Monday, 27 August 2012

Institut de Français, Villefranche sur mer, Cote d Azur

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011Villefranche sur mer beach, Cote d Azur

I cannot think of one solitary thing that I do not love about the French fishing village, Villefranche sur Mer. Nestled on the shores of the mediterranean with the hills and ski slopes behind, it sits on it's own deep harbour between the city of Nice and the seaside town of Beaulieu. It is quite simply, breathtakingly beautiful.

In the twenty odd years I have been visiting, it has not lost any of its charm, soul or beauty. Maybe one teensy tiny setback for me is that it does receive many more visitors than when I first discovered it back in the 80's.

Call me selfish and I will agree and admit, yes just a touch! When it comes to such a  jewel, I am sure I am not alone in wanting to keep it all to myself (a difficult thing to do with the likes of Rick Steves and other such writers constantly having their 2 cents worth and reaching millions of potential visitors whilst doing so)! I on the other hand, can quite safely write about it to my hearts content, in the safe knowledge that my blog readership does not reach millions (as yet)!

My first visit to Villefranche was back in the mid 80's, I arrived full of hope and energy and with the sole intent of starting my studious journey into the french speaking world.  If any of you have the same earnest desire to learn French then I can think of no better or more beautiful place in the world to start you on your way.  Learning a language is many things.....its, exciting, challenging and just a little bit exhausting and frustrating at times, all the more reason to make sure you are in the best of hands.

© Institut de Francais (Image taken from their website)

L'Institut de Français is renowned for many reasons, it's incredibly effective method of teaching along with it's high teaching standards, its level of professionalism and its location etc etc (I could go on forever)!  In fact I can not speak more highly of this school.  If you are truly motivated to learn to speak French and are prepared to put in the hard yards that are required then you will truly be on your way when you enroll here

The method of the Institute is audio visual and means that  while you are developing your ear and your auditive memory,  you will  be 'breathing' the language in as you did when you were learning your maternal language. 

It is intense, it is total immersion, and it is all part of their successful approach.  Be ready for 8 hours a day 5 days a week and no English allowed.  This may sound confronting if you are a beginner, but believe me, it works, and on top of that they make it fun.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Villefranche Market Day

The lunch table full of beginners is often the funniest and craziest.  (Ps Do NOT think you can cheat at lunch with a few English words here and there, c'est interdit), even when you are desperate for some of that bread that sits 6 people away from you, do not think for one minute that it will be ok to ask for it in English, because it quite seriously is not, and a teacher will be on each table to keep you under strict 'French' control (albeit in a fun french way)!

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Villefranche fisherman at work

The Institute's method is also designed to give you the student the opportunity to apply what you have learnt in the real world in real situations, and where better to do that than in this divine fishing village on the mediterranean.

Unlike being in a big city (such as Paris) the inhabitants and commerçants of this village will not help you out by practising their English.  They will however encourage you and help you along with your French, and this is how you will learn to speak the language, by speaking it.  Who cares what you sound like or how many mistakes you make, if you can't laugh at yourself it is just going to be all that much harder and not nearly as much fun.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Villefranche shoreline dotted with cafés, restaurants and bars

Along, with the stunning scenery, village life, wonderful food and beaches, I can most definitely promise you lots of laughs, fun and a great learning experience.

Millie x

Other posts on Villefranche sur Mer

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like so much fun - albeit challenging!! But I do agree that total immersion is the best approach - and to try that in such beautiful surrounds would make it far more enjoyable!!


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