Creating Global Understanding and Friendship Through English English- Speaking Union France 1987 Beatrix de Montgermont Keil Founder and President
Creating Global Understanding and Friendship Through English English- Speaking Union France 1987  Beatrix de Montgermont Keil Founder and President          

What's going on in the ESU branches, Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Paris, Strasbourg

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Don't miss the next English Café Wednesday 28th at 19.30

(see Bordeaux Branch below )




Don't miss the next event in the Loire Valley Branch


The next event will take place on Saturday 17th March 2018 when we will be joined by Jean-Claude Guais who has been involved in many aspects of the nuclear industry both in France and the United States. 

He will present to us "The Many Faces of the Nuclear World" which will cover his time at the French Atomic Energy Commission as well as several years working in general management and strategy in the US branch of AREVA in Washington. He has also worked as an international consultant advising governments and industries on the political aspects of the nuclear industry and its impact on the environment, particularly in relation to greenhouse effect and climate change. 

Please return the attendance slip and cheque before the deadline of Monday 12th March 2018 to Dorothy Morison
, 5 rue Jean-Luc Rapado, 49350, Trèves
details and application form.





Don't miss the next events at ESU Paris



***Wednesday 14 March, 2 pm : Guided visit of the Musée du Parfum

                                                           73 Rue du faubourg St Honoré 75 008 Paris


This new institution has settled recently in a private mansion dating back to the XVIIth century which lately belonged to Christian Lacroix.

The idea is to become more familiar with perfume along history and to discover its long tradition going back to antiquity.

The various components of perfume will be explained together with the link between a fragrance and emotion and memory.

You will be invited to participate in a common and exciting experience : the creation of perfume in a series of videos.


Métro : St Philippe du Roule

Please sign up before March 7th.

The number of participants is limited to 15, so it is on the basis of first arrived, first served.

Send your reply with a cheque of 25 euros per person.

We will meet at 1.45 pm at 73 rue du faubourg St Honoré.



***Thursday 5 April, 6 pm : Guided visit of the Irish Cultural Center

                                                   5 rue des Irlandais 75 006 Paris


It is the only Irish cultural center in the world which was financed by the Irish government and opened in 2002.

It settled in a refurbished XVIIth century private mansion which originally hosted a Catholic community from Ireland.

The Chapel is devoted to St Patrick and upstairs you will see the beautiful library rarely open to the public which keeps old illuminated manuscripts.


Métro Luxembourg

Please sign up before April 1st.

The number of participants is limited to 20 so answer quickly.

We will meet in the courtyard of the Center at 5.30 pm.

Send your reply with a cheque of 10 euros per person.



***Wednesday 23 May, 2 pm : Guided visit of the Russian Cultural Center in                                                       Paris and the new Cathedral


You will have a private visit of the brand new center inaugurated in 2017
Our guide will survey the history of the Russian community in France and of the Russian Orthodox in Paris. He will comment upon the beautiful icons and the architecture of the new Cathedral.

You will be able to visit the temporary exhibition in the cultural center.


The number of participants is limited to 20.

We will meet at 1.45 pm 2 avenue Rapp at the corner of avenue Rapp and rue de l'Université. Quai Branly.

Send your reply with a cheque of 10 euros per person.


Luce Loussouarn

President ESU Paris


Name …………………………………………………………………………………

will come to the visit of The Musee du Parfum on Wednesday 14 March.

I enclose a cheque of …………………….

Will come to the visit of The Irish Cultural Center on Thursday 5 April.

I enclose a cheque of ……..........................

Will come to the visit of

the Russian Cultural Center on Wednesday 23 May.

I enclose a cheque of ………………………


Visit ESU Paris website :





A lot of noise, a lot of good food....and .... a lot of fun...

read about the fantastic event at ESU Loire Valley.


17 February 2018

Lunch, Quiz and Photographic Competition

Le Petit Blaison, Blaison Gohier


A lot of noise, a lot of good food and a lot of fun.  These three things sum up the meeting 17 February when 36 members and friends gathered at the restaurant “Le Petit Blaison” for a meal accompanied by a quiz and our annual photographic competition.


It was certainly noisy.  There were seven tables made up each of 4 or 5 people arguing about answers to questions that ranged from riddles to historical facts and included a ‘cheese’ course which required the contestants to identify samples of 4 different cheeses.  One sheet of questions asked for French or English equivalents to well-known proverbs in both languages.  Our quiz master, Roy Powell, had prepared a seating plan in order to ensure a mixture of nationalities at every table.  From time to time a welcome hush would fall following a loud “Shush” as someone, in the excitement of the moment, had just announced a correct answer to the entire room.


Our thanks to the proprietors of the restaurant.  Normally closed during the winter months, they opened especially for our group.  The food was delicious.  The surroundings were friendly and perfect for the occasion.


There were 20 entries for the photographic competition which was won this year by Michael Sargant with his colourful photograph of “Le Port de L’Ile, Angers”.  The photo reminded us all that before too long the long summer days will be here once more.  In joint second place were photos by Martine Cosson and Yolande Powell.  Martine’s photo portrayed hot air balloons over Plessis-Bourré and Yolande’s was a black and white photo of the “River Thouet in Saumur” in wintertime, showing bare trees reflected in the water.  Another photo by Yolande was chosen in 4th place.  “Mimosa and Saumur Château” depicts the castle framed in yellow mimosa blossom.  These four photographs will feature during 2018 on both our website and on our Facebook page.


Inevitably there was more arguing when the answers to the quiz questions were announced.  However our quiz master stood his ground and eventually the winning team was declared.  Our congratulations to Peter Beech, Brendon Bye, Tony Oakley, Yolande Powell and Christine Rutherford who each received a bottle of Ackerman “bubbly”. 


Our thanks go to Roy for his work preparing and compering the quiz and to Jackie for assisting him and for organizing the photographic competition.  A special thank-you to Teddy from Kansas City who, at the end of each round of the quiz, joined the leading team before finally settling down to enjoy a glass with the winners.


