FRANCE TRAVEL STUDY GUIDE

French on its Native Soil

In the last year, 15,374 students from U.S. schools decided to make the big leap and head to France, the fourth most popular destination for study abroad. Whether your focus is cuisine, the arts or the language, going to France to study is an incomparable way to learn.

To help you get ready for your trip, we’ve compiled a list of programs and put together a tool kit of helpful information and advice. Margot Steinhart, president of the American Association of Teachers of French, shares her top 12 tips for a successful study experience in France. She also lists the things that surprise her students most about France and recommends books to help you understand French culture before leaving home.

To help you choose the program that suits you best, including figuring out which city is for you, we turned to Dominique Brémond, founder of The French Class. Gabriel Jaquemet, who operates an online resource for Parisian students, Parisetudiant.com, clued us in to the best student bargains in the capital.

Our editorial intern Vivian Ohanian recently studied in Toulouse for an academic year. She recounts the culture shock of moving from the University of California at Berkeley to the Université de Toulouse II-Le Mirail, two school systems so different it can make your head spin. Then she tells us how she made the adjustment.

And, of course, French isn’t the only thing you might want to study in France. We’ve highlighted a few schools that offer activities like painting and cooking: ArtStudy Giverny, L’Age Baston and A Taste of France.
With the wide variety of possibilities, the odds are that there’s a travel study program in France that’s perfect for you. LeFrancophile hopes this guide will help you find it.

Which class for moi?
By Dominique Brémond

Every year, thousands of Americans who want to speak French decide to prendre le taureau par les cornes (take the bull by the horns) and enroll in a language program in France. If you are among them, you’ll face many questions before deciding on the right school. Paris or a small city? An intensive course or a leisurely, two-hour-a-day class? Stay with a family, lodge in a hotel or rent an apartment? There is, of course, no one answer to these questions that will work for everyone. Here are a few suggestions to try on.

Go light. First and foremost, unless you are under a strict deadline to learn some French so you can make a business deal or get a job in France, it is best to joindre l’utile à l’agréable (mix business with pleasure). A French course is far more productive with a fun and relaxed perspective.

Go half-day. If you have little or no experience with the language and have never been to Paris, or maybe just once, an easy route is to sign up for a half-day Monday-through-Friday program. A morning French class after your café au lait et croissant sets you up for the day, so you can spend the afternoon visiting the city and trying your freshly learned vocabulary on shopkeepers and other Parisians.

First-timers: pick Paris. The capital is definitely the best place to study French for the novice traveler who wants to combine a learning experience with a vacation without going hors des sentiers battus (off the beaten track). Staying in a Paris hotel and taking a low-key French course is a safe and comfortable way to get a taste of what could be the beginning of a long friendship.

Best student bargains in Paris

Gabriel Jaquemet from Parisetudiant.com, the practical online guide for Parisian students, shares his best addresses for foreign students in Paris.

CROUS de Paris
Helps students in practical matters: lodging, culture, sports.
39 av. Georges-Bernanos, 5e
Métro: RER Port Royal, 01.40.51.37.65

www.crous-paris.fr

Cité Internationale Universitaire
An orientation service for French and foreign students in Paris.
Maison Internationale, 17 blvd Jourdan, 14e, Métro: Porte d’Orléans, 01.70.08.76.30
www.ciup.fr/bureau-etudiants
-mobilite.htm

Library of the Centre Pompidou
Paris’s largest free public library.
Beaubourg, 4e, Métro: Châtelet
www.bpi.fr

Étudier à Paris
Site dedicated to welcoming foreign students in Paris
www.eduparis.net

Kiosques Paris Jeunes
Offers reduced prices on tickets to plays, concerts, sporting events and more for youth under 26. Three locations in Paris:

Kiosque Bastille
25 blvd Bourdon, 4e, Métro: Bastille
01.42.76.22.60, Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Kiosque Luxembourg
91 blvd St-Michel, 5e
Métro: RER Luxembourg
01.40.51.12.05, Mon-Sat noon-8 p.m.

Kiosque Champ-de-Mars
101 quai Branly, 15e, Métro: Bir-Hakeim
01.43.06.15.38, Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Agence Edufrance
Facilitates education, lodging, work and more for foreign students and researchers in France.
www.edufrance.fr

Club International des Jeunes (CIJP)
This nonprofit promotes cultural exchange between French and foreign students with a monthly program of diverse group activities. €10 annual fee.
201-203 rue de Vaugirard, 15e
Métro: Montparnasse, 01.43.06.23.16

www.club-international.org

 

 

Been to France? Try a new city. Fascinating and beautiful though it is, cosmopolitan Paris won’t satisfy a seasoned traveler’s desire for an authentic, in-depth experience of France. For the moderately experienced traveler with a limited knowledge of French, the best op-tion is a large city such as Lyon, Grenoble, Avignon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Toulouse or Montpellier. The smaller the city, the less English will be spoken, of course, and yet, since so many tourists and foreign students visit these cities, foreigners can still blend in and find their way around easily.

