Chris Bird

French Classes Starting Again Soon

After a longer than expected building project, French classes will commence again at Killcare in February, 2017.  Classes for Beginners, Intermediate and Continuers will be available. We hope to see many of our previous students back again, and even some of our Sydney students who have expressed a keenness to continue their French at Killcare.  Please let us know your interest so we can reserve your place.

Large Hadron Collider Restarts

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has restarted, with protons circling the machine’s 27km tunnel for the first time in more than two years. Particle beams have now travelled in both directions, inside parallel pipes, at a whisker below the speed of light. Scientists hope to glimpse a “new physics” beyond the Standard Model. Visit CERN and the LHC on your next trip to France and consider staying at a nearby château.

Tide of Century: Mont St Michel

Tens of thousands of curious visitors crowded historic Mont Saint-Michel and other beauty spots along the French coastline in March to view what was promised to be the ‘tide of the century’, thanks to the effects of a spectacular solar eclipse. Alas, the event may not have lived up to everyone’s expectations. For more information on the tide at Mont St Michel – see the daily mail site and for information on our accommodation partners in the area see our St Malo and Dinan pages.

Visit CERN Geneva and learn about the “God particle”

During your French holiday, we highly recommend a visit to CERN near Geneva.  Tours of the Large Hadron Collider are free but booking is essential. My tour took about 3 hours – and it was inspirational !!  We suggest you stay nearby in Annecy (called the Venice of France) and contact us for a recommendation about a stay in a lovely hotel in the town’s centre.

Discounts on 2015 Barge Cruises

Our partners CanalBargeCruises have advised that 10% discounts are available across a range of barge cruises in 2015.  While the cruises offering discounts largely apply to France, they also include canal barging in Holland, Scotland and England.  So, don’t delay: this is a marvellous way to see the heart of France in style and comfort.   See Barging page.

A Jewel in Brittany

Hotel Arvor is a delightful hotel in the midst of the stunning medieval town of Dinan. Within easy driving distances are the famed Mont St Michel, the lively old port of St Malo and for abundant fresh seafood, Cancale. Dinan can be reached by train, and offers easy access to Channel ferries and airports. For more info see Hotel Arvor.


Cruise the French Canals

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with CanalBargeCruises who specialise in cruises and barging across Europe. They bring over 20 years experience both as an operator and agent for barges. From our personal experience, we highly recommended them – for us, it was a week we’ll always treasure cruising the canals of Burgundy.  See Barging page.

Truffle Wars: Look Out France, Here Comes Australia

At Manhattan’s Per Se restaurant one recent evening, star chef Thomas Keller addressed a group of gourmands waiting to tuck into a menu featuring fresh, black Australian truffles in every course. Luckily there were no Frenchmen present. For had there been, what Keller had to say would have surely made them toss their madeleines. Comparing the finest French black Perigord truffles to these interlopers from Down Under, Keller said: “It’s hard to tell which one is better.”  Read more  .….

Turning the Other Cheek

 The issue of how many cheeks to kiss has gained further momentum.  A campaign has started in Brittany to adopt a “single kiss”.  The GRUBUB association claims the fashion of multiple kissing – a gesture called “faire la bise”, has gone too far and that its exponential growth is barbaric. In a “tongue-in-cheek” comment, the association insisted that the guardians of the “single kiss” were “not reactionary or political, even if they know this is one of the most important issues of our time”.  See our French Kissing exposé in our Insights section.

A Touch of France in Australia

Like to stay in a B&B in Australia where you can speak French and eat French-styled food?  Well, we’ve prepared some information that provides this and more – such as reviews of French restaurants, information about providores of French foods and other French businesses,  insights into French/Australian historical connections and information about upcoming French-related events in Australia. Read more …..


Clos Mirabel Manor – Pyrénées

This stunning 18th Century Manor House is set amidst a beautiful 15 acre estate between the coast and the Pyrénées mountains. From the spacious B&B there are magnificent uninterrupted views over vineyards to the entire chain of the Pyrénées Atlantiques. Clos Mirabel offers fine accommodation that is close to Pau, Lourdes and Spain and the hosts, Ann and André, are so welcoming.