Thank you to the committee for organizing such an enjoyable afternoon.


View the pictures below









ESU Loire Valley stand at the Forum des Associations, Saumur, 16th September 2017 and the AGORA, Angers, 7th and 8th October.


ESU Loire Valley stand at the Forum des Associations, Saumur, 16th September 2017 and the AGORA, Angers, 7th and 8th October.





What's going on in Bordeaux
Hear ! Hear !




And Pigs might fly .......

You are fond of Comics and cartoons ?
Don’t miss the next Drama workshop
And Pigs might fly …instructed by Oliver Borowski
When :
Wednesday April 4th from 6pm to 8pm 
Where : sale Quintin Loucheur, 96 rue de la Béchade, Bordeaux.
If you haven’t signed in yet… just pop in
President of ESU Bordeaux




Hello everybody!


Save the date !

Our next « English Café » will take place at La crêperie "Le Café Bleu" 329 cours de la Libération in Talence on Wednesday  February 28, 2018 from 19.30 to 22.30.

We do look forward to welcoming you. Bring your friends!!!

François Belly,

President of ESU Bordeaux 






You are in Bordeaux or not far from this fantastic city, don’t miss the next English-Speaking Union event !

Our English conversation group meets  in Talence this coming 

 Wednesday, September 20th

Where : Yorkshireman Pub & Tea Room, 2 rue Pacaris  in Talence.

Time : 19.30 to 22.30

Want to join us ?

We are just a click away !

Contact  François Belly :

See you soon !




What's going on in Bordeaux

Save the date!

Wednesday, March 15 from 18.30 to 20.00.
Join Oliver Borowski and its Theatre Worshop in English
" And pigs might fly..."
Where: salle Quintin Loucheur, 96 rue de la Béchade, Bordeaux.
Please contact us : or just come to the venue!



Bring your friends

to the 

English Café!

Speak English, have fun and enjoy the good food!

Wednesday, March 8th


Restaurant Le Rabolliot, 38 rue Peyronnet, Bordeaux





Bring your friends

to the 

English Café

Wednesday, March 8th


Restaurant Le Rabolliot, 38 rue Peyronnet, Bordeaux

Hello everybody

Notre prochain groupe de conversation en anglais "English Café" aura lieu au restaurant Le Raboliot, 38 rue Peyronnet, Bordeaux , le mercredi 8 février 2017, de 19h30 à 22h30.

Nous aurons, à cette occasion, l’honneur et le plaisir d’accueillir deux invitées de choix : Mme Lucia DUMONT vice présidente de ESU France ainsi que Mme Patricia CURD présidente de ESU Loire Valley, qui viennent tout spécialement à Bordeaux pour nous rencontrer.

Si vous n’êtes pas encore inscrit pour le deuxième trimestre, il n'est pas trop tard, signalez-vous en répondant à cet e-mail.
En revanche, si vous êtes déjà inscrit pour le deuxième trimestre, répondez à cet e-mail uniquement si vous ne pouvez pas participer à l'English Café du mercredi 8 février.

Au plaisir de vous retrouver mercredi soir,
Cordiales salutations,

François Belly
President of ESU-Bordeaux



Save the date!

Wednesday, January 18th from 18.30 to 20.00.
Join Oliver Borowski and its Theatre Worshop in English
" And pigs might fly..."
Where: salle Quintin Loucheur, 96 rue de la Béchade, Bordeaux.
Please contact us : or just come to the venue!



Save the date !

Bring your friends

to the 

English Café

January 11th, 2017


Restaurant Le Rabolliot, 38 rue Peyronnet, Bordeaux




Theatre Workshop

Wednesday, December 14

18.30 - 20.00

Salle Quintin Loucheur, 96 rue de la Béchade, Bordeaux

contact :


English Café

Wednesday, December 7th, 19.30-22.30

Restaurant Le Rabolliot, 38 rue Peyronnet, Bordeaux


NEXT .... What's new in the Loire Valley branch?



Loire Valley

What's going on ?

Read about their annual autumn walk


Autumn Walk, Friday 27th October 2017


When we think of an autumn walk, we think of the “season of mellow fruitfulness” of John Keats: of sunshine, of rich colours, and the sound of crunching dry leaves under our feet.  Following two days of balmy autumn sun it was therefore disappointing for the 20 participants to wake up to a somewhat damp atmosphere on the morning of 27 October 2017 for our autumn walk together.


Clad in waterproofs, we congregated in the car park behind the Church of Saint-Germain in Juigné-sur-Loire for a prompt 10am depart.  Our leader, Tony Oakley, counted us in and having checked that all were present and correct, including three dogs, we set off for a walk into the Parc des Garennes, which for most of us was unknown territory.


The Parc was once an important open cast slate mining area.  Following the Great Fire of London, 1666, it was slate from here that was used to cover the roofs of more than 10,000 new houses that were constructed in the city.   Slate was extracted until the time of the French Revolution.  However the quality was poor and gradually it was abandoned as a suitable material for roofing and the site fell idle. 


Nature gradually took over.  In the 1960s the site, which covers 27 hectares, was recognised as an area of outstanding importance due to its rich diversity of flora and fauna.  It is now a favourite place for walkers and joggers, naturalists and study groups. 


We walked along paths lined with trees and bushes, sometimes with beds of acorns under our feet, sometimes with chestnuts.  The rain kept off.  The atmosphere dried up.  Little by little the rainwear was cast off and put into back-packs or tied around waists.  The pace slowed down.   Frequent stops were made to look at mushrooms and toadstools many of which were edible.  Others stopped to collect leaves and berries for table decorations and to discuss various culinary uses of potential harvests.


At times we found ourselves on land strewn with slate.  The surface is covered with little more than moss and lichens but incredibly the ground maintains many unusual conifers of various kinds.  We dropped down to make our way back to the village beside a “boire”: formerly part of the Loire, now a dried river bed.  Along the path we stopped to look at a post showing the levels of water in times of flood.  As water levels today are at an all-time low, it was all the more amazing to see the heights reached in years gone by.


