May 2024

The annual May Day Walk was kindly organised by member, Tony Oakley. 16 members spent 2 hours following a route approximately 9 km long around Le Sale Village, near Saint-. Georges-sur-Sept-Voies.

Although most of the time walkers were under a light drizzle, this didn’t detract from the enjoyment. The route took walkers past the Dolmen de la Bajoulière and 2 other Menhirs, with frequent pauses to admire the spring flowers along the forest paths. The pace was slow offering the perfect opportunity to chat with others along the way, and to get to know each other better, not always possible at our more formal monthly meetings.

The parking spot was near the entrance to church of le Prieuré where the large porch provided shelter for everyone to enjoy a picnic lunch in the dry. Thank you, Tony, for organising another most enjoyable walk. Where to next time?

April 2024

The AGM took place on 27 April at le Bon Pasteur in Angers, providing an opportunity for the committee to update members on the activities of the past year. Afterwards those present were entertained by a speaker, Robert Arley, who for many years was the producer of the BBC television “Antiques Roadshow”, a Sunday evening programme as popular today as it was in 1979 when it started.

Robert was based at the BBC Bristol outside broadcasting unit. On a Monday, along with his team, he would arrive on location at a national trust property and spend 2 days preparing for Thursday morning when on average 1,500 people would queue at the entrance, clutching treasured possessions to be valued by a team of experts, all specialists in different subject areas. It took each expert around 3 minutes to value most items. 30 – 40 people with particularly interesting pieces would each be filmed for 7 minutes on average. Back in Bristol the footage would be cut to 2 ½ minutes per item.

Over lunch, Robert answered members’ questions. We would like to thank Robert for sharing many fascinating and entertaining anecdotes. Unfortunately, all too soon it was time to leave. We hope to be able to welcome Robert again to learn more secrets of a producer, and, of course, of the presenters too.

ESU LOIRE VALLEY - Upcoming events


The 2024 Regional Public Speaking Competition in English took place in the Salons de la Présidence at the Préfecture, Place Michel Debré, Angers, during the afternoon of 23 March 2024, when 11 candidates presented their speeches on the theme “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.

This year, teachers from 7 lycées in the region worked with their students towards the competition:

  • Emmanuel Mounier, Joachim du Bellay, Saint Benoît Site Université, and Sacré-Cœur La Salle, in Angers
  • Dom Sortais in Beaupréau-en-Mauges
  • Léonard de Vinci in Montaigu. La Vendée
  • Saint Louis in Saumur

3 candidates were selected by the jury to represent the ESU Loire Valley in the national finals, 6th April, at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris, when a total of 11 candidates representing this region, Aix-Marseille, and the Paris region, will compete to represent France in London at the ESU international public speaking competition in May.

Our thanks to the judges and teachers involved and to our partners, the Bibliothèque Anglophone in Angers, and the Maison de l’Europe Maine et Loire – Europe Direct, for their work prior to, and during the competition.


The national finals of the ESU public speaking competition took place 6th April 2024 in rooms kindly loaned to us at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris.

11 candidates, representing ESU Aix-Marseille, ESU Loire Valley, and the Paris region, competed for the top prize: to be selected to join young people from around the world to represent France in the international competition in London 13th – 17th May. The winning candidate is Mickael Naouri, who attends the Ecole Jeanne Manuel in Paris. In second place was Lee-Ann Allikhan from the Lycée Saint-Charles in Marseille and in third place, Soren Dupont from the Lycee Jacques Prevert in Taverny, Val d’Oise. Our congratulations to them all.

Mickael will travel to London for the international competition with all expenses paid by the ESU. We thank the judges, teachers and candidates for their time and support for the competition. In particular, we thank the Deputée, Estelle Folest, for the use of the rooms in the prestigious buildings oft the Assemblée Nationale. Last, but not least, we wish Mickael all good luck in the international finals ahead.

Head Office, Dartmouth House

Our Head Office, Dartmouth House, is open to members and their friends from Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 18h00.

The in-house catering is provided by Graysons who 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 and the excellent food on offer helps make Dartmouth House the vibrant and inclusive setting for the ESU’s charitable work it has always been.

Staff at head office look forward to greeting ESU members in 2024 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.

A message from Charles Byrne

I have been in post for a fortnight as Director General and I wanted to write to you to say how delighted I am to be at the ESU. I have spent my time with the staff and members, getting to know the education programmes and seeing the work our members do across England and Wales. I’ve been impressed with the great enthusiasm and commitment to our work.

I am hugely excited about our collective potential as an international community to raise awareness of the work the ESU does. The team at Dartmouth House have updated me on the longstanding support for the ESU amongst all of you, as well as the work you’ve undertaken in your respective countries to raise the profile of this important organisation. I believe there is much that we can achieve together and look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

From an international perspective, my immediate priority is working with our friends in the US to finalise the agenda for the International Council Meeting in Cleveland in October. Work is well underway on the programme of activities and the team should be able to share this in a few weeks’ time.

