tour de france 2016 route map

Experience Le Tour de France 2016

The Tour de France 2016 Route has been Announced

So why not take a French language course in one of the Tour stops, experience the amazing race and cheer on your favourite rider at the same time? Choose from mountains, lakes or city centres and study French in one of many beautiful locations.

Running from Saturday 2nd July to Sunday 24th July 2016, the 103th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,519 kilometres. There will be 9 flat stages, 1 hilly stage, 9 mountain stages and 2 rest days.

Starting off in Mont-St-Michel the tour will go through Montauban on the 7th July, which is on the edge of Toulouse, known as ‘la ville rose’ due to its distinctive pink buildings. Toulouse is a historic city with some beautiful and unique architecture. The tour will then continue to capital of France’s Languedoc region Montpellier on the 13th and 14th July. Montpellier is a popular and thriving university city and the old city centre consists of a maze of attractive, winding streets, open-air terraces and luxurious houses. On the 23rd July the tour reaches the French Alps and the charming Alpine town of Morzine where a wide variety of summer Alpine activities is available. And from there the tour finishes on the 24th July in the city of love, fashion and elegance; Paris. In all of these locations you have the opportunity to take French lessons, take part in the fanfare that surrounds the tour and have an amazing holiday.

Studying a language in the country it is spoken is one the best ways to improve your language skills in a short period of time. By immersing yourself in the French language, chatting with the locals, and following “Le maillot jaune” (the yellow jersey) you can give yourself an experience of a life-time.

To browse all of the language holidays, including French language courses, available with Cactus Language please visit our website or contact us by email, Facebook or Twitter.

Tennis fever: Top French tennis phrases

With Wimbledon upon us, it’s time to pick up more than your racquet…here are our top tennis expressions in French and English!

With tennis season in full swing – the French Open recently finished and Wimbledon finally here – it is customary for local tennis courts to become full as wannabe Federers dust off their racquets and tennis fever sets in.

This year why not impress your friends with more than your passing shot? Here we bring you essential tennis vocabulary and expressions in French, for use on or off court and preferably with a bowl of strawberries (fraises) and cream (crème) to enjoy afterwards.

Top 10 French Tennis Vocabulary:

Backhand Revers
Forehand Coup droit
Serve Service
Smash Smash
Game, set, match! Jeu, set et match!
Umpire Arbitre
Ballboy Ramasseur / ramasseuse de balles
Out! Out!
Foot fault Faute de pied
Tramline Couloir

Top 10 French Tennis Expressions:

Great shot! Joli coup!
You cannot be serious…that shot was in! Vous n’êtes pas sérieux… la balle était bonne!
Can I have another ball please? Je peux avoir une autre balle s’il-vous-plait?
I saw the chalk flying! C’était pleine ligne! (J’ai vu la craie voler)
Somebody’s mobile has gone off in the crowd Un téléphone portable a sonné dans le public
It’s another ace! C’est un autre service gagnant / ace!
He’s broken his serve! Il a fait le break!
That’s a killer drop shot C’est un amorti gagnant (qui tue)
The rain covers are coming out…play is suspended Les bâches imperméables sont sorties…le match est suspendu
It’s gone to a tie-break…there’s nothing between them! Ca va être un jeu décisif / tie-break…un rien les sépare!

Wimbledon takes place from 29th June – 12th July 2015. Cactus runs foreign language evening courses in Wimbledon and in other locations across London and the UK

English courses in London are also available throughout the year.

Tour de France: Essential cycling vocabulary this July

Shift your language up a gear with our French cycling vocabulary for this year’s Tour de France

Kicking off on 4th July 2015, top cyclists and cycling enthusiasts from all over the world will congregate on French soil for 21 days of gruelling, thigh-burning action that will cover over 3,500 km of mountains, valleys, remote countryside and busy cities. Although the course route changes each year, the race always finishes in Paris, with riders cruising to the finishing line, cheered on by thousands of supporters, along the famous Champs-Elysées.

It’s hard not to get into the spirit of things – even if you’re not a huge cycling fan – if you happen to be in a part of France where the race passes through. For the French the Tour can be an excuse for a great party, and the sense of anticipation is contagious. Families set up picnic tables at the side of the road to wine and dine, the adults sipping wine patiently in the shade whilst the children play around them, waiting for the riders to pass through. When the drone of the helicopter finally announces the arrival of the front riders, everyone jumps to their feet and prepares to applaud the multi-coloured lycra-clad bodies flying past – a true spectacle in itself, to say nothing of the countless publicity vans, police bikes, camera bikes and support cars that follow. You can support the race anywhere along the way by checking out the Tour map online.