Mindful of the time, all too soon we were back at our starting place.  The Auberge “Le Cheval Blanc” was close-by and several members were already waiting to join the walkers for lunch.  This had been laid out for us on one long table in a room set apart from the normal dining area.  The food was excellent and the atmosphere friendly.  Once again we were the last to leave, all agreeing we should come again soon, though not realising at the time how soon that would be.  Due to an unscheduled cancellation at the venue reserved for our Christmas meal, we will return to the “Cheval Blanc” to celebrate the festive season on 9th December.


Our thanks to Tony for organising the day: for planning the walk, for liaising with the restaurant and especially for ensuring that everything ran smoothly.  Just one question: Please, Tony, can we have another walk sooner rather than later?

Scroll down for lovely photos






"So British"

event in Angers

September 9-10


ESU Loire Valley participated in this great event.

Look at the fantastic photos sent by the English Language Library in Angers! It was fun as you can see ! 

Patricia wrote :"The Library had a stall at the Accroche Coeurs festival in Angers and the theme this year was ‘So British’. In all around 10 ESU LV members, including Phoebe and Marie-France helped in the kitchen preparing food or on the stand plating up and serving it.  It was great fun as you can see if you scroll down.  The theme was Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  We had been asked to learn the lyrics to the album which was playing and a group of nutty people (including Phoebe, Mandy and yours truly) were at one stage dancing around to ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’.  The man in the third photo down with Phoebe is the Mayor of Angers, Christophe Béchu.  I am really happy to have been able to support them and delighted they did so well".


Scroll down to view the pictures





ESU  Loire Valley Treasure Hunt 2017


Scroll down to view the photos...


On 9th September, 42 members and friends gathered in the car park of the restaurant “La Gabelle” on a pleasant, slightly autumnal Saturday afternoon, in anticipation of a challenging and intriguing Treasure Hunt, organised again this year by member Terence O’Hara.

10 teams sallied forth within the limits of the “Parc Naturel Loire-Amjou-Touraine” to solve 25 clues in the communes of Fontevraud, Montsoreau, Parnay and Turquant, before returning to the starting point at “La Gabelle” within a 3 hour deadline.

Most crews seemed to head off in the same direction towards Fontevraud, which was furthest away and also the location that held the most clues.  Although we often met up with other participants there was plenty of space so discussions between team members couldn’t be overheard.  Being somewhat familiar with Fontevraud I felt confident.  However Terence’s questions were challenging and the information panel in the car park required really close investigation.  The views from the car park across Fontevraud were amazing.

Having completed the answer sheet in Fontevraud, we moved on to Montsoreau, where again Terence introduced us to some clearly well-known historical information that my team was ignorant of, despite thinking we knew the area quite well.  Montsoreau is another lovely village and quite different from Fontevraud due to its proximity to the river.  It is another place I would like to revisit and get to know more closely in order to give our summer visitors a wider experience of the great variety of locations here in the Loire valley.

Our next destination was Turquant, a village abounding with charm.  The troglodyte dwellings are not simply historical sites but are currently a way of life for many present-day inhabitants.  The clues here were varied and required visits to the church, to the war memorial, and to a windmill.  Careful scrutiny of the signs for the vineyard names was required in order to fathom a couple of Terence’s more cryptic clues.

The final clue was back at our starting point in Parnay and we had allowed plenty of time to search for this answer.  Other teams were returning and we were able to enjoy a convivial drink together whilst swapping stories of our challenging afternoon.  We were joined by other members who had not taken part in the Treasure Hunt.  Terence, meanwhile was marking our papers with his usual precision taking into account our driving standards and spelling errors.

39 of us enjoyed an excellent meal and great fun was had by all.  When Terence declared the results there was very little difference between the scores of the first and last teams and every half point and bonus point contributed to the highest marks.  The winning team was made up of Jane and Andrew, Colin and myself, who each received a bottle of “bulles” as a prize. 

Sadly before leaving we had to say goodbye to one of our members, David Jones, who is moving to Australia later this month.

Thank you to my team mates, and many, many, thanks to Terence for once again organising such an enjoyable and challenging event.  And, good luck, David, in your new life Down Under. 

Dorothy Morison.


Scroll down to view the photos...





22nd July 2017

Musical Soirée chez les Small





Word had evidently travelled through the grape vines spreading the news that events at Michael and Irene Small’s charming property are not to be missed.  The evening meeting hosted by them 22nd July this year attracted a record number of 66 members and friends.  People began arriving in their attractive garden at 5pm and within an hour groups were dotted around on the lawns chatting happily.  There were many familiar faces and several new ones.  We were pleased to welcome 2 new members as well as people who had not been amongst us for a long while.


Supper took the form of a bring and share picnic.  All those attending had been asked to bring  along a dish that could be shared with others.  This entailed a lot of work on the part of the organisers who made sure there was a balanced menu with a variety of dishes to cover all tastes.  Many thanks to Dorothy and Roy, and to all the cooks involved, for giving up their time and for spoiling us with their favourite recipes.  The consensus was that the selection of food on offer was a superb spread and a similar picnic should be repeated at a future event.


Jazz Swing and Co entertained us with well-known pieces from their vast repertoire, including tunes by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Miles David, John Coltrane and many others.  As last year, the music was perfect for the occasion: loud enough to be heard by all but not so loud as to stop the conversation.  People were able to listen to the music yet mingle and chatter and get to know each other at the same time.

Michael and Irene’s lovely lawns offered a perfect setting for the gathering.  Visions of a long eisurely vening in warm summer sun, with frequent dips in the pool to cool off, were unfortunately swept aside by a drop in temperature.  We were fortunate in that the rain that had been forecast did not materialise, but the cool conditions meant that most people had left by the time the band finished playing.  Those who remained enjoyed a warming cup of coffee around the refectory table in the kitchen: a delightful room designed not simply to be functional but to preserve the history of the building, with vestiges of the original mechanism and architectural features of the former water mill.

Once again, a huge thank you to Irene and Michael and the Jazz Swing and Co. for a truly lovely, unmissable evening.  