Feel French: rent an apartment. If you feel ready to leave the safety net offered by a hotel and its English-speaking staff, renting an apartment will be beneficial in many ways. First of all, it will probably end up being cheaper, since you won’t have to eat every meal out. Even if you don’t want to cook, you will find delicious prepared dishes at reasonable prices at a charcuterie-traiteur (delicatessen) or even at the supermarché (supermarket) in your neighborhood. You’ll experience French daily life firsthand in your interactions with shopkeepers and neighbors.

Small towns give deepest immersion. However, if learning French is your top priority, the answer is simple: Choose a French program in a small town. Rent an apartment or stay with a family. You will definitely get more for your money: more individual attention, a more intense and thorough program, more time speaking French and, last but not least, a more accurate view of the French way of life.

Bonne chance et bon voyage!

Dominique Brémond is director of The French Class, a San Francisco language school. www.frenchclass.com

 

(Back to the top)

 

I think we’re not in Berkeley anymore…

by Vivian Ohanian

For the typical college student on a study abroad trip, romantic notions of living in a foreign country tend to overshadow the reality that learning French and living in France actually requires a bit of work. I found this out when I signed up for a year of classes at the Université de Toulouse through the University of California’s Education Abroad Program. What struck me at first were the bureaucratic and institutional differences between U.S. and French universities. I found the French university system impersonal and dis-organized. Classes were not listed until right before the semester started, almost nothing could be done online, I had a hard time figuring out what books to read—or even where to find the books—and professors had little or no contact with students. To top it off, most of my spring semester was cancelled due to student protests over a French labor law.

As for lodging, because I didn’t want to live in the dorms, I was on my own to find an apartment. In a city like Toulouse, where housing is already limited, it was difficult to find other French students to room with. My advice: Start researching housing options online way before you arrive.

Adjusting was hard, but I eventually grasped that the French system did function, just not the way I was used to. Now that my experience is over and I am back in Berkeley, I can’t help but make the same comparisons—and honestly, I became accustomed to the French university system. By the end of the year, it seemed normal to rarely speak with my professors, pick my own reading list and choose what topics to study.

Studying abroad, then, is about just that—getting out there, perhaps outside your comfort zone temporarily, and living amongst the French. It’s about embarrassing yourself while trying to speak, using incorrect grammar, mixing up words. It’s about finding your local café, making friends with your neighbor-hood boulanger, finding your favorite marchand. So get to France, for a week, a month or a year, because learning French is not about an hour or two in the classroom: It’s about being in France.

 

(Back to the top)

 

Dos and Don’ts…

French teacher Margot M. Steinhart studied in France herself before launching her career. Over time, she has touched bases with numerous students before and after their study trips to France. Dr. Steinhart—now president of the American Association of Teachers of French, the largest national association of French teachers in the world—shares her top 12 tips for maximizing your experience and avoiding the most common pitfalls.

1. Be flexible and patient when problems arise, and be open to new experiences.

2. Speak French even if the French switch to English to be “helpful.”

3. When in doubt about how to behave, look at what the French are doing. Pay attention to the customary volume for speaking in public places and to the amount of space people occupy when walking down the street. You’ll need to get a feel for the signals involved in eye contact and smiles. (“Overly” friendly Americans may seem flirtatious.)

4. Greet and say goodbye to the salesperson in a transaction, and use “Madame” and “Monsieur” regularly.

5. Be mindful of the amount of water and electricity the French use. Americans may not be as conscious of conservation as Europeans are.

6. Purchase a copy of L’Officiel des Spectacles or Pariscope to check out cultural events in Paris.

7. Carry a student photo ID to take advantage of student discounts in museums, theaters, movie houses and the métro. Always ask if there is a student rate available.

8. Coordinate clothes and layer garments. Regardless of fashion concerns, it is essential to have sturdy walking shoes that fit.

9. Take a camera—and use it before departure day.

10. Consider carefully before bringing electrical products; try to use battery-operated devices instead.

11. Purchase a telephone card at the post office or a tabac (tobacco shop) to make calls.

12. Buy Eurailpasses before leaving for France (www.eurail.com).

To read about Margot Steinhart’s personal experience studying in France, click here.

 

(Back to the top)

 

Schools

Searching for schools in France can be confusing. To make your quest easier, LeFrancophile has compiled a list of schools and programs that cater to different people and interests. The French schools are divided into five geographical areas, as shown in the map below. Next come bilingual and study abroad programs based in the U.S., followed by art study and cooking programs.

Prices may change after press time.

France is divided into five geographical regions areas, each with its own area code. For calls within France, area codes use two digits: 01, 02, 03, 04 and 05. When calling from the United States, dial 011 for international and 33 for France, then delete the zero in the French area code. For example, if the telephone number shown in the listings is 01.55.12.13.14, to call from outside France you will dial 011.33.1.55.12.13.14.