Whether you’re watching the race live in France or on television at home – or even planning a cycling holiday yourself to France – you’ll impress your friends by picking up a few cycling terms to shout out at opportune moments.

Here’s our list of essential Tour de France vocabulary:

Le cyclisme Cycling
Un cycliste Cyclist
Un domestique Support rider
Un échappé Breakaway rider
Le peloton Pack / bunch of riders
La tête de course Leader of the race
Une équipe Team
Une étape Stage / leg of the race
Contre la montre Time trial
Le parcours Route
La course Race
Une montée Uphill slope
Une descente Downhill slope
Changer de vitesse Change gear
Ralentir Slow down
Dépasser Overtake
Un vélo de course Racing bike
Un vélo tout terrain Mountain bike
Une crevaison Puncture
Un bidon Water bottle
Un casque Helmet
Le maillot jaune Yellow jersey (worn by the overall leader)

Get up close to the action by taking a language course in France this July! Cactus runs French language courses in 15 locations across France, including Paris and other locations near to the Tour route.

If you can’t make it to France this year, why not learn the language closer to home? Cactus also runs French evening courses in London, Brighton, Manchester and other major UK locations.

World Cup language course winner announced

To celebrate the first day of this year’s football World Cup, Cactus launched a competition to give away a FREE 10-week evening course in the UK.

Entrants simply had to ‘like’ our Facebook page to be entered into a prize draw to win a course in the  language and location of their choice. They had until the end of the first England game, at midnight on Saturday 16th June, to like us and be in with a chance…

We’re delighted to announce that our winner is Heather Kingsley. Heather has taken a number of Spanish courses in London with Cactus over the past few years, progressing from beginner to intermediate level, and she has chosen to use her free course to study Spanish Intermediate 3 in Kings Cross, London next month.

Many congratulations to Heather and thank you to everyone who ‘liked’ us over the first World Cup weekend!

By joining us on Facebook you will be the first to see future language course promotions and have the chance to participate in more language-related fun and discussions.

Cactus runs 10-week foreign language evening courses in London and nationwide. Our next courses start in July and September 2014.

Essential Portuguese football phrases – your World Cup preparation

Who’s off to Rio? Get the most out of your time in Brazil by learning a few key phrases in Brazilian Portuguese…

While Brazil is preparing itself for the influx of thousands of people from across the globe for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, those lucky enough to have tickets might find it handy to prepare themselves by learning a little of the language of the host country.

Learn daily essentials and pronunciation by reading our top Brazilian Portuguese phrases.

And make sure you know what to shout when you’re watching the game with these essential footie phrases!

Football futebol
To play football jogar futebol
Ball bola
To pass the ball passar a bola
To run correr
Game jogo
Goal gol
Kick / shot chute
Header cabeçada
To knock down derrubar
To miss errar
Penalty pênalti
Yellow card cartão amarelo
Red card cartão vermelho
Half time meio-tempo
Extra time prorrogacão
Come on! bora!
Goalkeeper goleiro
Forward atacante
Defender defensor
Midfielder meia
Referee arbitro
Goalkeeper goleiro
To win vencer
To lose perder

Boa viagem and enjoy the tournament!

If you’re travelling to Brazil then don’t miss the opportunity to take a Brazilian Portuguese course while you’re there.

Cactus offers courses in 3 locations close to World Cup venues: Rio de Janeiro (closest stadium Maracaña), São Paolo (closest stadium Arena de Itaquera) and Olinda (closest stadium Arena Pernambuco). 

We also offer Portuguese evening courses in London and locations across the UK. Our next 10-week courses start in July.


The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014

The next FIBA Basketball World Cup is taking place in Spain and we thought we would like to help basketball enthusiasts, around the world, with some essential vocabulary and phrases in Spanish!

This international event, which takes place every four years, will be hosted by several cities across Spain from the 30 August to 14th September 2014. The FIBA Basketball World Cup brings together 22 teams from across the world, including previous champions the United States. The tournament has been running for over 60 years!

How exciting would it be to watch this invigorating sport in Spain?! To ensure you can join in on all the fun, we have provided some essential Spanish vocabulary and phrases to make sure you are well and truly warmed-up for next year!

Basketball lingo that will even impress the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant!

