Celebrate the majesty of France by studying its language chez elle
The most famous of French presidents, Charles de Gaulle, often referred to his country as “ma princesse,” recognizing that France has its own character which transcends its status as a mere nation. Somehow France has undergone a personificaton process over the centuries enabling it to exude its own particular charm. From Paris’ urban chic through its imposing provincial cities and cherished countryside to the towering Alps and Pyrénées without forgetting the sophisticated beaches of the South, France has so much to offer students in pursuit of acquiring the language of Molière and Voltaire. It is hardly surprising that France attracts more tourists (about 75 million in 2009) than any other country in the world.
French Immersion Options
French in Normandy
French in Normandy is an award-winning school in the beautiful and historic city of Rouen, the capital of Normandy. Just an easy, one-hour train ride from Paris, the city offers medieval houses, charming cobblestone streets, and fabulous shopping, as well as the second largest collection of Impressionist paintings in France. French in Normandy is located near the botanical gardens with easy access by bus and metro. They offer homestay and residential accommodation all year round. Students can choose semi-intensive (15 hours a week) or intensive (25 hours a week) group classes with no more than 10 students. Students can begin any Monday. French in Normandy also offers weekend excursions and cultural field trips.
Elfe language school is renowned for its French language courses in Paris. A founding member of the Collège de Paris, Elfe offers programs for short-terms stays and longer stays up to 12 months. Elfe offers courses for all levels of students, along with preparation for the Test de Compétence du Français (TCF). Elf is situated in the heart of Paris on rue Montmartre near two important museums, the Louvre and Beauborg. Besides their classes, taught by a team of experts, the school offers a selection of cultural and artistic activities and various housing options.
Alliance Française Paris
Founded in 1883, the Alliance Française Paris Ile-de-France is a private higher education school. Its worldwide network serves 550,000 students in 136 countries. Located in the heart of the French capital, it welcomes more than 12,000 students of 160 different nationalities each year. Passionate about French language and culture, their teachers all hold higher education diplomas and are specialists in teaching French as a foreign language. The course offerings cover all levels of French learning, from complete beginner to autonomous speaker. It offers a wide range of services, from the Multimedia Resource Centre to weekly, free cultural activities that facilitate immersion in the capital. Furthermore, it is a major French teacher training center for both new teachers and veterans seeking professional development.
École Suisse Internationale
The École Suisse Internationale has schools in Paris and Dijon in Burgundy, known for its history and gastronomy. The schools offer personalized courses of study for students over 16, and places emphasis on communication and interaction with classes of no more than 12 students, housing with a host family, and cultural visits. Created more than 100 years ago, the school has always been a place of exchange where success meets friendship.
Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, the institute offers a range of intensive and personalized French language training to suit all levels and needs. Most of the programs include news reviews, fluency practice workshops, and master classes. A varied cultural program is organized every week to allow students to discover the city through guided visits of historical quarters and museums.
Alliance Française of Lyon
The Alliance Française of Lyon is situated in the heart of the World Heritage city of Lyon. In an excellent location, Lyon is two hours from Paris, at the gateway to the Alps, Provence and the French Riviera. It is also in the heart of Europe: only one hour from Geneva, Switzerland and two hours from Italy. This international school, attended annually by more than 2,500 students from over 130 countries, offers reasonable tuition and 2500 square meters of comfortable, fully equipped and air-conditioned space with disabled access, French language courses for all levels and needs. It is a recognized exam center, and offers a wide range of additional services such as accommodation, administrative assistance, and cultural information.
Le Franc Parler
Founded in 1999, Le Franc Parler is a small school in Cahors which has always been a member of the professional group, FLE. Cahors is an intimate, but vibrant, city located within a loop of the river Lot. The city owes much of its charm to its rich history dating back to the middle-ages. Its medieval and renaissance architecture gives it remarkable character and beauty. Le Franc Parler is situated in the historic center, just a stone’s throw from the Cathedral and its lively market. There are many interesting shops and cafés to explore in the adjoining narrow lanes. The school’s director, Pascale Martorello, is a French teacher with a masters degree in Advanced Studies in Literature and the French Language and the teaching staff is composed entirely of highly experienced native speakers with master’s qualifications. Based on the student’s level, class sizes are limited to guarantee that careful attention is paid to the particular linguistic needs of each student. For accommodation, host families are highly recommended and have been chosen with care. Special courses are also available, including: French and cuisine / French and macaroons / French and wine tasting / French and cheese workshop.
