In 2014, Centre Bon Accueil in central France was bought as a Plymouth Brethren school to cater for over 100 students. The buildings, steeped in history, have required a lot of restoration. Read on to learn more: 

Plymouth Brethren France


In 1835 the boarding school “Notre-Dame” was established just outside the town of Vienne. It belonged to the feminine religious order “Compagnie Notre-Dame” for young girls’ education.   From 1851 to 1880, new buildings and the chapel completed the institution. In 1905, due to new secularity laws the nuns went into exile in Holland.   The building was then bought as a private boarding school and the running of it was entrusted to a non-religious body.   From 1914 to 1920, it was transformed into a hospital under the name “Bon Accueil” (this translates to Good Welcome).   During World War 2, the building became a school again and housed numerous refugees.   SInce 1945 more buildings were added and it operated as a boarding school with numbers up to 500 pupils. It ceased operation abruptly in 2012. The school was left as it was, right down to piles of books, and scientific equipment remaining.


Plymouth Brethren France

Plymouth Brethren France

Preparing the Centre for use as a school

This investment in the future of children has been very positively supported by the members of the PBCC in France. The buildings and property offer great options and facilities. It is located in an effective area; Vienne is in the crossroads of motorways, and only 33 km south of the city of Lyon.

Since the beginning of March this year, the Plymouth Brethren have been doing extended volunteer work to refurbish the “Bon Accueil” centre, which will not only be used as a school but also as a business center. Their goal is to finish all the necessary work so the pupils can start their school year in September. It will cater for numerous children from different places in the Rhône-Alpes area, from distances up to 100 km away.

The local council also looks at the work in a favourable light as it had hoped the school would remain as such instead of being developed. The council is also glad to see the Brethren are improving the standard of the buildings.

Plymouth Brethren France

A completed classroom, ready for students!

With cheerfulness and enthusiasm, the Plymouth Brethren are applying their hands to the work. Everybody has a job! If not as a labourer, it is catering or cleaning. The building has to be modernized to suit today’s teaching practices. There will be a self-directed learning area and areas for Virtual Classrooms, as well as IT Rooms, and conference rooms.

Plymouth Brethren France

Every volunteer is important – Everyone enjoys lunch provided by PBCC members.

The young people who volunteer definitely enjoy the work as it develops their knowledge and experience in manual labour. They experience a sense of community as they all working towards a common goal. Furthermore, they are having fun! When the sun is shining bright and the temperature pushing 35°C, some buckets of water find their way down people’s backs as they work – all in good spirit, of course!

From the start, Plymouth Brethren members have been coming to help from all over France. Internationally, it is also an opportunity for visitors from Germany, England, Switzerland and more to come and give a hand, and, in the meantime, catch up with friends!

Plymouth Brethren France

The works are on track to be completed in time for school to start in September.

Vienne 1

Vienne 2

32 thoughts on “CENTRE BON ACCUEIL”

  1. :) says:

    i’d LOVE 2 c the vids!!!!!

  2. Your children must be thrilled to be in such a beautiful school after all the hard work that was put into getting it ready for the by September.

  3. meeeeee says:

    verey good

  4. CJW says:

    We are watching this project with great interest. What a tremendous asset and marvellous facility. How many students will attend the school?
    And how many staff will attend?
    How long will it take to travel the 100km?

  5. secret....... says:

    an amazing building!!!! keep it up guys! it looks great!!!!! now it’s the students turn to “work” in the buildings!! a different kind of walk though!
    Come on kids : FIRED UP?????? READY TO GO TO SCHOOL??? FIRED UP???

    Good on you frenchies! you’ve done an amazing work.

    1. Moi says:

      This place has to be seen to be believed. The photos and videos don’t really give an impression of the size of the building, or the character. A great experience to go an help get the new school ready for September. A lot of hard work and effort, along with an incredible team spirit, has gone into making this big challenge a success! Shows what can be done when a load of frenchies (and others) put our hearts and minds and backs into making something a sucess, non?

  6. Teddy says:

    Truly amazing building!! Saw it six months ago, in its original state, and was v impressed – looking forward to seeing it once it’s ready for use!!!

  7. Myself says:

    I can honestly say it’s been an awsome experience to work in Bon Accueil.
    Trust the first week of school went on O.K.

  8. October says:

    Admin, please can you look into why we can’t view the videos, I think the website might need whitelisting….

  9. Guf says:

    Video’s not working???

  10. interesting says:

    interesting video.
    the one when it zooms up on the speaker.

  11. Betsy says:

    How can i make the videos play?? When i click on them it comes up “blocked”…??!!

  12. Me says:


  13. mee no2 says:

    the videos say that they are not working. ?????/

  14. Luke P says:

    well done…awesome school, would love to see it!!

  15. MET Oat says:

    This is an awesome old building with an incredible history. How many lacolities will it serve for schooling and business centres?? Here in Australia we have begun using the new Learning Centres and they are excellent for increaseing grades and student discipline. Keep up the good work… we are all praying for you.

    1. S1 says:

      @MET Oat
      Maybe you should go back to the learning centre for spelling lessons??!!
      Try “localities” and “increasing” 🙂

      From an ex-MET student

  16. What a difference from when I saw it in July. Your children are fortunate to have such a wonderful facility.

  17. Aussie says:

    I’ve been watching the progress via their newsletters and it’s been amazing……wish I could go and have a visit. 🙂

    Keep up the good work.

  18. excellant work, congratulations to all .

  19. MEEEE!! says:

    Lucky kids!!!
    A brilliant environment to work and achieve outstanding grades in!! Go for it and make your years at school count for your future.

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