Slam dunk One of the most famous phrases. It is a high jump shot in which the ball is thrust down through the hoop. Mate
Bank shot A Shot that is aimed at the backboard so it “banks” into the Basket. This shot is used when close to the basket and usually when the player is face on and not to the sides of the court. Tiro a tablero
Player A member of the basketball team. El jugador / la jugadora / el/la baloncestista
Jump pass / shot A pass / shot made while the player is in the air. El pase / el tiro en suspensión
Free throw An unopposed attempt to score a point, usually awarded to a team after a foul by the shooter on the opposing team. El tiro libre
Dribble When a player bounces the ball. Driblar
Referee An official who enforces the rules in sports. Árbitro
Substitute A player who comes into the game to replace a player on the court. Sustituto
Dead ball When there’s a dead ball, the ball is not in play. Balón muerto
Pivot When a player is standing still with the ball he has to keep a foot on the floor, until he passes or shoots the ball. He can’t lift his foot but he can turn on it. This is called pivoting. Pivote

Top ten phrases translated into Spanish for when you’re cheering on your team in the Basketball World cup!

Coast to coast Costa a costa (from one end of the pitch to the other)
Take the shot Toma el tiro
He shoots, he scores! Tira y marca
Let’s go, let’s go! ¡Vamos vamos!
We are better than them! Somos mejores que ellos
Champions! Campeones
Pass the ball Pasa el balón
Ref, that was a foul! ¡Árbitro, que era una falta!
My grandma could throw better than that! Mi abuela podría tirar mejor que eso
Shoot it Tira

Check out the official FIBA website for more information:

Cactus specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. Our expertise in the field of face-to-face tuition is second-to-none. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.

Junior sports camps in the UK

A language and sports camp is a unique and ingenious concept to encourage children to combine their love of sport with learning English. As far as ‘educational’ holidays go, this one’s a winner if you have a sports-mad teen in your house and long summer holidays ahead.

In the UK the specialist sport is football, which is entirely appropriate given that it is a national sport and passion here. The UK boasts one of the most popular and wealthy sports leagues in the world – its football Premier League – as well as some of the world’s most famous football clubs. It is in conjunction with two of these, Manchester City and Liverpool FC, that Cactus offers specialist summer sports camps, where students aged 12-17 years receive English language classes in the morning and football training in the afternoon, in addition to a range of fun social and cultural activities. All of this takes place in a fully supervised and secure environment, to ensure the health and wellbeing of students while they are away from home.

The great thing is that these programmes attract students from all over the world, so there is a true mix of nationalities and abilities, with teens often making life-long friends on these camps. It is a sure-fire recipe for success both in the classroom and on the football field!


The Manchester English & Football Summer Camp is available with host family accommodation, residential accommodation, or as a day camp only. It runs from Monday 1st July to Friday 9th August and can be booked from one week upwards.

Girls and boys are both welcome on this course, as long as they are neither complete beginners nor international standard players. The FA qualified football coaching takes place on four afternoons each week at the state-of-the-art Platt Lane Complex, one of Manchester City’s training grounds and home to The Youth Academy for young Manchester City players. Students learn key football skills such as dribbling, turning, shooting, passing, teamwork and ball control, and play 5-a-side and 11-a-side games.

The programme includes:

  • 15 English language classes per week
  • 8 hours of FA qualified football coaching
  • Accommodation if chosen, in a host family or residence
  • A full excursion programme


The Liverpool English & Football Course is offered with accommodation in a secure, supervised hotel near to the school and Liverpool city centre. It runs from Monday 1st July until the end of August and can be booked from two weeks upwards.

Participants must have an elementary level of English but can be complete beginners in football, making it ideal for teenagers that are mad about football as well as those who just want to learn more about it. Coaching takes place for three hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons and is given by coaches who have produced the like of Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. Students learning football under their guidance will learn about Liverpool FC’s spirit of fair play, their commitment to attractive football, the sporting achievements and traditions of this historical club and the pride that comes with wearing the famous red jersey.

The programme includes:

  • 15 English language classes per week
  • General English & football vocabulary, including the history & culture of Liverpool FC (to help students get the most out of their coaching sessions)
  • 9 hours of football coaching by coaches trained by Liverpool FC Academy
  • A look at the history, culture & traditions of Liverpool FC
  • Excursion to Anfield, tour of stadium, visit to museum, LFC rucksack & other goodies
  • Full board accommodation in a secure, central hotel

These junior football programmes are a perfect example of how learning a language is best done doing something you love. Surrounded by English, your child will learn as much on the football pitch as he or she does in the classroom, communicating with locals and other students of the same age in a safe and friendly environment. Most importantly, they will come back refreshed and confident in the language, energised after their sports training and armed with a long list of friends to visit around the world!

Please visit our website for full details and prices for each course: Manchester (host family), Manchester (residence), Manchester (day camp), Liverpool (hotel).

Cactus specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. Our expertise in the field of face-to-face tuition is second-to-none. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.

We offer language courses for Under 18s in many languages and locations across the world.