In the meantime, I look forward to meeting many of you in London in May for IPSC week and everyone else at the ICM in October.

Very best wishes


Charles Byrne
Director General
The English-Speaking Union

ESU Debate Academy

The unique English Speaking Union residential summer school, Debate Academy, takes place every year in August 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 French Branches

Paris branch

In collaboration with Musacor, the Sorbonne Scholars will give a concert Friday 26 April at 8pm in the Protestant Church of Passy-Annonciation, 19 rue Cortambert, Paris 16e. Entry is free and there is no requirement to book in advance.

As part of the exhibition « Goût de la Renaissance », under the direction of Pierre Iselin, the Sorbonne Scholars will present a second concert entitled « Dialogue musical à la Renaissance » at the Hôtel de la Marine, 2 place de la Concorde, Paris 8e, Tuesday 14th May at 8pm. Cost: 15€ per person.

Reservations should be made via or via the website of the Hôtel de la Marine


Salle du Conseil Mairie du 7eme 116 rue de Grenelle 75007

For details of how to register:

Bordeaux branch

Awaiting update

Aix-Marseille branch

Awaiting update.

International Branches


The ICM will take place in Cleveland, Ohio, between 18 – 24 October 2024


Happy Hour

The ESU USA is streaming a series of talks that are engaging, fun, and informative. Speakers are live and cover a wide range of topics. All free of charge. The custom is for speakers to suggest a unique cocktail to create and enjoy at home during the talk, hence the name “Happy Hour”.

Sessions are recorded and can be viewed at any time.

For more details:


Awaiting update.

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.

Eurocamp 2024

Saumur is participating in the 9th Eurocamp which runs from 20 July to 2 August 2024 in Verden in Germany and is currently looking for 4 volunteers aged between 16 and 21 to take part in what promises to be a most exciting experience.

Along with young volunteers representing Saumur’s twinned towns – Verden and Havelberg in Germany, Warwick in England and Formigine in Italy – participants will spend two weeks working together for between 5 and 6 hours per day to restore and maintain a fitness trail in the municipal forest in Verden.

In a bid to encourage understanding and friendship, their free time will be given to cultural and sporting activities, tourist visits to discover local traditions, and relaxing evenings around the barbecue.

Each volunteer will be housed and fed throughout the camp and all travel costs will be covered.

More details:

On line registration until 30 April 2024 :


60 rue Boisnet, 49100 Angers

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

Meet the New Library Director Mandy Torsey-Guillet, shown here on the left with retiring director, Phoebe Marshall-Raimbeau.

Springtime in the States

“Springtime in the States” is a 3-day English-learning workshop for secondary school pupils. Participants learn English in a fun, interactive way with games, songs, and activities and lots of talking and moving around. The workshop will be at the library for three consecutive afternoons of three hours each, from 2 to 5 pm.

To sign up as a participant, please 02 41 24 97 07 or email  The number of participants is limited.  Cost is 75 euros (includes snack, materials, and library membership).


Hundreds of second-hand books in English will be for sale: children’s books, young adult fiction, crime thrillers, classic novels, non-fiction (gardening, cooking), biographies, autobiographies, and many, many more.

2€ per book.  6 books for the price of 5.  Plants and baked goods will also be on sale. 

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

Angers International Welcome

Awaiting next update.

Check out the website here.

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. 

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 2024 include: The Sound of Music, The Blues Brothers, Grease, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Footloose in Beauville, Shrek and We Will Rock YouSome on the Côte d’Azur, and in Bavaria, Germany, Mary Poppins and High School Musical.

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.


What is WWOOF?

WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is an agricultural exchange that provides hands-on experience and education. WWOOF is not considered “work,” but rather a chance to exchange skills and language while learning about organic types of agriculture. Hosts provide housing, three meals per day, and other educational opportunities.

Typically, WWOOFers are expected to assist with farm work for four hours per day and eat with the hosts. During off-hours and weekends, WWOOFers, individuals with interests in agriculture, ecology, biology, environmental studies, sustainability, food systems, and/or English, can explore the locality. 

Monthly skill shares and talks are hosted on the farm and talks are organised to nurture relationships with local universities and agricultural experts.

Peace Rock Farm

Asheville, North Carolina

In keeping with Asheville Sister Cities’ continued efforts in developing educational and international exchanges with our sister cities, the Summer Intern, Blake Noble, a UNCA student who is currently living on Peace Rock Farm is excited to offer a one to two-week-long educational and hands-on agricultural exchange program to individuals involved with ASCI through

Open to receive WWOOFers for one to two weeks from July – Aug 20th with the possibility of finding a week during UNCA’s School semester (Aug 21 – Nov 24th).

Our hostel-style Bunk has the capacity for 3-4 individuals. The laundry, bathroom, and shower are conveniently located nearby. For WWOOFers’ entertainment, there is also an outdoor movie lounge, a ping-pong table, a rope swing, as well as 50+ acres of land, trails, and winding creeks to explore and learn about!

For more information, email:

Association France Grande-Bretagne

Awaiting update