 

01 PARIS REGION
Académie des Langues
Paris 01.30.61.26.83
www.academiedeslangues.com
$230/mo Other locations: Lyon, St-Germain-en-Laye
Accord École de Langues
Paris 01.55.33.52.33
www.french-paris.com
€175/wk
Alliance Française Paris
Paris 01.42.84.90.00
www.alliancefr.org
€70/wk The Alliances Françaises in most cities offer similar programs
Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne
Paris 01.40.46.22.11
www.fle.fr/sorbonne
Call for prices Courses coincide with academic calendar
École de Langue Française pour Étrangers (ELFE)
Paris 01.48.78.73.00
www.elfe-paris.com
€390/wk
École Eiffel
Paris 01.43.20.37.41
www.ecole-eiffel.fr
Call for prices 2-week minimum
École Lutece Langue
Paris 01.73.70.17.69
www.lutece-langue.com
€58/wk Catered to adults, but available for younger students as well. Business and cooking courses offered
Institut Parisien
Paris 01.40.56.09.53
www.institut-parisien.com
€131/wk
Language Studies International
Paris 01.42.60.53.70
www.lsi.edu
€285/wk Other location: Nice
L’Atelier 9
Paris 01.42.46.70.19
www.latelier9.com
Call for prices Courses from 2 to 12 weeks
Live and Learn
Paris 763.374.2444
www.liveandlearnltd.com
$1,290-$1,44/wk Homestay language immersion programs. Also offers programs in other areas of France
The French Traveler
Paris 800.251.3464
www.frenchtraveler.com
$2,299/twelve days 12-day summer program for teachers of French
Verlaine Langue
Paris 01.45.88.05.75
www.verlaine-langue.com
€190/two wks

 

(Back to the top)

 

GET A READ ON THE FRENCH
Before you set off for your travel study adventure, get to know the French with a little advance reading. LeFrancophile asked Dr. Margot Steinhart which books she recommends to prepare her students for immersion in French culture. Says Steinhart: “These books provide insight into cultural behavior in France that might be misunderstood by Americans. They also provide students a point of reference for confirming or questioning the behavioral patterns posited by the authors of these books.” The Story of French, soon to be published in French, provides a context for understanding the significance of French in the world today.

French or Foe? Getting the Most Out of Visiting, Living and Working in France by Polly Platt (Distribooks, third edition)
In French: Ils Sont Fous, Ces Français… (Bayard)
Cultural Misunderstandings:
The French- American Experience
by Raymonde Carroll (University of Chicago)
In French: Évidences Invisibles (Seuil)
Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French by Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow (Sourcebooks)
In French: Pas Si Fous, Ces Français! (Points)
The Story of French
by Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow (St. Martin’s Press)
To be released in French in 2007 as La Grande Aventure de la Langue Française (Québec Amérique)

 

(Back to the top)

 

FRENCH WITH THE FAMILY

After working as a teacher in California, Marianne Chartrand decided to return to her hometown of Sancerre and open a language school conceived for the tastes of her American students. She and her husband Gérard founded Cœur de France École de Langues.

The school caters specifically to families traveling together in France. “This is not for businesspeople, or for high school or college study abroad,” she says. “This program is for families: parents, children and adults.” Families take private classes together with their own language teacher and classroom. The courses take place in a 400-year-old mansion, with lodgings on site or within walking distance. Cœur de France is ideal for a vacation in France—a way to get to know a village and the countryside while learning French.

Cœur de France École de Langues Sancerre 02.48.79.34.08 www.coeurdefrance.com

 

(Back to the top)

