Dear Diary

March 30-
Well, Dear Diary, I am doing it again, taking yet again another French course. I was very disappointed with the course I had in Aix en Provence and didn’t know if I would ever find something good. I heard about St Anne’s University in Nova Scotia, A French University, and it sounded really good but I just couldn’t face a cold April in an area north of cold New York, way north. I think it might have been fun but in another month. A friend recommended The Institute Francaise in Villefranche sur Mer, a small place situated between Nice and Monaco, not too shabby.

I’m very lucky to get this opportunity. Maurice is going to visit me on the weekends but only if he can control speaking to me in English. We will see.
I’m renting a nearby apartment just a two minute walk from the school. When I went to see the director to give a key deposit he said, “Don’t tell anyone, but you got an upgrade. The woman who was supposed to rent your place cancelled at the last minute and and had to pay the extra it would have cost you.” I had thought it was really nice when I walked in, very roomy and with a fabulous view of the bay. It doesn’t need much, and it is rather bare, with a huge window to take in the view. I have no complaints.

So, Dear Diary, the first day of school proved to be very interesting. It started with a small breakfast in the usual French fashion with bread and confiture and coffee or tea. What I found interesting were the people at my table. There were two Russians, an Australian, two Swiss, a beautiful Norwegian girl and moi. There was also a man from Bulgaria who had been in France for two years and couldn’t speak any French which made me feel a little better. We could all speak English at the table except for one Russian lady, but kept plugging along in French. We were told later that starting tomorrow we could only speak French. We would be fined one euro if they caught us speaking English and the collection of fines would be used to buy champagne for the last day.

We took tests and will find out our placement tomorrow. The Professeur explaned their system of teaching and why it was different from many others. It sounds like just what I need. They get you speaking French easily without hours of the drudgery that I am used to. There is some grammar, etc, but just a little different approach.
So, Dear Diary, we begin tomorrow. Should be interesting but a lot of work.

My view this morning.

19 thoughts to “Dear Diary”

  1. Bonne chance mon amie! Mon français est très mauvaise. Je suis très jaloux.
    And now I’m exhausted from taxing my brain with French. I need a German immersion class. Everyone in Germany speaks English though so I can’t even practice. Es ist sehr ärgerlich.
    Your view is stunning! Can I come visit you? I can’t promise to only speak French though as our conversations would be very limited. 🙂 Apprécier!

  2. Oh what a fun challenge you have ahead of you! It sounds like just what you need, and the room you have is wonderful. I wish you all the best!

  3. I am excited for you, too. I am glad that you join that school. I was there for a month in 1998. My French improved tremendously. I had a studio overlooking the harbour. I had a great time, made many friends, and even went back for a visit 3 years ago, dropped by Chez Betty. Things were the same excpet that the students now worked on notebooks. I love that seaside village. Have fun.

  4. How exciting Linda ….Oh I would love to do something like this…I think I have been to the little commune..we went to over to France for the day when we were in Liguria..called over to have a day in Monaco..Have a fab time..Good Luck…you are so lucky!!

  5. If I were at that school, we’d be drinking a LOT of champagne after the course is over!

    What a lovely location and beautiful views. School sounds like much more fun than one usually imagines school to be. Enjoy!

  6. That sounds like the perfect way to learn, good luck! You’ll have to change the name of your blog when you are fluent…

  7. What a gorgeous location!

    Etudiez fort et profitez-en! Je suis jalouse – j’ai besoin d’un cours de français aussi! Ca fait si longtemps que je ne parle pas en français chaque jour, et ça se perd si vite!

  8. How cool!! That would be a great way to learn, and the location!!!!! Wish I could be there, but I need to polish up my German first for when I see my family again. Send us more gorgeous photos!!!

  9. Years ago, I took a French language course in Cap d’Ail, just down the road from Villefranche-sur-mer. I loved it – and not least for the location! I walked over to Monaco during Grand Prix weekend, took the bus into Nice frequently, got to know Antibes and Cannes – and revelled in the fact that I was the only Canadian in my class, and therefore quite special (I thought!). I did come home pretty much bilingual, too. You’ll have a wonderful experience, I’m sure!

  10. Oh Linda, what a great idea. Back to being a “school girl” again. Perfect way to learn and stunning views and champagne at the end! You will learn so much. Have a fabulous time and study!

  11. Il faut qu’on parle a toi en français! Mais, un euro est très cher pour une amande. Je suis un peu nerveuse parce que je fait beaucoup des erreurs quand j’écris en français. 🙂
    Quelle chance! Et bon courage 🙂

  12. Weather in Villefranche looks pretty grim – still…you probably wont notice with your head buried in all those irregular verbs.

  13. Oh Excellent! I took some courses at Ste Anne’s. They were good, but I would much prefer to learn the vocabulary before drowning in grammar. I think it’s much more natural to learn a language by speaking first. How much have you learned just being immersed in the culture every day? I keep trying to convince my boss that sending me to Paris for a year would make me fully bilingual and would save them all sorts of money in French classes

  14. Oh wow, wow, wow this looks sooooooo great in every way – location and program! I’m sure you’ll have nice weekends with your hubby, too 🙂

    Good on you for doing this and bonne chance with your French.

  15. How long does the course last? Is this going to interfere with your move to Provence?

    I will be interested to hear more about the teaching method that is used.


  16. Ville Franche is where my husband spent some summers as a child growing up in Sweden.
    I’m inching my way along in Rosetta Stone.

  17. So glad you’re not giving up! You’re a better person than me (or is it I?). Hope this is the one!! And not too shabby at all. Enjoy!

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