I attended the Institute for the month of April 2015. I chose the place after much research and... read more
What a great idea! I’ve been to the Institut twice now, and loved it both times. It is a true adult immersion course as you are there from 8am to 5pm each day, and you have breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea there, all in... More
What a great idea! I’ve been to the Institut twice now, and loved it both times. It is a true adult immersion course as you are there from 8am to 5pm each day, and you have breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea there, all in french. During lunch, which is excellent, there will be a teacher at your table who will keep everyone speaking in french, but the conversation is whatever you want it to be. Including getting ideas of things to do in your free time, at night and on weekends. It’s very easy to take the bus/train on weekends to Nice, Monaco, Menton, Antibes, and elswhere. The Villa Ephrusi and Villa Kerylos are quite close, and a must see. The Chapelle St Pierre you can walk to in Villefranche and is stunning with its murals painted by Jean Cocteau. There is a museum devoted to him in Menton that is also a must see, as is the Musee Chagall in Nice. My absolute favorite thing to do is the Musee Chagall in Nice. It is stunning, and it has an outdoor cafe in its beautiful gardens. You can go there just to eat and enjoy the garden without paying the museum entry fee. Lots of locals do that. One Sunday we went to morning mass at the church in Villefranche (mass in french, local priests and parishioners) then took the bus to Nice, had lunch at the Chagall cafe and spent the afternoon in the museum. We strolled through a street market too. There are two weekly street markets in Vilkefranche on Saturday mornings, one across from the bus stop in a small park, the other by the wharf in the old town near the Chapelle St Pierre. As for the schedule and prices, just go to the website and you’ll get everything you need. I had a private apartment each time I went, and the last time it was a one-bedroom for about $2500 for the month. There was no clothes dryer, so you hang up your laundry to dry. There won’t be a clothes dryer in the Institut’s apartments. My fees included weekly cleaning, and so do the Institut’s. I have seen two different Institut apartments where my friends stayed. One was quite large and very nice, only two doors down from the school. It’s probably what you would get for $2500. The other was a one-bedroom across from the back garden gate, and it was very small and very basic with a nice view looking out on the bay. However, the view was through a window and there was no balcony (I had a large balcony with my 2d aprtment and a miniscule one with my 1st). My big gripe with the Institut apartments is that move-in day is the first day of class, and move-out is the last day of class. To me that is really not at all comfortable or convenient. In fact, it is one reason I went private, so I could move in and out over the weekend and take my time to get settled. But if you are more flexible than I am, and if you don’t want to do the apartment looking online, you may get lucky with a decent apartment through the Institut...or not. The language instruction is absolutely top-notch. Immersion is, imho, the only way to go and expect to see results and genuine improvement in your french speaking skills. I have friends who have gone to those places where th afternoons are free for sightseeing, and from what I see of them when they return, they have not improved their french at all. They’ve just had a nice holiday with a few french classes tossed in. Very often those “holiday schools” cost a lot more than the Institut for what you get. If you want to go to school and perfect your french, ie, really master it, go to Institut. If you just want to play and have a nice holiday, go elsewhere.