French Classes – Sydney & Central Coast

French classes for Term 2 2014 start  in late April/early May. We are offering classes for Beginners, Intermediate and Continuers. These classes are held in the day and evening in Sydney and likewise on the Central Coast. To ensure your place,  contact us  as soon as possible to avoid missing out. We can always accommodate late starters.

French Classes Starting Now !!

Ready to brush up your French or prepare for that trip? Classes at all levels (in Sydney & on the Central Coast) are starting now. Contact us if you have any questions or wish to enrol. Don’t worry if the class has started, as we can  always accommodate late starters.

Guernsey – something different en route to France

Yes, I can hear you already saying that Guernsey is not part of France, although it’s much closer to France than it is to the UK.  However, there have always been strong connections between France and the Channel Islands, and a visit to Guernsey en route to/from the UK is a rewarding experience.  So, we’ve added a new accommodation partner – Moores Hotel, right in the heart of St Peter Port, Guernsey. The hotel gives door-step access to shopping, restaurants, and a very short walk to the ferry. And, there’s lots of things to see, do and… Continue reading

School Excursions and French Classes in France

If your school is considering taking students to France, please contact us as we have over 10 years experience in taking and organising school groups to France, including attending the Paris-based ACCORD language institute. We can also provide advice with regard to home-stays, student activities, and student tours outside of Paris.

Beautiful B&B in Loire

We’re very pleased to announce that Les Fleurons – a delightful B&B townhouse in the heart of historic Amboise, has just become our latest new accommodation partner in France.  Amboise is close to many of the major château in the Loire, plus within walking distance are the Royal Château of Francois I and Leonardo da Vinci’s last home, Clos Lucé. Amboise is by far the best place to base yourself when exploring this region.

ANZAC Day – 2014

For those wishing to attend the Villers Bretonneux ANZAC day service in France, please hurry and book your accommodation. Our two accommodation partners report they are fast filling up.  Contact us as soon as possible.

French Classes Starting Soon

Next term’s French courses for beginners and those seeking to brush-up their French will be starting soon in Sydney (Epping) and the Central Coast.  Please contact us as soon as possible to ensure your place. Other classes for HSC students and other levels of French, including advanced lessons, are also re-commencing.

Avoid French Autoroutes on Holiday Weekends

The first weekend of August is often referred to as Black Saturday in France due to the extensive road traffic congestion that arises from the annual exodus of Parisian and other urban holiday makers. We even heard a BBC news report that suggested drivers were not allowed to use autoroutes if they were carrying a large number of young children due to the impact  that lengthy delays might have on hydration. Other weekends, especially the last of July and August, are also notorious.

Is Travel SIM workable for Mobile Calls from Overseas

We purchased the TravelSIM card to save on mobile calls and texts while travelling in Europe.  Todate our experience has been variable. Issues we’ve encountered have been poor service quality and very delayed (sometimes by 12 hours) text messages. As a further update to this, we found that we could not receive calls in France if we were connected via the Orange network – so we had to manually manage our carrier selection to avoid Orange.  Given we were having a rental car crisis at the time, this was most inconvenient.

Free Mobile Calls from Europe

We’ve been using a free app on our smartphone,  called Viber, to call and text for free from overseas.  While the quality can be variable, we’ve been able to communicate successfully. The only catch is you need to have WiFi access for it to work – but these days hotels, cafes, etc often have free WiFi.   For more tips and tricks into making the most of your French trip – click here at our Insights page.

Save on Travel Insurance

Some credit cards automatically provide travel insurance as part of their annual fee: my Amex Platinum Reserve and Visa Platinum both do. If you meet the conditions, these cards may provide all the coverage you need:  they do for us. From my research and experience, it is much easier to satisfy the Visa conditions than Amex.  Check it out – it could save you quite a lot.