Intensive English Immersion

 May 7 -13 2018 / June 25 - July 1 2018 / Oct 1 to Oct 8 2018 (Regular Photography Retreat also Possible with our ESL Group)


This retreat program is designed for you to experience completely in English and assist you on your way to your proficiency exams, or perhaps you just need to practice for personal experience. You will spend your week long visit practicing with the group in real life situations and we will end our week with a fun treasure hunt in English. Your host/guide is a native English speaker from Western Canada and is available to coach you if you need a little extra help.  

We will explore the10 sleepy villages of Cap Ferret with our retreat property as our basecamp. Daily adventures off property exploring the area and meeting our local experts and friends at different times of day by the beach, the colourful oyster cabanas, the light house, the WW2 german bunkers, and the ancient gallo roman ruins nearby. Don't worry, we make sure you have an hour or so of personal time every day to study, email, or nap during mid-day sun.  Nightly *cocktail hour followed by a group dinner in the casual dining room upstairs in the main house. We wrap up every evening with a group image discussion in English on the big screen with tea, coffee,*cocktails or wine in our classroom, or **weather permitting, poolside. Our last outing of the week is a day-long excursion to the beautiful Unesco World Heritage village of ST Emilion, lunch in a highly recommended bistro on the outskirts of town, and after, a photography-op tour/***tasting at one of the many family owned Vineyards of some of the worlds finest wines. The practice you will experience at our retreat property will help prepare you for daily conversations in English.

*Cocktails/Mocktails or organic smoothies **Weather permitting is only a guideline, for daily retreat activities, we will photograph rain or shine so please come with appropriate protective gear.**Wine tasting is optional

Trip Itinerary


Arrival at Basecamp all day, check in at 15:00 hrs. If you arrive prior to 15:00 hrs, we can store your bags until your room is ready. If your flights don't line up, you can book your stay for an extra day(s) before or after the retreat. We'll start with a welcome cocktail reception beginning at 17:00 hrs where we'll do official introductions, go over our itinerary, and a brief Q and A about our coming adventures. A light pasta meal will be served for dinner at 19:00 hrs with a plate of seasonal fresh fruit and market cheeses afterwards. Optional night photo tour to the lighthouse and the Byzantine church for anyone who wants to participate. 


Early first breakfast before sunrise and optional photo op of the sunrise on the Bassin side. Back to Basecamp for second breakfast and meet up with the late crew. Today will be an easy day of beach in English on the atlantic side of the cape with a picnic lunch (**weather permitting). Using the sand, ocean, and the sky as our classroom, we'll discuss the weather, sand castles, shells, driftwood and dunes, the ocean, the tides, and stuff in the beach bag. We'll head back to Basecamp for personal time ( emailing, showering, or a jet lag nap), or you can stay at the beach. Driver will return to pick you up at the edge of the boardwalk at 16:45 hrs. Cocktails at 17:00 hrs until dinner at 19:00 hrs. We'll have Barbecue on the Poolside terrace, **weather permitting, and then our evening 'Shop Talk and image presentation'. 


Today is an early start to catch the ferry to Arcachon by 09:30 hrs directly after breakfast. We'll head to Halle Market to shop and wander the streets by the boardwalk for the morning. Today is a self catered lunch day. You can get anything reasonably priced and fresh from the market and have lunch on the beach or on a park bench in a quiet spot close to the market. There are plenty of Brasseries and snack shops with crepes, waffles, and beach food nearby as well as a dozen tasty Boulangeries scattered through the town site. After lunch, we'll meet up by the Hotel du Ville (city hall), and take the outdoor elevator up to the Winter City to view and discuss some unique architecture, and summer estates of some of France's most historical and famous authors, musicians, and artists. Our ferry back to the cape leaves the jetee at 17:00 hrs and we'll make it back to Basecamp for cocktails (depending on traffic) by 18:00 hrs. Dinner at 19:00 hrs of Traditional Poulet Basque with a Rice Pilaf. Our Evening Shop Talk will begin right after dinner.


This day will start off with first breakfast for the early risers before sunrise, and an optional tour to the light house, the point, and maybe the Byzantine Church in Herbe. Heading back to Basecamp for 08:30 hrs, second breakfast, and then catch our private boat tour of the Bassin Coastline with picnic lunch on board or at a beach stop. This day will include the Famous Birds Island (L'Isle aux Oiseaux) with its stilted cabins, Dune du Pilat, and the colourful Oyster cabanas that dot the Bassin shores. Part of our day will be out in the mid-day sun, please bring sunscreen/hat/polarizers/filters. We'll head back to the Jetee afterwards and make it back to Basecamp for cocktails, and dinner by 19:00 hrs of French Savory Crepes, followed by Sweet Filled Crepes, and then our nightly Shop Talk. 


Early riser day today with a breakfast and road snacks packed for us by our caterer, we will make the 1 hr 45 minute drive to ST Emillion for a morning of fun adventures English in this lovely little UNESCO World Heritage site. We'll wander the streets together (or separately) and explore the historical buildings of ST Emilion until 11:45 hrs and then meet up to explore the Church before heading to our secret gourmet lunch hideout. (A not to be missed local palate pleaser). After our self catered lunch, we'll visit one of the oldest family run vineyards in the area for a tour and photo opportunities and a wine tasting afterwards. On the drive back to Basecamp, we'll have an opportunity to snack on fresh cured meats (veggie/gluten free option available), rich French cheeses, and Baguette, with beverages before arriving at one of our local hangouts for a Salad and Summer Pizza for our dinner. Afterwards, we'll head directly to 'Shop Talk' and make preparations for our next day's Fun Photo Treasure Hunt in the classroom.

DAY 6 

Saturday morning will be fully optional and serving second breakfast only (coffee, tea, and filtered water is available in the guest area 24 hrs a day), 08:30 - 09:00 hrs. After our meal we'll take a 1/2 hour break to prepare and then head out on our Fun Treasure Hunt by 09:30 hrs. The treasure hunt will consist of an English list of items, buildings, and areas to photograph with your group to help you recognise and identify different things in English, by sight. We'll be going to the Fresh Market in Andernos at 09:00 hrs to wander the town for a couple of hours and find our items. We'll be meeting back at the market by 11:45 hrs and return to Basecamp for lunch together. Our mid-day meal will consist of Tapenade with fresh raw vegetables and dips, baguette, cheeses, and seasonal fresh fruit. The treasure hunt teams will have the afternoon to check their lists and find any remaining items or ask for help completing the list. We'll meet back at Basecamp for 17:00 hrs cocktails, last dinner together ,and our treasure hunt review. In the review, you'll be asked to present a short story about your treasure hunt in English. Afterwards, we encourage you to take the time to exchange contact information with each other and stay in touch. Theres nothing more important than talking shop with another artist and learning from new people to expand your craft. 

DAY 7 

Sunday Breakfast between 08:30 hrs and 10:30 hrs with check out by 10:30 hrs. If you need extra days, let us know so we can accommodate your flight schedule and book your room accordingly. 


*If you require transportation to/from Bordeaux Merignac Airport, we would be happy to send a pick-up for a 'less than taxi fare'. We recommend a car rental if you need to travel outside of our schedule.