02 NORTHWEST
CEFA Normandy
Lisieux 02.31.31.22.01
perso.wanadoo.fr/centre.normandie
€660/wk Lessons at country château
Centre d’Études des Langues de St-Malo/CCIFA
Saint-Malo 02.99.19.15.46
www.cel-saint-malo.com
Call for prices Cooking and business courses also available
Centre International d’Étude des Langues (CIEL)
Brest 02.98.30.45.75
www.ciel.fr/english
€295/wk Courses taught at riverside manor. Business courses and junior program also available
Centre Linguistique pour Étrangers
Tours 02.47.64.0619
www.cle.fr
€540/wk
Cœur de France École de Langues
Sancerre 02.48.79.34.08
www.coeurdefrance.com
€395/wk Casual environment. School located in historic manor
Concordia Villages
Saint-Malo 800.222.4750
www.concordialanguagevillages.org
Call for prices Students spend 5 days in Paris
Écolangues
Angers 02.41.25.73.73
www.ecolangues.com
€600/wk Casual environment with homestays
ELIT Groupe Saint-Denis
Loches 02.47.59.04.26
www.saint-denis.net
€565/wk €7,620
/yr
Boarding school in the Loire Valley. Courses coincide with academic calendar
Français à la Carte
Tours 02.47.96.42.18
www.lessonsinfrench.com
€60/1.5 hrs Business courses available
French in Normandy
Le Petit Quevilly 02.35.69.81.61
www.frenchinnormandy.com
€195/wk Cooking courses available
Immersion France
Suèvres 02.87.64.83.56
www.immersionfrance.co.uk
£595/wk Casual/leisure environment
Institut de Touraine
Tours 02.47.05.76.83
www.institut-touraine.asso.fr
€480/two wks
Le Français Face à Face
Angers 02.40.71.99.47
www.lefrancaisfaceaface.com
€2,500/wk
and up
Casual/leisure environment. Full French immersion programm
Le Français en Famille
Tours 02.47.55.05.74
www.lefrancaisenfamille.fr
€750/wk French cuisine course also available
Le Poyenval
Bazoges-en-Pareds 02.51.51.26.85
www.lepoyenval.com
€895/wk Residential courses at country manor. Painting and cooking courses available
Paris École des Roches Langues (PERL)
Verneuil-sur-Avre 02.32.60.40.54
www.ecole-francaise.org/fr
€25,540/yr French junior high and high school in Normandy that offers room and board. Also offers adult programs in Paris
Parlezvite Language School
Mohon 02.97.73.40.17
www.parlezvite.com
Call for prices Also offers Business French classes
Tours Langues
Tours 02.47.66.01.00
www.langues.com
€160/wk Job/vocational training courses available
Université de Caen: Centre d’Enseignement du Français pour Étrangers
Caen 02.31.56.55.38
www.unicaen.fr/cefe
€280/wk
Université d’Orléans: Service des Relations Internationales
Orléans 02.38.41.71.55
www.univ-orleans.fr
€800/four wks Courses coincide with academic calendar
Université de Tours: Centre d’Enseignement du Français pour Étrangers
Tours 02.47.36.66.00
www.univ-tours.fr/international/cuefee/index.htm
Call for prices Programs geared toward integrating international students. Courses coincide with academic calendar

 

(Back to the top)

LeFrancophile’s Guide to the Guidebooks

by Vivian Ohanian

The travel section at your local bookstore can be as seductive and bewildering as the foreign countries you want to visit. Which guidebook will be most useful for your travel style, budget and time frame? To choose the best aid for your next trip to France, here are some tips from LeFrancophile:

If you’re not sure how to approach your trip, consider the Rick Steves’ France guide, which offers firsthand advice on how to travel France. The book presents extensive sections on most major French cities, including dining and accommodation, based on the author’s own travels throughout France. The guide’s strong point is his collection of personal travel trips and suggestions for walking tours, but it skips over some of the major urban centers and smaller towns you might plan on visiting.

A little lighter on the personal touch, the Lonely Planet and the Fodor guides to France both provide detailed information but don’t cram too much in. Fodor lists not only accommodation, restaurants and nightlife options, but also tips on how or what to explore in each city, alongside suggested self-guided tours. Lonely Planet includes more detailed descriptions in its lists, including tips for the budget traveler. Although Lonely Planet devotes most of its space to this practical information, it also offers wonderful quick overviews of the history and regions of France, giving you a good idea of where you are going and what you will see. The extra tips, advice and features are there if you’re looking for them, but they don’t overshadow the basic information, making it easy to find a place to eat dinner while walking through a certain part of town.

The Rough Guide is great for the over-planner, as it includes endless lists and details for almost every imaginable city and village in France. Armed with this up-to-date basic information on schedules, accommodation, nightlife, restaurants and maps, you won’t have to look anything up online. A fine resource for either the serious traveler who wants to be sure to catch everything or the budget traveler looking for the best bargain. But keep in mind that The Rough Guide is more like a reference book, with little actual planning advice.

If you are interested in more than finding a place to stay or knowing which bus to catch, check out the Eyewitness Travel guide to France, which includes pages and pages on the cultural side of the country. The book details museums, châteaux, parks, beaches, historical sites, wine/food culture and regional history.

And of course you can always find guides for each city, especially Paris. The Wallpaper City Guide to Paris offers advice on places to visit, shop or just relax. Small enough to fit into your pocket, Wallpaper reads almost like a modern art gallery brochure, with artsy photographs for each listing. The images will make you want to see everything in the guide—and you probably will, because the list is so limited.

 

(Back to the top)

03 NORTHEAST
Centre International de Langues de Strasbourg
Strasbourg 03.88.43.08.31
www.ciel-strasbourg.org
€369/two wks Tailor-made programs through language school affiliated with the Strasbourg chamber of commerce. French for foreigners, business French
Corcelle
Sigy-le-Châtel 03.85.59.49.49
www.corcelle.com
€2770/wk Full-board accommodation. Tailor-made one-on-one immersion
Inlingua French Lessons
Strasbourg 03.88.10.27.27
www.inlingua.com
Call for prices Centers all throughout France. Services vary
Institut Catholique Lille Clarife
Lille 03.20.57.92.19
www.icl-lille.fr/icl-clarife
€745/mo Monthly
La Cardère
Frontenaud 03.85.74.83.11
www.la-cardere.com
€1030/wk
Université de Bourgogne: Centre International d’Études Françaises
Dijon 03.80.39.3560
www.u-bourgogne.fr/CIEF
Call for prices Courses coincide with academic calendar
Université de Franche-Comté Centre de Linguistique Appliquée de Besançon
Besançon 03.81.66.52.00
cla.univ-fcomte.fr
€690-€870/four
wks
4-week minimum

