The Downe House Sauveterre Experience

Pupils in the Lower Fourth (Year 8) at Downe House have the unique experience of spending up to a term at our château in Sauveterre, with its beautiful hilltop setting and views across to the Pyrenees.

An immersive adventure

The best thing about Sauveterre is that you get totally immersed in French culture
Dominica, Lower Fourth

The Sauveterre experience offers a unique opportunity to participate in life in the stunning Gers region in the South of France. All members of the Lower Fourth (Year 8) take part in this great adventure, which becomes a highlight of their education at Downe House. Our school, Downe House Sauveterre, is situated approximately 50 kilometres south-west of Toulouse, and it is here that we provide a safe, secure and inspiring environment for the girls.

The 18th Century Château is set in a nine-acre park, containing woodland, football pitches, tennis courts and plenty of space for other outdoor activities.

A holistic education

The Sauveterre experience is designed to provide each girl with the opportunity to immerse herself in a new culture. Teaching and learning are of the utmost importance and girls inevitably make enormous progress in French. They can also expect to be challenged intellectually and personally on a daily basis, becoming more independent and confident as a result.

School-based learning is supported by an extensive and stimulating programme of trips including visits to historical sites, local areas of interest, and a variety of sporting activities. The pupils’ time in Sauveterre will see the girls working closely with the local community where they will be involved in charity work and opportunities for collaborative projects with pupils of a similar age.

Teaching and learning

The curriculum at Downe House Sauveterre takes advantage of the fact that we are located in one of the most stunning regions of France. This unique area, rich in art, history and geography becomes a natural extension to the classroom through a carefully designed programme of ‘sorties’ or outings.

The environment for learning here is of an exceptional nature. The school is set in beautiful forested grounds, from where you can see the snow-peaked mountains of the Pyrenees. The buildings themselves retain their original charm from their time as a noble private home, especially as the Château was acquired with all of its original furnishings and paintings.

The classrooms are equipped with state of the art AV/IT facilities to support our Microsoft Showcase School status here in the UK, and we employ a variety of teaching methods to engage and stimulate learners.

The curriculum at Downe House Sauveterre

All lessons except Mathematics are delivered in French as far as is practical. We differentiate language lessons for bilingual pupils and girls who are relatively inexperienced in the subject.

We maintain close links with academic departments in the UK and girls will study French, History, English, Geography and Mathematics, alongside distinct subjects such as SVT (Sciences de la Vie et de la Terre). Cookery and Textiles are included in the curriculum, together with Music, Drama and Art. Girls are regularly assessed throughout the term and a full written report shared at the end of their visit.

Co-curricular activities

Opportunities abound for exciting trips and activities linked to curriculum studies and beyond – life at Downe House Sauveterre is an immersive adventure!
Recent activities have included a trip to the highest point in the Pyrenees – the Pic du Midi – with spectacular views at the top, a hugely entertaining talent show, a trip to the Canal du Midi, canoeing, Zumba, a French geography quiz, a visit to a climbing and adventure park, and of course, a trip to the Mediterranean to enjoy games on the beach and even a dip in the sea!

Parents are invited to follow their daughter’s life in France via a private social media group as well as receiving regular newsletters.



Downe House Sauveterre is situated in the Gers departement in the south-west of France, approximately 50 kilometres south west of Toulouse, roughly three-quarters of an hour travelling time from Toulouse-Blagnac airport. It is set in a nine acre park, containing woodland, sports pitches and tennis courts, and lies just below Sauveterre Village – a hilltop settlement, with fine views across to the Pyrenees. It is three kilometres from the nearest small town, Lombez.

NB: Please be aware that, if you are using GPS navigation, there are several “Sauveterre” villages in France. Make sure it is the correct one, in the Gers (postcode 32220).

Want to know more?

If you have any enquiries about the Sauveterre experience, please contact our Admissions team.

Tel: 01635 204701

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