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Learning French can be Hard Work but also Fun !

Article N° 4 – published in Paris Marais


For anyone who wants to learn quickly how to speak French or dramatically improve his spoken French, there’s only one solution : French immersion in France.

A particularly effective French immersion program is offered by the Institut de Français, in Villefranche-sur-Mer on the Côte d’Azur, considered one of France’s most intensive schools in spoken French. People with a great variety of backgrounds have been coming to the Institut from all over the world for the past 45 years; some come for the pleasure of learning or improving their French but many, sent by their firms, governments or international organizations such as UN, UNICEF, World Bank, WHO, UNESCO, etc., have a professional requirement for learning French.

This unique French course runs for 8 ½ hours a day, 5 days a week, for 2 to 4 weeks, all year. There are 8 levels : from absolute beginners to advanced II. Each class is limited to a maximum of 10 students.

The day starts at 8.30 a.m with breakfast. From that point on, only French is allowed. There is a two Euro fine for anyone speaking another language. The system is quite effective : within days, total beginners are speaking French, albeit modestly.

After breakfast, the students are taken through a well-planned, diversifed program ranging from audio-visual classes, language laboratory to the discussion-lunch (with a teacher), practice sessions including role playing in both everyday and professional situations, etc. At the higher levels, business French from various fields (commercial, banking, stock market) is also introduced.
The day ends at 5 p.m. after tea which is served in the dining room.

This full-day program is complemented in the evening by : cinema showings of a French film, at the Institut, with discussions moderated by a teacher, plus outings with a teacher to the theater, the cinema, a restaurant, plus a full-day excursion, etc.

It is through this “Total Approach” to French that students are able to absorb the language in all its aspects and from all angles. At the end of their stay, most can adequately converse in French, and sometimes with a good degree of fluency. Absolute beginners after 4 weeks are able to say much of what they want to say simply and correctly.

The key is talk and more talk in an “only French” speaking envronment – in a variety of situations, using and re-using the fundamental vocabulary one needs for everyday conversation.

The program is certainly hard work but it is carried out in a such a cordial and relaxing atmosphere with many moments of fun and laughter, that at the end, you are left with the feeling of having achieved real results while thoroughly enjoying it.

On the outside, students are housed in very pleasant, private apartments managed by the Institut and located in the center of the picturesque port town of Villefranche, within walking distance of the school.

The Institut itself is housed in a luxurious Provençal villa set in terraced gardens with a breathtaking view of one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful bays.

When you consider all these ingredients, there is no doubt that this programme makes learning French in France “the experience of a lifetime” (a quote from a former student).

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Villefranche-sur-Mer °C
September 29, 2023