Institute Of French, Villefranche-sur-Mer

4.5
#3 of 16 in Things to do in Villefranche-sur-Mer
Since 1910, Institute Of French has been actively teaching the French language to students from around the world. The school has as many as 7,000 students at a time, led by 70 native French instructors. Students also learn cultural and religious aspects of France. Put Institute Of French at the forefront of your travel plans using our Villefranche-sur-Mer day trip website .
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  • One of the best experiences of my life. I spent 2 months at the Institut de Francais and can't say enough good things about it. From the beautiful surroundings, the other students to the teachers and ...  more »
  • I attended L'institute for 3 4-week sessions this past year, with the goal of being able to apply for a job that requires a working knowledge of French. I started in "beginners" and by the last sessio...  more »
  • I spent a month at the institute a couple years ago. Here are the good things: I was in advanced intermediate, I think, appropriately placed because I've worked on learning French a lot. I was lucky i...  more »
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  • BEST DECISION EVER! It was intense, demanding, sometimes difficult but also fun and so productive. After studying for several years a language that I love and still not been able to have a basic conversation, it was pretty frustrating. Four weeks at the Institut de Francais in Villefranche, that's what I needed. I never thought that in only four weeks I could get so much confidence in speaking and understanding when listening to the news. The location of the school, the facilities, the daily program of classes, the beauty of Villefranche are in itself an inspiration and a motivation. To Stephen, my patient, persistent and so knowledgeable teacher, Julian, Bruno, Fréderick, whose sense of humor made every Science Class and easy invitation to learn, Natalie, our Cheff and her incredible staff that spoiled us with those delicious breakfast, lunch and tea delights, to Anne and all the staff at the Institut, you will always have my gratitude for all you do to make our experience, an unforgettable one. Sara E Princ
  • I spent a month at the Institut de Francais in 2012. The Institut is incredibly beautiful. The teachers are caring and encouraging. The experiences there I will carry through my life. Everyone will get out of it what they put into it. At that moment, I needed to work on my pronunciation since I was learning through videos, books, and CD's. I hope to return in 2018. An immersion experience is not for everyone. It demanded some of the most intense concentration in my life. The professors test your level and place you in groups of similar capability. My understanding of communicating in French took a great leap forward in the month I was there. The professors treat students as adults. They are there to teach, not cultivate friendships. They have new classes arriving every four weeks. Yet, the teachers demonstrate warmth, insight into best helping students learn, and clear objectives for each event, each day. The people in your group develop the feel of family because you are all in the same place and struggling to master the same content. I would recommend this school without reservations. It was what I needed and was looking for to make greater strides in my learning of French. I also happen to be an older learner. I was 59 the first time. I will be 65 the next.
  • I was there 20 plus years ago. Wonderful experience.
  • First of all, if you go in the summer, be prepared for extreme heat. The heat stopped me sleeping more than three or four hours a night, even with some AC on. You should 100% go for a studio apartment at the least, I visited some other pupils' smaller living quarters and they were very poor. I was mostly content with my studio apartment, it was very large and had some AC, although the washing machine broke and took a week to replace, and there were pubic hairs ALL over the floor absolutely everywhere. Lord knows how that happened, I tried to convince myself it might be dog hair. The teachers will treat you like small schoolchildren. If you are a CEO or something usually you may get seriously uncomfortable with the way you are spoken to. You are expected to memorise things very quickly, and are given homework every day. The hours are quite long, 9 am to 4:45 pm. In my opinion nobody learns anything past 2 pm but perhaps that's just me. Don't imagine it's mostly a holiday with some french lessons thrown in..the institute always tries to take over your time. If you are over the age of 60 I would not recommend this course. The pupils I spoke to around the age of 60 to 70 + seemed to be mostly grumpy and uncomfortable most of the time, which I imagine is down to the workload and the presence of some younger students in their 20's. You are with one teacher 80% of the time, whom you are allocated to near the beginning. Personally I felt the teacher I happened to get was one of the least personable at the Institute. You get the opportunity to speak with other teachers at lunchtime and in the odd other lessons after lunch. I know for a fact some of the teachers are kind and encouraging and funny, but unfortunately our one was very highly strung and ordered the head of the institute to come and chastise us one time two people were 10 minutes late one time each one week. She would also get angry if you tried to improvise or be creative, so yes, your mileage may vary when it comes to teachers. The speaking french 24/7 is a serious chore if you are not already quite advanced. I mean imagine spending all day mostly with the ten people in your class only being able to say basic things, even at breaktimes. It gets tiring. Getting from my apartment to the school and back wasnt a problem after the first day, but I'm decently fit. The food at lunch was usually good. The were two or three vegetarian days where I could hardly eat anything, but they were the exception. The chef Nathalie is very very ill-mannered, although maybe has a little kindness underneath if you are brave enough to engage her directly. You are given about 7 minutes to eat pudding before you are kicked out of the canteen, which is frustrating too, and I usually had to leave my dessert half-eaten. It's quite easy to take the bus to Nice. It's about 15-20 mins, usually very busy. Nice is a bit of a nightmare in my opinion, it's huge, it smells and there are pickpockets everywhere. Also you have to pay extra for excursions. First I paid 37 euros for a coach trip to saint paul de vence, then about 4 times during the day the person in charge of the excursion asked for about 15 euros each time there was a museum or something we were passing through., which was a little annoying. Everyone does the language lab at some point in the day. It may be a little disturbing for some people. When you put the headphones on its like you are in an isolation tank, and your inner thoughts suddenly become very loud and its easy to become lost in thought when you are supposed to be doing french.
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