Located in Toulouse in the Southwest of France, Langue Onze welcomes a vibrant mix of international students. It is accredited by CampusFrance, the Association Groupement FLE, and the Tandem International network of quality language schools, and also earned the French Education Ministry’s Label Qualité Français Langue Etrangère. Many course credits are transferrable to American universities.
Montpellier is a vibrant city with many university and tourist attractions. The Institute is centrally located in the pedestrian heart of the city, and is easily accessed by train. The quaint campus built in the 19th century has 20 classrooms. Methodology is based upon the development of the communication and use of the French language in real-life situations. Accent Français has been awarded the French Education Ministry’s Label Qualité Français Langue Etrangère and offers a program of guided cultural activities that include French lifestyle ateliers, excursions throughout the beautiful region, cooking classes, and wine tasting.
LSF was founded in 1995 in Montpellier in the south of France and welcomes over 1200 students aged 11 to 90 from more than 50 different countries each year. Since its inception, it has specialized in organizing French language courses for adults and French vacation courses for juniors. LSF offers a full range of language courses, both standard and intensive, combined, one-to-one, French & cooking, exam preparation, work, and hotel placements. All students have the choice of host family, apartment, or hotel accommodation, and the school also organizes a full program of social, cultural and tourist activities, including excursions, sports, winetasting, and beach trips.
Since 1984, Crea has been offering total-immersion courses in a stunning location in Provence. Adults from all over the world are welcomed to a 19th century monastery, renovated with style. From April through September, students can combine learning French with an immersion in the French art de vivre. Students have the opportunity to speak French all day, both during the structured courses and also socially at mealtimes in the company of the teaching staff, and during excursions, such as visiting a local truffle-farmer, and while playing sports. All these help root the acquisition of French in real life. Additional programs are available on weekends for students interested in the Festival d’Avignon, gastronomy, and Picasso-Cézanne.
The Institut Savoisien D’Etudes Francaises Pour Etrangers (ISEFE) specializes in teaching French to international students. Located in the beautiful town of Chambéry, classes are taught with an emphasis on oral practice, and building writing skills using a variety of exercises, games simulating real situations of communication, and realia. A full academic session includes three trimesters of 10 weeks each, with 18 hours per week. During the trimester, the institute offers a wide range of French lessons in culture, economics, politics and literature. In addition to the academic courses, ISEFE offers many cultural, athletic, and recreational activities and excursion trips, which are held almost every week. Summer school students will benefit from touristic and festive activities that take place at this time of the year in Chambéry and the Savoie region.
CILFA (Centre International de Langue Française d’Annecy)
Annecy is a medium-sized city surrounded by mountains and renowned for the pure waters of its glacier lake. It is the ideal location to combine study with tourism. In the afternoon or on weekends, students can water-ski or sail on the lake, indulge in the joys of skiing, hiking, climbing, or paragliding and discover a region that offers a very rich cultural heritage. CILFA welcomes students from all nationalities and all levels. There are a maximum of 12 students per class. Some courses are combined with outside activities to discover the surroundings and practice French in another way. CILFA also offers some courses for teachers of French as a Foreign Language and is an examination center for DELF and DALF exams.
Alliance Française Grenoble
Grenoble is an internationally oriented city in southeastern France. Surrounded by mountains, close to Switzerland, Italy, and the Mediterranean Sea, this city offers a wide range of possibilities in every domain: culture, sports, research, industry, commerce and education. Part of a world-wide network promoting the French language and culture, run by a team of enthusiastic staff members, teachers and volunteers, the Alliance Française of Grenoble is where communication and international exchange are essential. Besides language classes of all levels, they offer free conversation workshops, French cooking lessons, and organize cultural outings,
Alliance Française Marseille-Provence
Alliance Française Marseille-Provence is a private higher education institution offering French lessons for foreigners, and a member of the international network of Alliances Françaises. Every year, over 700 students of 75 different nationalities attend the school in the heart of the city. In 2007, AF Marseille was awarded the "French Foreign Language Quality" label, and it is an accredited examination center for the DAEFLE and TCF exams, and has been a member of the OFII regional association (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration) since January 2010. The school also offers accommodation in host families as well as an apartment hotel near the school.
SILC has been changing the lives of French language students since 1965. Offering both individual and group programs throughout France, SILC has a range of courses to meet the needs of all kinds of students, including an academic year for students seeking a longer immersion experience and college credit. The organization partners with teachers all over the world who want to organize group study abroad programs. Their expertise in language teaching and relations all across France enables SILC to create specialized and thematic educational programs, such as surfing, cooking, or dancing language camps. Programs are available for all age groups and levels of fluency to ensure that every student can achieve in France.
Photo of Paris by ©ATOUT FRANCE/Nathalie Baetens