Scroll down to view some pictures...





24th June 2017, Lunch followed by visit to Martin de Candre Soap Factory.


25 members and friends gathered on a beautiful summer day at the Domaine de Mestré for lunch and a visit to the Martin de Candre soap factory.


The Domaine is in a lovely setting just outside Fontevraud-l’Abbaye.  Built beside an old Roman road, Mestré was once the main farm of the famous Abbey.  Part of the buildings, including a chapel, date from the 12th and 13th centuries.  The Domaine has been in the same family since 1791 and inside the hotel, photos and paintings testify to this long family history.  Today, two sisters share the workload: the hotel is run by one, the hand crafted soap business by the other.


We had lunch outside in the sunshine under parasols at tables arranged such that groups of 12 could talk with ease.  The meal was excellent and so were the surroundings.  The family atmosphere was all pervasive, with the current owner’s children serving and replenishing the bread baskets.  During a leisurely lunch we had time to appreciate the park and lovely trees before making our way through the hotel to the courtyard to meet our guide.


We were taken into the shop where our guide, the son-in-law of the founder of the factory, recounted the history of the company which was established in 1974.  He spoke in particular about the years of research it took for his mother-in-law, Rosine Dauge, to perfect the process still used today to produce high quality soap from natural oils.


All Martin de Candre soaps contain olive oil.  In addition, other oils are used to give different qualities to soap.  For example, coconut oil produces good lather, whilst palm oil makes soap hard.  The oils are heated in tanks and when they reach 65º a solution of soda and water is added to produce hard, strong soap.  Simple!  Not really.  It can be quite dangerous.  As it is heated, the mixture becomes harder and thicker.  If the reaction takes place too quickly, the mixture can overflow at around 95º.  Room temperature and humidity play a huge part.  As these vary according to the seasons and the weather, it is said that it takes ten years’ experience to become a good soap maker.  The whole process takes around 45 minutes and at just the right moment, other ingredients like honey or milk, perfumes and preserving agents are added.  There are no chemicals used in the process and no colouring.  This explains why the rose scented soap isn’t pink and the lavender scented soap isn’t mauve.  The soap is tipped into a mould and after 24 hours is cut and smoothed and then placed in wooden boxes to harden for between 3 and 8 months.  Every stage is done by hand.


Having gained a better understanding of the process used to make soap, we visited the museum dedicated to publicity surrounding soap and many of us were transported back to childhood days by advertisements for Cussons, Lux and Palmolive soaps.  There were even posters advertising Gibb’s solid pink toothpaste in round red, green and blue tins that many of us once knew so well.  We also discovered that Palmolive soap, first produced in 1898, was made from a mixture of palm and olive oils, hence its name.


It was surprising to learn that European rules regarding soap making are far simpler than the French rules that preceded them.  It is possible that the latter were more for the benefit of the maker than they were for the user, for Louis XIV consigned three soap makers to the guillotine because their products made his skin itch.  Happily, things have changed, and we would like to wish the whole family at Mestré a long and productive future at their family home.


Loire Valley Autumn Walk 2017 photos

ESU Loire Valley stand at the Forum des Associations, Saumur, 16th September 2017 and the AGORA, Angers, 7th and 8th October.


Loire Valley Treasure Hunt 2017

Next : Photos Musical Soirée chez les Small

Photos " So British" !

NEXT .... What's new in the Loire Valley branch?

May 27th, 2017: a day to remember


 May 27th,  Angers, ESU Loire Valley: a day to remember!


Brilliant summer sun and warmth graced the thirtieth anniversary celebration at the Château d'Angers to mark the founding of the ESU in France, and to honour our founder and National President Mme Beatrix de Montgermont-Keil. 


45 members and guests of the ESU Loire Valley gathered at the Château d'Angers on Saturday 27 May at 10.30 am.    An English speaking guide conducted 30 of us on an excellent tour of the Château, during which she explained the history of the building, and of its historical context, with special emphasis on the period during the hundred years' war!   From the ramparts of the fortress, with its spectacular views of the rivers and bridges, we were then taken to the cool interior of the building housing the Apocalypse tapestries.  There, our guide explained the commissioning of the tapestries by Louis I, Duke of Anjou in the thirteenth century, and the importance of this masterpiece of Mediaeval art from the workshops of Nicolas Bataille.  She pointed out symbolic insights into some of the intricate details of the tapestries that we are sure we would not have appreciated without her expertise.  Once outside again we were shown where the lions and camels used to be housed.  At every stage of the tour we were fortunate to have a guide with really detailed knowledge to fully answer our questions. 

Lunch was served in a room above the restaurant in the “Logis du Gouverneur”. During the  aperitif our President welcomed our guests, in particular, Mme. Catherine Gaudin, a member of ESU Paris branch, who had kindly travelled to Angers to join us for our 30th anniversary  celebration. 


The founder and National President of the ESU in France, Mme Beatrix de Montgermont- Keil, was most unfortunately, not able to join us due to health reasons, but our President  read us a letter from her wishing us all “a  lovely day of celebration”.

Mme de Montgermont-Keil and members of the committee of ESU France had prepared a text to be read out at the lunch by our youngest member, 15 year old Pauline Percevault, a student at the Lycée St. Louis in Saumur.  We discovered the very interesting history of the ESU in France from its inception in 1987.  Pauline must be congratulated for her reading of this lengthy text in English, particularly as she had just returned from a school visit to Spain to practise her Spanish.  On behalf of ESU France, our President presented Pauline with a commemorative mug as a token of appreciation.


The sun continued to shine after lunch as we assembled in the gardens to be entertained by the Dorset Youth Marching Band, here on their annual visit to the Maine et Loire. To the amazement of the visitors to the Château who represented many countries of the world, the band paraded in full regalia, red tunics and cockaded hats, to entertain us all in the courtyard amid beautiful gardens in full bloom.  Despite the heat, band members marched around the gardens entertaining everyone with a selection of stirring tunes. The youngest musician was just 8 years old. Cameras clicked all around to record this impressive and appropriate performance and finally the applause rang out in appreciation.


