge de L’arche Animal Sanctuary and Lunch

This wildlife sanctuary in Chateau Gontier (30 minutes north of Angers) is home to more than 1,200 rescued animals.

We will walk around the sanctuary then eat lunch nearby. You can find more information about the refuge and ticket prices here (kids under 4 enter for free.)

Saturday, June 18 12-15h: Picnic at the Abbey of Saint-Florent-le-Vieil

This beautiful abbey (30 minutes south of Angers) was built in the 14th century and sits on a hill with beautiful views of the Loire in every direction.

We will eat a picnic in the park behind the abbey then walk along the river. You can read more about Saint-Florent-le-Vieil here.

Sunday, July 3 11-15h: Explore Behuard Island

This tiny island in the Loire is just outside the Savennières wine region (20 minutes south of Angers).

We will walk and bike around the island then eat lunch at the charming La Croisette guinguette on the water. You can read more about Behuard here.

Thursday, July 14 12-15h: Bastille Day Picnic at the Jardin des Plantes

This beautiful botanical garden in Angers is home to almost 60,000 plants.

We will celebrate Bastille Day with a picnic and games.

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:

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 runs performing arts courses in English in the South of France bringing together young people and performing arts professionals to stage shows such as Shrek, Grease, My Fair Lady, and Mathilda, and many more. 

They are offering a limited number of Musical Theatre scholarships for courses running in the Summer of 2022.  Free Scholarship places (Residential) may be awarded upon application to students meeting all the following criteria:  

  • Boy aged 13 – 16;
  • Not attended a Beauville Arts course previously;
  • Enthusiastic and talented performer with a love for singing, dancing and acting.


For further details of the exciting opportunities offered to young people, visit the website


“Write Here, Write Now”

A new series of writing workshops is being organised by Mathieu Huvelin, a Library volunteer, who will guide budding writers through different methods to inspire their inspiration and creativity.

Workshops will be held at the Library on Wednesday evenings from 6pm to 8pm, starting 6th April until mid-June on a bi-monthly basis. They are free for Library members and will have a maximum of 10 participants. For more information and/or to sign up, please contact the Library:

Easter Holiday Activities for the Young

Theatre workshop for lycée students from 20th to 22nd April.

This 3-day workshop takes place in the library and runs over three consecutive afternoons from 14h30 to 17h30. The workshop is limited to 15 participants.

The cost is 75€, which include snacks, materials, and library membership. 

A New Bridge Club

Not simply a new bridge club, but a new form of the card game!  Discover, learn, and play Mini Bridge in a relaxed, casual, and informal atmosphere. Mini Bridge proposes a different concept from conventional Bridge Clubs and encourages:

  • Conversation while playing the game
  • Comments and remarks before, during, and after the game
  • Second thoughts
  • Not taking oneself too seriously

The sessions are scheduled to take place two Wednesday evenings per month from 18h00 to 19h30 in the library, starting 20th April.

Sign up and discover this new activity which is free for library members. 

Saturday, May 14th – Open house, big, big book sale, bake sale & plant sale!

For more details of these and other events on offer, please contact the front desk on, or consult the website.


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.