We share the beauty of nature and humanity, and our love of the cultural and linguistic diversity of the World.

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About us

Gilles and Zarina Berger have created la Maison de St Claire to share their love of the best of the French language and culture. In April 2000, they left their fast-paced life in Sydney to live harmoniously with nature in a healthy environment, becoming self-efficient and eating fresh organic food. Bringing the expertise they both have and desiring to share their love of the Australian natural environment, the cultural and linguistic diversity of the world, they founded la Maison de Ste Claire. Here, they also brought up their three children; Adérina, Arman and Angéline.

2000: Cultural and Linguistics Residential Immersion Centre for French “Experience la Petite France”.

2009: La Maison de Ste Claire Publications: French workbooks for comprehension, writing and phonetic work with CDs.

2014: La Maison de Ste Claire Hybrid French Online Courses: Designed for personal development and independent learning via an innovative and intuitive pedagogy.

2016: French Immersion Program at your premises for workshops, professional development and French for special purposes for the Corporate World (Legal, Economy, Commerce and Technical).

“Passion and excellence. We discover the hidden linguistics genius in every individual.
We rediscover the hidden linguistics genius in you.”

Your Host, Linguistics Consultant and Primary Hybrid French Online Program Designer

Gilles Berger, PhD, was born in Grandvillars, France and migrated to Australia in 1986 as a lecturer at Sydney University. He has a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics and a Bachelor of Law Degree. In October 2015, Dr. Gilles Berger was awarded the highest distinction from the Sciences du langage, the University of Franche-Comté, Besançon, France, for a PhD in Applied Linguistics for his research on the Hybrid French Online Program for Française Langue Etrangère (FLE) or French as a Foreign Language. This has enabled la Maison de Ste Claire to apply various new approaches to keep abreast with the cutting-edge technology in language learning.

Dr. Berger has taught at the Centre of Applied Linguistics (CLA), University of Besançon, France, the University of Sydney, Sydney Grammar School and at la Maison de Ste Claire. He has also conducted workshops in French Learning for Specific Purposes, for business and private organisations, produced books, e-books and published two French novels, with one translated into English.

Extracts of the references from former employees and students

"Gilles Berger was a brilliant classroom teacher .... he gave his students the ability to speak French, frequently to the point of fluency, by going far beyond the bounds of the traditional French teacher.." Ben Urwand, Doctoral Program in Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago. “He was the outstanding teacher of French of the decade. Intelligent boys flourished under his tuition, to the extent that boys taught by him were way ahead of their peers when they went to university. His teaching was widely regarded as quite inspiring ... He is a most unusual person, combining imagination with wisdom" Dr. R. D. Townsend, Headmaster, Oundle, England. "M. Berger is a man of great culture and civilisation, and an absolutely first class teacher... Boys studying French here now leave with a good working knowledge of the language as a conversational tool, as well as a sound acquaintance with its literature. M. Berger's achievement here has been quite extraordinary." Dr. J. T. Vallance, Headmaster, Sydney Grammar School.

Your Hostess and Manager

Zarina Ahmad-Berger was born in Malaysia, won a scholarship to attend Sekolah Menengah Sains Selangor (SMSS), a prestigious fully residential school in Kuala Lumpur and arrived in Sydney in 1985 for her tertiary education in Sydney Australia after winning a scholarship. She then obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Surveying (Geomatic Engineering), a Master’s Degree in Engineering Science and won an engineering scholarship for a PhD in Satellite Technology in 1998 from the University of NSW. Zarina worked at the University of NSW from 1990 to 2000 in R&D in consultation of various engineering projects connected with the applications of satellite technology to provide the framework for major infrastructure in positioning, including transportation, building industries and monitoring the sea-level. Her projects have been carried out within Australia and overseas, such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Madagascar. Her expertise varies from conducting engineering research, running workshops for technology transfer to project management.

Zarina has been managing la Maison de Ste Claire since 2000.

French on-line Program Designer

Norbert Bouchard is from Franche-Comté and has an impressive teaching record throughout his career as an educator. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Literature. A humanist, Norbert has always been involved in various humanitarian projects with his students in Africa, and in his own community in France. He is married to Isabelle, and they have two children together. Norbert lives in Besançon, France.

Activities Coordinator

Originating from Nice, France, Sylvia Bossie is a fun-loving extrovert whom our students enjoy having French cooking lessons with. She has a bubbly personality and enjoys the company of people. Sylvia lives in Crystal Creek, northern NSW with her family.

Tweed Coast Transfers and Tours

Alex and Faye Bowie are owners of the transfer company providing transport for our excursions and return airport transfers from the Gold Coast Airport and la Maison de Sainte Claire. Alex is a professional, competent driver and an easy-going Aussie.

Food supplies at la Maison de Sainte Claire

  • All our meats come from the Southern Cross Organic Butcher in Murwillumbah.
  • Fresh food supplies are obtained fresh from local producers, and from our own organic vegetable garden and orchard.
  • Other suppliers are the Blue Bay Gourmet, Byron Bay and France Gourmet, Brisbane.
  • We serve food from organic and/or biodynamic ingredients and/or fresh produce whenever possible.
  • Drink water supply is the energised Grander Water.

Join the Multi-lingual Community of the World

The la Maison de Ste Claire experience offers a revolutionary and intuitive pedagogy, combining cutting-edge technology and age-old wisdom. What does this mean? With the Hybrid French Online Course, the team can implement the Flipped Classroom environment that frees the classroom time for more interaction for the oral and written work, and promoting group discussions. Furthermore, the team also applies the project-based learning with an actional approach, where the students play the part of the major actor as opposed to passive learners in their learning process. As an addition, the team actualised the Mobile Assisted Language Learning methodology further, by providing a personalised interactive e-book (with audio, video and PowerPoint presentation) downloaded to your personal computer, laptop, tablet, IPad or the IPhone, as drill /revision for phonetic and other related language learning strategy. The execution of the modules offered in the la Maison de Ste Claire’s Hybrid French Online Course have been developed with “humanity” as the main ingredient, in tandem with the modern way of French OnlineW language acquisition.

At la Maison de Ste Claire, our teachers are always available to help students, making their learning experience unique and wonderful.

La Maison de Ste Claire FRENCH COURSE is developed by world-class educators and well-renowned for the innovative and intuitive pedagogy, successfully inspiring students for an accelerated language learning experience. The Courses have been developed for all individuals including youths, adults, students, teachers, business people as well as for interest and self-development - for all levels, from beginners through to advanced users of the French language.



Don’t let your progress plateau, take ownership of your growth and achieve real results with us

Maison de Ste. Claire21 Kazungula Place, Upper Crystal Creek NSW 2484 Australia
The closest airport is the Coolangatta Airport (OOL) on the Gold Coast