It was a most enjoyable ending to a memorable day.


I am sure our members and guests will join with us in thanking our Committee for their hard work in organising so successfully all aspects of this 30th anniversary celebration, this visit to the Château d'Angers:  the tour, the lunch and the entertainment by the Dorset Youth Marching Band -  it was certainly a  day to remember!                                                                     

Ayleen Kelly, ESU Loire Valley





 Public Speaking Competition National Final, Angers, April 1st, 2017

And the winner is ....

Jeanne Chassereau.


Please scroll down to read more

May Day Walk Loire Valley

What's going on in the Loire Valley


AGM and May Day Walk

Thirty members attended the AGM which was held in a conference room at the restaurant “Le Buisson” in Trélazé.  Another twenty-five members sent apologies for absence.

The President, Patricia Curd, opened the AGM and spoke of the sadness felt at the recent death of M. Giorgio Gualandi, a long standing member of the ESU. 


In the President’s report, Patricia began by talking of ESU France which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary.  She explained that as yet there has been no announcement of the celebrations planned to mark the event.  Following a stroke several months ago, Béatrix de Montgermont-Keil, President of ESU France, has now returned home and appears to be making a good recovery.


Next year the ESU will celebrate its centenary in London.  As yet no dates have been published.  However, it is anticipated that the festivities will coincide with the International Council Meeting 2018.


With regards to our own branch, we are now the largest of the 4 French branches.  The President thanked committee members for their hard work and welcomed an application from Dorothy Morison to join the committee.  Patricia reminded members that their help is always welcome even if they would prefer not to become committee members and invited volunteers to form a sub-committee to prepare the organisation of an exchange with another branch.


The Secretary’s report was presented by Jackie Sheppard followed by Roy Powell who presented the Treasurer’s report.  This was accepted unanimously.


Following the closure of the AGM members were offered an aperitif before being joined by 2 guests and sitting down to enjoy a meal together in the restaurant.  French and English members were intermingled and the atmosphere at table was particularly convivial and relaxed on this occasion.


May Day Walk


The starting point for the traditional May Day Walk was a car park near the church in the charming village of Le Thoureil.  A record number of 24 members and friends gathered for the annual photograph at the start of the walk, joined this year by both Julie’s dog, Izzie, and Terry’s little dog, Claire.  The number of walkers was particularly pleasing as the weather was blustery and unusually cold for the time of year.  Wrapped up well against the chill wind, we set off somewhat slowly and headed uphill passing several beautifully restored properties with lovely gardens.  The pace slowed down as groups of walkers stopped to admire the pretty houses and outbuildings nestling amongst the trees.


We were soon out of the village and wandering along a road surrounded by woodland dotted with more lovely properties, both old and modern homes.  We joined a pathway which led us past meadows with lush grass and wildflowers and in one case a herd of cows with several young calves.  Of course, another pause was needed to admire them.  Everywhere was green and full of the energy of spring.  Above us young oak leaves were bursting into the spring air.  At ground level young bracken fronds were thrusting skyward.  The ditches were strewn with bluebells and stitchwort.


Some of the group opted for the shorter route back to Le Toureil whilst most walkers continued behind Tony, our leader.  At one time, as we came out of woodland into a meadow, the sky looked ominously black and almost immediately the heavens opened.  For several minutes the rain and hail stones fell and the stragglers, unable to take cover under trees, were drenched.  The wind soon dried them out and from then on it was a downhill road past yet more beautiful properties back to the carpark.


Just a short drive away, we soon arrived at our picnic spot.  Although somewhat later than anticipated we weren’t too late to celebrate ‘l’heure de l’apéro’.  Tony offered everyone a glass of bubbles and Christine provided little homemade salmon croissants as canapés before the serious business of eating got underway.  There were plenty of samplings on offer: Japanese seaweed thins from Roy and Yolande, parmesan biscuits from Brendan, Annie’s shortbread biscuits, Jackie’s chilli cheddar, all washed down by Jack-Henry’s excellent 2014 red wine.  The atmosphere was jovial.  Everyone had a good time but all too soon it was time for us to go our separate ways.  Our thanks to Tony for planning such a superb circuit for us.  Please Tony, can we do it again in the autumn?





National Public Speaking Competition Final

Angers, April 1st, 2017


Jeanne Chassereau to represent France in International Public Speaking Competition in London in May.


The English-Speaking Union International Public Speaking Competition was first organized 1980. It is the flagship program of this international educational charity. The ESU International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) is the world’s largest competition of its kind. The winners aged 16 to 20 of national speaking competitions from more than 50 countries come together in London for a week to share ideas and live and compete together.


The French national final took place in Angers last Saturday April 1st from 2 to 5.30 pm organized by The English Speaking Union Loire Valley and its partners Bibliothèque Anglophone d’Angers and La Maison de l’Europe Angers & Maine-et-Loire.


This competition, which is also a community event, represents a unique opportunity to celebrate oracy using the English language.  It also offers all participants a medium to develop confidence, to discover their voices, to be empowered, to broaden their horizons and to realize their full potential.


The opening introductory words were given by Patricia Curd, President of the Loire Valley branch of English-Speaking Union France.  Marie-France Roland, President of the English Language Library in Angers, welcomed the judges and the audience, Phoebe Marshall Raimbeau, Manager of the Library, introduced the candidates and Roy Powell, the Chairman of the competition, explained the rules.


This year, thirteen students from the Lycées Sainte-Agnès, Joachim du Bellay, Saint-Martin, and Sacré Coeur in Angers and Saint-Louis in Saumur competed at Le J, Angers Connectée Jeunesse, in front of a large audience which included Michelle Moreau, 1ere Adjoint de la Ville d’Angers, Michel Guillaneuf, Président d’Honneur de la Maison de l’Europe, ESU Loire Valley members, teachers, families, and friends of the participants as well as the members of the partner associations.


This year’s theme was : “Peace is not an absence of war”.


