On-line Guide: Learning the language- Step 1
Posted Jan 2019 in Muse Mag
One of the first fundamental steps to learning French is taking a French course. With bucket-loads to choose from, here’s a selection we can recommend. Most offer accommodation, but (and of course, we’d say this – but promise it’s true) none as good as Pebbles. The smart language learner pays for the course but books their accommodation with Pebbles.
The Institut de Français in Villefranche is regarded as one of the best, and most traditional. Courses are for four weeks, some students stay for twelve and come out almost fluent. Our directors took out four weeks to attend back in 2008. They would go again if they didn’t have two young children and the business to run. It is full immersion, with a dreaded but affected language lab where you conjugate verbs with headphones and the teacher listening. All mealtimes are also conducted in French – basically for some 9 hours a day, no English is allowed. Tip: go outside of season for cheaper prices, and more serious, mature students. In summer months, the students can be younger and there for more fun than learning, which can annoy you if you’ve paid over 4,000 euros for the month.
Nice Pebbles apartments close by are in Mont Boron or the Port areas. Depending on where you stay, it will be between a 5- 15 minute bus ride to the school. Buses are every 10 minutes or so, and the route very accessible to the school.
Behind Jean Medecin high street in Nice, you’ll find the Ecole de Francais 2 rue d’Angleterre, Nice. Feedback (and our directors have done this course too), is of a relaxed and fun environment, with big intake from the under 25s coming for a week or two to get ready for exams. We’ve had families come and stay for school holidays and place their teenagers in the school whilst the grown-ups enjoy Nice. We’ve also had families come and share the experience of the school together.
Business learners tend to favour the Sprachcaffe on rue Foncet. This is a newer addition than the others mentioned, and whilst we don’t have any personal feedback, the grapevine whispers are good. You can go here for as little as a week, and there is one-to-one tuition on offer with two lessons a day – perfect for those who want to holiday with language learning thrown in.
There are also more activity-based courses combine classes of cooking, salsa lessons and even skiing with the language outside of Nice.
The next stage of learning a language involves immersing yourself in the French and local culture. Okay, it’s scary but but you’ve got to be in it to win it. The deep end is the only way forward, ask any linguist.
Going to a local bar or café, or wandering around the food markets on the Cours Saleya gives you the opportunity to eavesdrop on fellow French speakers and to practise your own new-found skills. An advantage for holiday makers, is a disadvantage for language learning: most restaurant workers speak fluent English here in Nice but keep with it and insist you want to speak French. Even if it feels you are speaking complete gibberish, you are sub-consciously improving that little bit each time and will notice a difference. Plus, who can deny that pretending you’re a local and installing yourself in a local café, armed with a French newspaper and espresso in hand isn’t cool?
After all those French based activities, we understand a nice relaxing evening is just what’s needed. Don’t think you can get away with doing this without incorporating any French into your evening though and no we don’t mean a nice glass of red. Besides snagging a French lover, there are other ways to bring French into your home?