 

(Back to the top)

 

BACK FROM FRANCE

Margot M. Steinhart, Ph.D., president of the American Association of Teachers of French, shares with LeFrancophile what surprised her and her students in France.1. The friendliness and helpfulness of the French.2. The omnipresence of street sweepers dressed in green and the water running along the curbs.3. Shutdowns of public services due to demonstrations and strikes.4. American music and English expressions in signage and conversations.5. The multiculturalism of the French population.6. French people’s awareness of American culture.7. Receiving different responsess to the same questions, depending on the person at the gate or ticket office, such as at the post office and museum entrances8. The typical French bookstore’s extensive section of comic books (bandes dessinées).

1. The friendliness and helpfulness of the French.

2. The omnipresence of street sweepers dressed in green and the water running along the curbs.

3. Shutdowns of public services due to demonstrations and strikes.

4. American music and English expressions in signage and conversations.

5. The multiculturalism of the French population.

6. French people’s awareness of American culture.

7. Receiving different responsess to the same questions, depending on the person at the gate or ticket office, such as at the post office and museum entrances

8. The typical French bookstore’s extensive section of comic books (bandes dessinées).

9. The importance of understanding French historical and literary allusions in conversations.

10. The presence of pay toilets in the streets of Paris and large cities and the frequency of unisex toilets in restaurants.

11. You must ask for a bill in a restaurant and may sit undisturbed with a beverage in many cafés (unless there is a line of potential customers waiting).

12. The higher cost of Coke and tea (versus coffee) in France.

13. Food and beverage prices differ according to whether one sits or buys takeout. A cup of coffee drunk while standing at the bar is less expensive than one ordered from a table.

14. The need to pack one’s own bag in a grocery store (and additional charge for using the store’s plastic bags).

15. Tax and tip are already included in restaurant prices.

16. You need to get your ticket validated (composté) before getting on the train and pay careful attention to the designated track for departures.

17. A customer is expected to ask, rather than touch merchandise in a store or produce market.

18. The helpfulness of pharmacists in treating minor ailments that might require a doctor’s prescription in the United States.

 

(Back to the top)

04 SOUTHEAST
Alliance Française Marseille-Provence
Marseille 04.96.10.24.60
www.alliancefrmarseille.org
€168/
four wks
Altiplano Training
Chamonix 04.50.53.98.04
www.altiplanotraining.com
Call for prices Other locations: Chamonix and Mens. Business courses available
Cavilam
Vichy 04.70.30.83.83
www.cavilam.com
Call for prices Offers intensive classes as well as courses and workshops for teachers
Ceran Lingua
Morières-lès-Avignon 04.90.02.05.00
www.ceran-us.com
$2,990/wk Residential program. Junior program also available
Crea-Langues
Moustiers-Ste-Marie
04.92.77.74.58
www.crealangues.com
€765/wk Casual/leisure environment. Junior program also available
École des Trois Ponts
Roanne 04.77.71.53.00
www.3ponts.edu
€1,040/wk Cooking courses available
Eurolingua Institute
Montpellier 04.67.15.04.73
www.eurolingua.com
€248/wk U.S. university credit possible
French in France
Lyon 08.72.80.17.19
www.french-in-france.net
€800/wk Residential private tutoring
French Language Institute
Uzès 04.66.22.74.08
www.armchairfrance.com/ilfu.htm
€20/hr
Ici Langue
Nice 04.93.16.94.17
www.icilangue.com
€300/wk
Institut César
Montpellier 04.67.63.43.69
www.institutcesar.com
€350/wk
Institut de Français
Villefranche-sur-Mer 04.93.01.88.44
www.institutdefrancais.com
€2,930/four wks 2-week minimum
Institut d’Enseignement de la Langue Française sur la Côte d’Azur (ELFCA)
Hyères 04.94.65.03.31
www.elfca.com
€200/wk French immersion programs on Provençal Riviera. Participants from all over the world. Selected homestays, apartments or hotels
Institut Français d’Annecy
Annecy 04.50.45.38.37
www.ifalpes.fr
€190/wk Other location: Chambéry. Residential program. Courses coincide with academic calendar
Institut Grand Bleu
Mandelieu-La-Napoule
04.93.93.33.10
www.grand-bleu.net
€430/wk Special programs for school groups also available
Institut International de Langue
Aix-en-Provence 04.42.93.47.90
www.is-aix.com
€335/wk Cooking and cultural courses available
Parlons en Provence
Noves 04.90.94.43.87
parlons-en-provence.com/bonjour_en.htm
€880/wk Family-run center
Service Universitaire des Étudiants Étrangers
Clermont-Ferrand 04.73.40.64.97
www.univ-bpclermont.fr/suee
€83.75/wk
Centre Universitaire d’Études Françaises (CUEF)
Grenoble 04.76.82.43.70
www.u-grenoble3.fr/cuef/anim.html
Call for prices
Université de Paul Cézanne: Institut d’Études Françaises pour Étudiants Étrangers
Aix-en-Provence 04.42.21.70.90
www.iefee.com
€1,200/semester Courses coincide with academic calendar
Université de Savoie: Institut Savoisien d’Études Françaises pour Étrangers (ISEFE)
Chambéry 04.79.75.84.14
www.isefe.univ-savoie.fr
€150/wk