The judging panel was composed of Julie Armstrong from St Edwards University, Texas; Keith Bloomfield, former ambassador to Nepal; Dr Lucia Dumont Renard, President of the ESU International Council and Vice-president of ESU France; and Jerôme Woodford, retired consultant to the European Commission. 


The speeches delivered in many styles and from various perspectives were outstanding and the judges’ task was difficult. The speakers persuaded, informed, inspired and captivated the audience and the adjudicators, tactfully including evidence, facts, figures, emotional personal stories and histories. They answered the adjudicators’ questions with aptness and sometimes humour. The jury congratulated all the participants. They are all winners.


First place in the competition this year went to Jeanne Chassereau, a pupil at the Lycée Ste Agnès in Angers. Her speech title was: “What if Peace was Boring?”. The runner-up was  Gabrielle Chevrollier (Lycée St Martin) whose speech title was: ” Strange Meeting”. There was a tie for third place : Constance Fournier ( Lycée St Martin) and Laura Joyer ( Lycée Ste Agnès).


Following the announcement of the winners by Dr Lucia Dumont Renard and the presentation of prizes by Michelle Moreau, 1ere Adjoint de la Ville d’Angers, Michel Guillaneuf, Honorary President of the Maison de l’Europe Angers et Maine-et-Loire thanked the candidates, the judges, the audience and the organizers for their contributions to a rewarding and enjoyable afternoon. 


We send Jeanne Chassereau our best wishes for success in the next level of this public speaking competition and for a truly worthwhile experience in London from May 8 to May 12 with 50 ESU international friends.  Her stay in London will be rich with incredible encounters, a unique opportunity to realise her full potential, a valuable platform for exchanges and a fertile soil for developing skills in communication: an undeniable asset in our media-centred world.


The theme for the next round is: “To define is to limit”.


The grand final will be available to live stream on Friday 12th May 2017, from 2pm UK time. To view it please go to the following web address on 12th May - For more information please visit


As president of the International council, my mission is to expand the global reach of the organization, sustain and spread the ESU brand and be its ambassador worldwide so that this organization becomes more visible. I was delighted to thank the organizers, meet and greet the fantastic young people who are confident communicators, critical thinkers, and empowered citizens. They are our future.


Lucia Dumont Renard

President of the English-Speaking Union International Council

Vice-President ESU France







Wine Tasting Luncheon.

17 March 2017


Terry Orner


Thirty Nine ESU members and guests enjoyed a wine-tasting luncheon in the teaching restaurant of the Lycée Sadi Carnot in Saumur on Friday, 17 March 2017.  Cathy Henton of “Le Tasting Room”, was our speaker and our teacher for the day.  Cathy is a qualified wine expert with over 25 years in the business.  Together with her husband, she organises wine tours and educational excursions throughout the Loire Valley.  Cathy provided detailed insight into local wines which she paired with the dishes that were prepared and served by the students at the Sadi Carnot.  She spoke about the varieties of grape that thrive in our region, and accompanied her talk with snippets of the history of various producers in the area and a review of how they had fared in recent years, in particular with regard to varying weather conditions.


In all, four wines were served to accompany the meal.  A Crémant de Loire from the Domaine Leduc Frouin was offered as an aperitif.  An oak matured Anjou blanc from Château du Breuil, Clos de frère Etienne, 2014, complemented a delicious leek and bacon tart.  A Saumur Champigny from Château Yvonne, 2014, was served with the main course of duck and also with the cheese course.  A marvellous Côteaux de l'Aubance, from Château de Prince accompanied the « cafe gourmand » dessert in which our coffee was served alongside crème brulée, fruit salad and a strawberry filled madeleine.  As the dessert was served, John Barrett entertained the group with a short poem in honour of St Patrick's Day.


“Saint Patrick was a gentleman, who through strategy and stealth


Drove all the snakes from Ireland, here's a drink to his health!

But not too many drinks, lest we lose ourselves and then

Forget the good Saint Patrick, and see them snakes again!“


Unknown Author


It had been some years since the ESU-LV last dined at Sadi Carnot, and by the end of lunch we were questioning why this was so.  The meal was excellent, and even more enjoyable was the marvellous service provided by the restaurant students and staff who made every effort to make us welcome, right down to providing personalised menus.


Our thanks to Cathy Henton, to teacher Sophie Guillou, and to all the students who made the day so enjoyable.





Out and About in Angers, ESU Loire Valley, February 27, 2017

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What's going on in the Loire Valley


English Speaking Union Loire Valley

Building worldwide understanding through English


Friday 17 March 2017, promptly at 12 noon



Meal & Wine Tasting


At the training restaurant of the


Lycée Sadi Carnot,



In the company of Cathy Henton, of “Le Tasting Room”


For the past ten years, Cathy and her husband, Nigel, have lived and worked in Cumeray, a village close to the Loire between Angers and Saumur.  Before moving to France, they both gained extensive experience and qualifications in the wine business in the UK.  Cathy worked for a number of large wine and spirit companies in London before setting up her own business specialising in wine education.  Nigel ran a vineyard in Sussex.  Since their move to France in 2006, they have established a wine education and tourism business, “Le Tasting Room”, and welcome people from all over the world to share their expertise in Loire valley wines.  According to Cathy, even an ardent wine lover finds the wines of the Loire valley somewhat of a mystery with the huge range of grape varieties and wine styles available.  Join her for a lesson in the wines of our region.





“Out and About in Angers” 25 February, 2017


Our day “Out and About in Angers” got off to a bright, sunny start on the morning of Saturday 25 February when 30 members and guests congregated in the car park by the Tourist Office in Angers for the start of our tour of the old city.


Julie, our guide for the morning, outlined for us the history of the Château.  In the 9th century, permission was first granted by the Bishop of Angers to the Counts of Anjou for the construction of a castle.  It was built as a fortress on a site once inhabited by the Romans in a strategic defensive position above the river Maine.  Julie talked of the links between the Château and the Plantagenet dynasty and explained that Richard Lionheart at one time held court in Angers.  The Château was expanded to its current size complete with 17 towers in the early part of the 13th century by Louis IX, “Saint Louis”.  Le Bon Roi René was born in one of the towers of the Château in the 15th century.  In the 16th century, Henri III reduced the height of the towers and stripped the castle of its embattlements.  The stone from these edifices was used to build streets and develop the surrounding village.


