Those living at our home in Chippenham hopped across the Channel with a spot of armchair tourism

A virtual visit to the Eiffel Tower, a Monet-inspired painting class and French cuisine enjoyed in café-style surroundings. These were some of the delights those living at Leonora Home, Chippenham were treated to as part of a series of multi-sensory activities for the summer holiday season.

“The inspiration for a French theme came from our residents,” says Joanna White, Activities Coordinator at Leonora Home. “We have several former missionaries living with us who speak French fluently – one lady, who served in the Congo for example. And many of those living with us remember French from having learnt it at school.”

Through taking part in French conversation, residents had the opportunity to exercise their memory skills, stimulating social interaction. “One gentleman, who often doesn’t say very much at all, was able to produce the correct phrase for ordering food in our French-style café. Another lady was able to help me with my pronunciation. I think they were pleased to discover how much they still knew,” says Joanna.

Conversation flowed as residents recounted memories of previous trips to France. “One lady described to me walking down the tree-lined Champs Elysées, famous for its posh shops,” says Joanna.

As well as bringing back the memories, residents also had the opportunity to try new things. As part of the Monet-inspired painting class, participants followed a step-by-step guide, seeing their painting take shape before their eyes. “One lady said to me ‘I haven’t done anything like this before’,” says Joanna. “She couldn’t quite believe what she’d managed to produce.”


The virtual trip to the Eiffel Tower was made possible thanks to an internet-link, with a realistic lift simulation that made viewers feel like they were really moving. Even for those who had visited before there were new things to see, like the ice rink installed on the Eiffel Tower’s first floor and the opportunity to ‘walk’ across a glass ceiling.

The French activities culminated with a special French meal served in ‘Restaurant Leonora’ by talented cordon bleu chef ‘Oh la la Bev la’ who donned a beret specially for the occasion. Diners were treated to a menu of typical French dishes – a starter of French onion soup followed by boeuf bourguignon or quiche Lorraine, with sides of ratatouille and boulangère potatoes. Dessert was a choice of tarte tatin or crêpes suzette, with crêpes cooked before the eyes on a hot plate.

Following the activities, staff decided to frame the Monet paintings and hang in them in the dining room where they can be admired by all - a colourful addition to the walls, and a lasting memory.

At Pilgrims’ Friend Society, we believe everyone should have the chance to enjoy fulfilled living in their later years. Could you make your home with us? Find out more about Leonora Home, or see our full list of locations