 

(Back to the top)

 

ART AND LANGUAGE IN A CHÂTEAU SETTING

Alexandra Waddington and her husband John moved to château L’Age Baston in 1989 and began offering painting programs in 1993. “When people came, they told us they were also looking for language classes,” Waddington explains, “so starting a language school was more an accident really.” Their French language program usually includes six to eight people, most of them 30 and older. “At dinner, we sometimes have a French-speaking end of the table and an English-speaking side, so people can choose to speak English if they’re tired.”

In addition to language classes, L’Age Baston still offers painting vacations. The studio is located in a former barn. The morning is for class time and practice of the day’s lesson. After a group lunch, students are free to go out and paint all afternoon, then regroup in the evening to view and chat about each other’s works.

L’Age Baston La Rochefoucauld
05.45.63.53.07
www.lagebaston.com

Angouleme City Hall

Angoulême City Hall

 

(Back to the top)

05 SOUTHWEST
Association Roussilangues
Perpignan 06.75.45.85.13
www.roussilangues.com
€21/two hrs Other locations: Estagel or Perpignan. Visits with locals
BLS École de Français
Bordeaux 05.56.51.00.76
www.bls-frenchcourses.com
€520/two wks Program for juniors in Biarritz also offered
CAREL
Royan 05.46.39.50.00
www.carel.org
Call for prices Courses in French for teachers available
L’Age Baston
La Rochefoucauld 05.45.63.53.07
www.lagebaston.com
€1,000-€1,400/wk Holiday packages at countryside château. Painting courses available
Langue Onze Toulouse
Toulouse 05.61.52.54.58
www.langue-onze.asso.fr
€350/two wks
Latitude Cultural Center
La Toulzanie 510.525.8436
www.latitude.org
$1,250/wk
Université de Poitiers: Centre de Français Langue Étrangère
Poitiers 05.49.45.32.94
cfle.univ-poitiers.fr
€600/term Courses coincide with academic calendar
Valorme
Foix 05 61.03.89.46
www.valorme.com
€540/wk

 

(Back to the top)

DELF/DALF
The DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française) and DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française) are offered by the French Ministry of Education to test French language proficiency. Considered the French version of TOEFL (Teaching of English as Foreign Language) test, the DELF/DALF tests serve as replacements to language entrance exams to French universities or can provide a standardized assessment of your fluency skills for any application.

 

(Back to the top)

PROGRAMS BASED IN THE U.S.
Abroadco Study Abroad
Various locations 800.595.1973
www.abroadco.com
$2,998/mo For college students in Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Nice, Cannes. Programs coincide with academic calendar.
Academic Programs International (API)
Various locations 800.844.4124
www.academicintl.com/france
$3,300/mo Study abroad programs for college students in Paris, Grenoble. Programs coincide with academic calendar
Academy of French Language
Various locations 800.621.3085
www.afl-nice.com
€375/wk
AFS Intercultural Programs
Various locations 212.807.8686
www.afs-fr.org
Call for prices Student exchange and adult volunteer opportunities
Center for Study Abroad (CSA)
Various locations 206.583.8191
www.centerforstudyabroad.com
$995/two wks Study abroad programs for students. Locations: Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Dijon, Montpellier, Normandy
Cultural Experiences Abroad (CEA)
Various locations 800.266.4441
www.GoWithCEA.com
$3,395/four wks Study abroad programs for college students. Programs coincide with academic calendar
French-American Exchange
Various locations 800.995.5087
www.frenchamericanexchange.com
€2,970/mo Locations: Aix-en-Provence, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nice, Paris, Tours
Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program
Various locations 202.314.3527
www.fulbrightexchanges.org
Call for prices For educators
Global Works
Various locations 814.867.7000
www.globalworksinc.com
$4,995/mo Study abroad programs for high school and college students
International Studies Abroad (ISA)
Paris 800.580.8826
www.studiesabroad.com
$2,795/four wks Study abroad programs for college students. Programs coincide with academic calendar
The French Class
San Francisco, CA 415.362.3666
www.frenchclass.com
$348/eight wks Conversation sessions and courses

 

(Back to the top)

 

Turbulent Times, Formal Customs

by Margot Steinhart

I was a student in France in 1967-68 and experienced the epoch-marking student uprising of May 1968. Although I was a participant in the Smith College program in Paris and living with a proper French family on Avenue Victor-Hugo in the 16th arrondissement, I did experience some of the challenges of that period: electrical blackouts, no métro transportation, no classes at the Sorbonne. We were unable to phone home, although we could receive calls from the States.