We walked a short distance to look out over the river Maine towards La Doutre, an area which was developed in the 11th century as part of the original fortified village of Angers.  La Doutre is home to two important Abbeys, l’Abbaye Saint Nicolas, founded in 1021 and l’Abbaye Ronceray, founded in 1028.


Going deeper into the old town along cobbled alleyways we discovered street names with religious links, for example, rue des Filles Dieu, rue Saint Christophe, rue Toussaint.  Before the Revolution of 1789, the whole area was controlled by the Church.  Everyone associated with the church lived there: canons, monks, priests.  The more wealthy and important these people were, the closer they lived to the Cathedral.


We paused by the Logis de Croissant, also called the Maison de la Tour.  It dates from the second half of the 15th century and takes its name from an order of chivalry founded in honour of St. Maurice by Roi René. 


In the 19th century there was a revival of interest in the area and people bought houses around the Cathedral either for themselves or to give to religious communities.  The painting over the doorway of No 7 depicts Saint Francis of Assisi, a reminder that the house once sheltered a sisterhood founded in his name.  In front of the Cathedral, Julie told us that whilst undertaking restoration work, brightly coloured painting was revealed under layers of plaster.  The archaeologists realised there was once a gallery which protected the paint and plans have been made to reconstruct this in order to preserve the colours.


Our tour ended in front of the Maison d’Adam, one of the oldest houses in Angers.  Now a gift shop, it was originally built as an apothecary in 1490.  It is a timber framed building beautifully decorated with carvings.  Although some of these were destroyed during the Revolution, the building is still adorned with carvings: musicians, lovers, religious symbols, centaurs, and on the corner, an apple tree from which the building takes its name.


Having thanked our guide, Julie, we made our way to the Punjab restaurant where we were joined by several non-walking members and a guest.  At first sight, the restaurant appeared too small to accommodate the 38 people in our group.  Obviously a popular venue, other customers were shown to a separate room and eventually they overflowed to the tables outside.  Despite reservations expressed mainly by our French members about eating spicy food, the dishes were mild to suit all tastes with extra spicy sauce was provided for those brave enough to try it.  For many of us it was a first visit to the restaurant: for some it was an initiation into Indian food.  The verdict was unanimous – we shall certainly return again.


La-La Land

After having enjoyed far too much lunch in the form of an excellent selection of Indian cuisine at The Punjab, several members staggered to see La-La Land at 400 Coups Cinema.  The film has received many awards and was nominated for an Oscar. 

It is a musical telling the love story of an aspiring actress who works in a Hollywood coffee shop whilst auditioning unsuccessfully for plays and films and a jazz purist who scrapes a living playing piano where he can but dreams of having his own jazz club. 

Eventually success arrives for them both but their desire to achieve their individual goals sees them heading in completely different directions.  After five years they meet again by accident and we find that they have both achieved their aims, the girl is a successful actress and the guy has his own jazz club but their love affair has not survived.

A romantic musical with some great song and dance numbers and a haunting theme which reappears throughout the film. 

Whether it lived up to the enormous hype generated round the film is debatable but it was a great end to a lovely day in Angers.  Thanks go to the committee and everyone involved in organising today’s event.

With thanks to Jackie Sheppard


The film which had originally fired our imagination was not shown until late afternoon.  Some members took advantage of the opportunity to visit the shops in Angers before making their way to the 400 Coups Cinema.

This is a true and moving story set in 1986.  Superbly acted, and packed with local colour, it concerns a 5 year old Indian boy, Saroo, from Khandwa who, with his brother, steals coal from freight trains to trade for food.  One day he gets carried off on a train and transported thousands of miles across India to Kolkata.  He has to quickly adapt to street life in order to survive.  Eventually he is put in an orphanage and three months later he is adopted by an Australian couple and moves to Hobart, Tasmania with them.

Twenty years on, Saroo has moved to Melbourne and has made some Indian friends.  Through them he is reminded of his childhood and starts to use Google Earth to search for his hometown in India.  One evening, he recognises a rock formation and finds the district of Khandwa.  He returns to his hometown where he has an emotional reunion with his biological mother and discovers he has been mispronouncing his name, Sheru, a diminutive for Sher, the Hindi word for ‘lion’.

This moving story ends with actual footage of the people involved.  Watching it was a lovely way to end the day out in Angers.

With thanks to Monique Hay








English Speaking Union Loire Valley

Building worldwide understanding through English




Saturday 25 February 2017, from 10.15 am



Out and About in Angers


Starting at 10.30 am sharp


“From the Castle to the Cathedral”

A short tour with an English Speaking Guide


At 12.15 pm


Lunch at the Punjab Restaurant

12 rue Pocquet de Livonnières,


In the Afternoon



A film by Garth Davies

English Version, with Subtitles


Cinema 400 Coups,

12, rue Claveau






Save the date :

21st January 2017

English Speaking Union Loire Valley Building worldwide understanding through English Saturday 21st January 2017, from 11.45 am Lunch at « La Grange », Varennes-sur-Loire Be ready to “Button up Your Overcoats” and journey with member, Victor Leray on the trip he made to Svalbard in July 2014. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago which lies between mainland Norway and the North Pole. It is one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas, and is known for its rugged, remote terrain of glaciers and frozen tundra and astonishing wildlife. In the Maine et Loire the average temperature for July is 18º; in Svalbard in July the average daytime temperatures are only between 3º and 7º! In January they average -13º to -20º!

Learn more:



Christmas Lunch

December 3rd

restaurant La Gogagne, Trélazé


40 members and friends of the ESU Loire Valley gathered to herald in the festive season at “La Gogane” restaurant in Andard and enjoy the annual pre-Christmas lunch together on Saturday, 3rd December 2016.

