Château de Sauveterre

From September 2020, girls will be given the unique experience of living at Château de Sauveterre, with its beautiful hilltop setting and views across to the Pyrenees.

An immersive adventure

From September 2020, the Lower School term in France will offer a unique opportunity to experience 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. The school, Château de Sauveterre, is situated approximately 50 kilometres southwest of Toulouse, and it is here that we provide a safe, secure and inspiring environment for the girls.

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

See the Downe House Sauveterre term dates.

Directeur of Sauveterre

The girls will be expertly cared for by the School’s Directeur, Simon Bird, and his wife Fabienne. Together they will oversee the pastoral, academic and cultural provision at the school. Simon was previously Assistant Head at Brambletye and before this was a senior school Housemaster at Royal Russell. He has also been Head of German at Canford and Head of Modern Languages at Caterham School. Fabienne worked alongside Simon to run the Boys’ boarding at Brambletye and, prior to this, was Head of Modern Languages at Royal Russell and a class teacher at Copthorne School. Fabienne is a French national and leads the provision of Learning Support at Sauveterre. They have two children, Chloe and James.

A holistic education

The term in France 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 whilst 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 term at Château de Sauveterre will see the girls working closely with the local community where they will be involved in charity work, opportunities for collaborative projects with pupils of a similar age, a partnership with a local primary school where the girls teach English, and performing concerts for elderly members of the community.

Teaching and learning

The curriculum at Château de Sauveterre will take advantage of the fact 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 will be employing a variety of teaching methods to engage and stimulate learners.

The curriculum at Château de Sauveterre

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

We will 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 will be regularly assessed throughout the term and a full written report will be published at the end of the term.

Contact us

If you have any enquiries about Château de Sauveterre please contact our Admissions team.

Tel: 01635 204701


A term in France – Château de Sauveterre term dates

Michaelmas 2020

Thursday 10 SeptemberTERM BEGINS
Saturday 17 OctoberLong Exeat begins
Monday 2 NovemberLong Exeat ends
Sunday 12 DecemberTERM ENDS

Lent 2021

Thursday 7 JanuaryTERM BEGINS
Thursday 11 FebruaryLong Exeat begins
Monday 22 FebruaryLong Exeat ends
Thursday 25 MarchTERM ENDS



Le Château de 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, that there are several “Sauveterre” villages in France. Make sure it is the correct one, in the Gers (postcode 32220).