After a measure of calm was restored, our director encouraged the 25 female participants in the program to go to the Sorbonne courtyard to observe the strike that was in progress. It was certainly impressive to see the tables and flags of the anarchists, in particular, and the energy being generated by students on strike. Because the unions were also on strike, I was unable to return home as planned on the ocean liner France; instead I came back to New York on a Pan American flight out of what was then a military airport, Le Bourget. My trunk arrived home several months later.

My experience living with the French family in Paris in 1967-68 was that of another era. The children, ranging from a working adult to a child six years of age, addressed their parents as vous. The younger children had their meals in the kitchen before the adults sat down in the dining room to meals that were always copious at lunchtime and included soup at dinner.

A seamstress came to make alterations and repairs and do laundry and ironing every week, and a worker came to rewax and polish the parquet floors each fortnight. On Sundays after lunch, my American roommate and I were invited to have coffee in the salon.

On one occasion, the entire apartment was opened up to become a single space for a boom (party) for the 16-year-old daughter, whose social set held such festivities on a rotating basis. The older daughter invited my roommate and me to spend the evening with friends at the university on the Left Bank. It was the sole occasion on which we used tu with the daughter, who was our own age. The following day, we were treated to ice cream from the party, a singular event during our seven-month stay.

We were invited to this daughter’s wedding, which was to take place later that summer in the family’s château in Normandy. Twenty years later, I was invited to lunch with the host couple, who had moved to an apartment in the 17th arrondissement, and their adult grand-daughter, and the formality observed three decades earlier still held sway.

 

(Back to the top)

BILINGUAL SCHOOLS IN THE U.S.
French-American School of New York
Larchmont, NY
914.834.3002 ext 233
www.fasny.org
$15,000 to $20,000/yr Preschool through tenth grade bilingual day school
French-American School of Puget Sound
Mercer Island, WA 206.275.3533
www.fasps.org
$6,250/yr Preschool through fifth grade
International School of the Peninsula
Palo Alto, CA 650.251.8500
www.istp.org
$14,650/yr Nursery through eighth grade bilingual school. Summer programs available. Also offers after-school classes for children and adults
Lycée Français La Pérouse
San Francisco, CA 415.661.5232
www.lelycee.org
$14,000/yr Preschool through high school bilingual day school. Summer programs also available

 

(Back to the top)

CUSTOM-MADE LEARNING VACATIONS

Kathryn Copeland, the founder of this unique culinary tour service, qualifies herself an orchestrator. She connects her clients to her many friends in France—and these friends aren’t just anyone: They own châteaux and in some cases are well-known chefs. Before she organizes each trip, she listens to her customers, figures out what they want to do and then tries to make it happen. In the past, her groups have stayed in luxurious châteaux such as Grimaldi in Provence and learned to cook with Marseille chefs renowned for their bouillabaisse. In her intimate tour sessions, always just a few people, “I’ll get everyone involved,” Copeland explains. “We’ll go to the market, I’ll give each pair 20 euros and I’ll ask them to buy specific items.” The group then returns with all the ingredients and makes lunch together.

A Taste of France, 757.855.1889
www.thetasteoffrance.com

Arche de Triomphe

(Back to the top)

COOKING SCHOOLS
A La Carte Cuisine
Toulouse 05.61.12.07.94
www.alacartecuisine.com
Call for prices Programs vary from region to region
A Taste of France
Paris/Provence 757.855.1889
www.thetasteoffrance.com
€50/three hrs
École Internationale de Pâtisserie
Perpignan 06.03.20.26.62
www.olivier-bajard.com
From €1,980/mo Professional training. Short- or long-term pastry training. Prices depend upon program. Courses hourly/multiple weeks
Gastronomicom
Cap d’Agde 04.67.21.55.56
www.gastronomicom.fr
From €1,980/mo Language classes also available. Monthly programs in English
La Varenne
Villecien 800.537.6486
www.lavarenne.com
Call for prices
Patricia Wells Cooking Classes
Paris/Provence
www.patriciawells.com
$4,250/wk
Promenades Gourmandes
Paris 01.48.04.56.84
www.promenadesgourmandes.com
€240/half day Courses offered daily

 

(Back to the top)

PAINT IN MONET’S GARDENS

Here’s a chance to study in the town famed as Monet’s place of inspiration. Painter Gale Bennett and his wife Cello offer weeklong painting courses in English at their school, ArtStudy Giverny. Gale, with a reputation as a painter in both the U.S. and France, decided to start the program when he was invited to Giverny to teach a course in painting. He has been teaching seasonally in France since 1995.

