Château du Trichot is a fine château situated in the beautiful region of Lot-et-Garonne, in south-west France. It dates in part from the 12th century and is set in extensive private grounds totalling 18 acres and with its own vineyard. It has a majestic stone staircase, high vaulted ceilings, ancient oak beams and large fireplaces.
The cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse are both an hour and a half away to the west and south-east respectively, and the Château itself is situated five kilometres from Tournon d’Agenais, a hilltop bastide town dating from the 12th century. The area is renowned for its historic towns, beautiful chateaux, numerous vineyards and fine cuisine.
Château du Trichot enables Brockhurst and Marlston House Schools to provide wider opportunities than many other preparatory schools in the country. The schools have exclusive use of the château during March and all pupils aged between eleven and twelve spend time studying French intensively during their stay. Teachers from the two schools staff the château with the help of a French housekeeper, a French cook and local French teachers.
The children undertake an intensive programme of work designed to give them the greatest possible opportunity to practise spoken French. Visits are organised to the surrounding towns and villages, where they complete quizzes and questionnaires, interview local people and purchase some of their provisions from local shops and weekly markets. Classes back at the château are conducted in French and they are expected to converse in French at mealtimes.
This type of stay allows the children to become involved in the life of the local community, broadening their outlook and knowledge of another culture. They are able to progress rapidly in fluency and to gain greater confidence in spoken French.
There are opportunities each day for relaxation and leisure activities: the château has a heated outdoor pool, hard tennis court and table tennis table. Pupils are also able to play basketball in the local sports hall.
The whole programme of work is designed as an excellent preparation for the Common Entrance and Scholarship French examinations to senior independent schools and offers the broader gains of increased self-confidence, the ability to work in a group and general self-reliance.
At other times of year, the chateau is available for rent subject to availability. It makes an ideal base for a family holiday to the region.