Outside the sun was shining.  Inside there was Christmas spirit in abundance.  The excellent meal was accompanied by seasonal entertainment and traditional English touches such as Christmas crackers, paper crowns and mince pies.

Once the crackers had been pulled, the paper crowns donned and the corny jokes exchanged and explained, the Chairman, Patricia Curd, welcomed everyone and invited them to raise their glasses to absent friends.  Master of ceremonies for the day, Michael Small, then called for the entertainment to start.

Amidst much laughter John Barritt gave an excellent rendition of a poem by Pam Ayres: “The Satnav”.  This was especially appreciated by the men in the room; though not so much by their wives!

As plates were cleared away between each course, members continued to entertain their friends.  Tony Oakley sang three songs accompanying himself with both guitar and mouth organ.  Starting with a traditional number he then responded to popular request with a rendition of The Wurzels’ “Market Gardener” before breaking into Billy Connolly’s “The Welly Boot Song”.

Jackie Sheppard and Irene Small then gave a humorous parody of “My Favourite Things”, a song made famous by Julie Andrews’ in “The Sound of Music”.  Set to the original tune created by Richard Rogers, their tongue in cheek version of the song dealt with the many issues of growing old.

During a lull in the proceedings time was found to draw the raffle.  There were many super prizes.  Some had been generously donated by members and some were typically ‘English’ prizes purchased in the UK.

The final act was by magician Tony Coleman, who presented the audience with a bunch of tulips: magic tulips which wilted one by one every time an untruth was spoken.  Of course, the bouquet didn’t last very long.  Tony was assisted somewhat timorously by Christine Rutherford who cut a piece of cord which then to her amazement miraculously mended itself.  John Sheppard didn’t fair quite so well when he assisted Tony in the finale and he found himself serving as a toilet roll holder!

The afternoon’s entertainment finished with a Christmas ‘sing-song’, when all those present joined together to sing traditional Christmas carols and songs under the leadership of Anne Latrille and Roy Powell. 

All too soon it was time to go home after a really enjoyable afternoon and a splendid start to the festive season. 

The food was excellent; the entertainment was too.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the day: to members of the committee for organising the meal and the programme; to Jackie and John Sheppard for shopping for the event in the UK; to all who contributed prizes to the raffle; to the entertainers who had worked so hard to perfect their performances; to all who contributed in other ways to the organisation; and in particular to all who attended the meal and made this such a special day.


To all our members and friends “We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.  May 2017 bring worldwide peace and understanding.


ESU France Loire Valley, December 2016






What's going on in Paris

Dear Friends,

We are delighted to invite you to a very special talk by Susan M. Sandover who will tell us about the life she lived as the wife of a Libyan diplomat.

‘Libya a Love Lived, a Life Betrayed 9/36’

An illustrated talk by Susan M Sandover whose memoir depicts her marriage to a career Libyan diplomat under the Gadaffi regime, his family's attempts to destroy their relationship, and the full force of Sharia inheritance law following his death. Her talk will give details of being married to a career Libyan diplomat, of what she saw, heard and came to know during their 33-year marriage along with her vast insider knowledge on Libya's political, social and cultural history. A great opportunity to learn, first hand, about Libyan society.

SUSAN M. SANDOVER was brought up in London, where she still works as a language tutor for foreign children living in London. Over the years, she has become a passionate educator working with charitable organisations amongst which the ESU London and pro bono students. Most recently, she has written the website material for Macmillan Publishing English Exams and appeared and produced support films.

The talk, followed by drinks and canapés, will take place at

Maison des Associations du 7ème arrondissement

4 rue Amélie

75 007 Paris

on Thursday 11 May 2017 at 6pm. (the door will open at 5.45pm)

Please answer before May Send your reply and cheque of 10 euros per person to:

ESU Paris 8 Villa de Ségur 75 007 Paris

Luce Loussouarn, President ESU Paris



Wednesday, March 15


The Beauty Way to a successful education

Lucia Dumont Renard who holds a PhD in indigenous studies and lived on the Navajo reservation, will take you to the South West of the United States and present how the Navajos who call themselves Diné (meaning the People), have managed to overcome educational and life challenges and thrive academically by learning in Beauty. 

Maison des Associations du 7ème

4, rue Amélie, 75007 Paris


Participation 10 euros per person

Please send your reply and cheque payable to ESU Paris before March 10th to:

Agnès SAGOT 6 rue Magenta 78000 Versailles





Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 at 2pm

Musée de Minéralogie

Ecole des Mines de Paris

60 Bld St Michel, Paris

The museum collection comes from a private cabinet of the 18th century and has been enriched with the gems which belonged to the Crown and so appeared on famous paintings from Francis I, Louis XIV to Napoleon III. We saw some of them in Winterhalter’s paintings of Empress Eugénie. If most of them were sold away by the Third Republic some can still be seen in the Louvre and in this museum

Please answer as soon as possible and before January 28th, the number of participants is limited. Luce Loussouarn 


Contacts :




Phone number…………………………………………………………………..

Will attend and send the reply with a cheque payable to ESU Paris for 10 euros per member to :

Agnès Sagot 6 rue Magenta 78 000 Versailles



                                                  Inside Politics 

           Conference by the Rt Hon Lord Young of Cookham CH

                                     Friday, January 20th at 19.30

                       Restaurant du Sénat , Salon Napoleon III

                           15 ter Rue de vaugirard, 75006 Paris



Lord YOUNG of Cookham ( 20 January 2017)

Name : …………………………………………………………………………………………......

will attend the dinner party with………………………………………………………..

Phone number……………………………………………………………………………............

I enclose a cheque of 50 euros per member***

***Champagne aperitif is offered by the ESU for the New Year 2017

Please send your cheque payable to ESU Paris and tag before January 13th to :

Agnès Sagot 6 rue Magenta 78 000 Versailles

                                  Contacts :






                                                           ESU Paris latest Newletter

                                                                           August 2016







What's going on in Strasbourg


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