The courses, held from May to September, offer painting instruction in the morning, work time in the afternoon (the school has access to Monet’s famed gardens) and critiques in the evening.

Monet
CC BY by ErgSap

Students are mainly women in the age range 45 and up, but art teachers and groups of college and high school students also learn painting here. Says Cello, “Students get a different view of how the French are. The program is well respected; [local residents are] especially kind to them. More like being part of life in the village.”

ArtStudy Giverny 02.32.21.96.83 www.artstudy.com

 

(Back to the top)

ART SCHOOLS
A French Village Watercolor Workshop
Rignac 05.65.33.69.40
www.catherinestock.com
€350/wk
ArtStudy Giverny
Giverny 02.32.21.96.83
www.artstudy.com
Call for prices
Breakaway to Béarn
Lahon 05.59.04.90.02
www.breakaway-to-bearn.com
Call for prices Courses in writing, poetry, politics, and yoga also available
EICAR Film School Paris
Paris region 01.49.98.11.11
www.eicar.fr
Call for prices Programs in French and English. Courses coincide with academic calendar
Lacoste: Savannah College of Art and Design
Lacoste 912.525.4786
www.scad.edu/scadlacoste
Call for prices Courses taught in English. Courses coincide with academic calendar
Parsons School of Design Paris
Paris 01.45.77.39.66
www.parsons-paris.com
Call for prices Offers Bachelor programs in English. Courses coincide with academic calendar

 

(Back to the top)

When homesickness hits…

How to connect with other Americans in Paris, plus online resources for relocating in France.

THE OBVIOUS

United States Embassy
2 av. Gabriel, 8e, Métro: Concorde
01.43.12.22.22
www.amb-usa.fr
Check out the Blue Book, an online guide for U.S. citizens residing in France, at
france.usembassy.gov/consul/acs/guide

American Church and Franco-American Community Center
65 quai d’Orsay, 7e, Métro: Invalides
01.40.62.05.00
www.acparis.org
Many social activities including sports and dance classes.

WICE
20 blvd du Montparnasse, 15e,
Métro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue,
01.45.66.75.50
www.wice-paris.org
A nonprofit volunteer-run association of English speakers providing cultural and educational programs and services to the international community in Paris.

THE ESSENTIAL

Stimmler-Hall’s Paris newsletter/blog
www.secretsofparis.com
Hip news and leads from a U.S. journalist.

Craigslist
paris.craigslist.org

France-USA Contacts (FUSAC)
www.fusac.fr
A free magazine with classifieds targeting the English-speaking community.

THE USEFUL

Lost in France
www.lost-in-france.com
Great website providing practical information including very useful fact sheets on life the French way.

Americans in France
www.AmericansinFrance.net
Resources for people who would like to live or travel in France.

Moving to France Made Easy
www.moving-to-france-made-easy.com
Find a house or plan a stay in France.

 

(Back to the top)

CARRIBBEAN
Media Langues Caraïbes / Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe, French West Indies
+590 85.45.91
www.medialanguescaraibes.net
From €290/wk General and intensive language courses; tropical surroundings. Programs in business French, creole cooking, kayaking; various accommodation possibilities.
Martinique Bonjour!
Oakland Gardens, NY 718.631.0096
www.learningdestinations.com
From $1,129/wk Semi-intensive French courses combined with excursions; programs available for organized groups. Specialty programs in Creole, cuisine, percussion, fine arts.

 

(Back to the top)

SPEAK UP!

Help LeFrancophile choose the best programs for our next Travel Study Guide. Tell us about your learning experience in France:

1. Where did you study? (Include name of program, location in France, type of course.)

2. Would you recommend the program to your friends?

3. What were the best and worst things about your stay?

4. What was your biggest surprise in France?

Send your feedback to admin@lefrancophile.com with your name and contact information. We’ll weed out the promo and spam and bring your voice to next year’s study abroad group.

Paris

 

(Back to the top)

 

CANADA
McGill University English and French Language Centre
Montréal, Québec 514.398.4172 x 0758
www.mcgill.ca/eflc
Call for prices Accredited courses for students registered in any academic program; summer programs available. Courses develop reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, critical thinking and cultural awareness.
Montréal Language Exchange Center
Montréal, Québec 514.841.9195
www.thetasteoffrance.com
From CA$300/10 wks. Intensive, part-time and private courses, workshops and special programs; 3-7 students per group. Café Linguistique provides students space for informal, relaxed conversation.
Bouchereau Lingua International
Québec, Québec418 692 1370
www.bli.ca
Call for prices General immersion for adult students and businesspeople, written/oral language courses. Customized, group and one-on-one courses; affiliated campuses in Toronto and Montréal.
FrancoForum
Saint Pierre et Miquelon 508 41.24.38
www.st-pierre-et-
miquelon.com/english/francoforum.php
Call for prices Learn French on a French island 15 km off the coast of Newfoundland. Group and individual courses. Hiking, sailing, birdwatching, water sports also available.

(Top of page)