Most of the visitors to this site are learning French, and many would like to learn French in France. Readers often ask me to recommend a great French language program, but since I have only studied high-level French in France, I'm unable to offer beginning and intermediate recommendations. Fortunately, visitors to the forum often discuss their French learning, including various schools that they have studied at. One French language school that many learners have tried and liked is the Institut de français
, located in Villefrance-sur-mer, 3 miles east of Nice.
"I would advise you to take a look at Institut de français in the South of France; it has an impeccable reputation and the school, teachers, and town are great. The basic course is one month but you can attend longer if you wish. You will have French instruction 8 hours a day, 5 days a week during this time in a small class (usually 8-10), the teachers are wonderful, no other language but French is allowed to be spoken by you or anyone else during your day and accommodations are as little as $800 for a studio for the month, and that is in a beautiful town on the Mediterranean which is widely acknowledged to have the most beautiful bay on the the Côte d'Azur.I was an intermediate student, as most people are, and it was one of the wonderful experiences of my life; don't choose another school without at least taking a look at the Institut."
"I would highly recommend l'Institut de français. I searched for months trying to find a school in France and did the same thing you did - asked the forum and someone recommended the school. I went there for two months last summer and it was an incredible experience. And the area was to die for - the French Riviera. It was very easy to get around and the school actually has accomodations close to the facility. The teachers were extremely competent and enormously helpful. One thing I would caution you, spending 4 to 6 weeks in a school no matter where, is not going to instantly translate you into a native speaker - it takes a lot of work and effort and a lot of time."
"I finished almost three years of French at our local Alliance française here in Portland Oregon and then signed up last spring for a four week total immersion course at the Institut de français. The setting for the school is unbelieveable but the best part is how good it is. I wanted a serious immersion course rather than a vacation in France with some French study, which is what almost all of the other schools or institutes that I found were offering.
When I got there I expected some 20-25 students, mostly commercial, learning French for their jobs. What I saw were some 75 students, many or most past 50 like me, and from all over the world, with great dedication to speaking only French 100% of the time. The school staff is professional, competent, and quite dedicated."
"I studied there in 2001 and highly recommend it. My entry level was "Débutante un" and I came home at their level 4. Now after continuous self-study and a few courses at our local Alliance and the community college I am ready to go back. Not only did I fall in love with the school, but the people and village of Villefranche-sur-mer are "impeccable!" I wanted to work and I worked hard and it was so much fun. My boyfriend was astonished one night shortly after my return when I was actually speaking French in my sleep! Immersion is the way to go."
"In 2003, my adult son and I both went to Institut de français for a month (8 hours a day). My son took the complete beginner's class and I took an intermediate class, and we both had a wonderful time. The teaching is so engaging that the time always went very quickly. Classes had a good range of ages from 22 to 75. There were about 7 students in my class."
Please note that I have never studied at this school, nor do I have any relationship with the owners. I have simply compiled the comments shared on the À la française forum
by other French learners. You can click on their names to see their original forum posts and respond to them to request more information.