Please sign in to post.

French classes / immersion for older adult intermediate level

Bonjour. I studied French 7 years when younger and restarted study 4 years ago after retirement. I currently test at a high intermediate B2 level. I always wanted to do some sort of immersion course. I have arranged two weeks in late October at Coeur de France in Sancerre, and want to add an additional two weeks just before then (The program at Coeur de France is not available at that time). I found two interesting programs and wondered if anyone else has experience with these others or their accomodations.

Cavilam, by Alliance Francaise, at Vichy. The reviews are mostly very good. The location looks lovely, 2 hours south of the Loire. Some reviewer say that the classes are too intense, which seems expected since it is Alliance Francaise, and also prepares people for the DELF and DALF exams. Others say that the administration is very disorganized and difficult to deal with (for example one person said it took them a year to get their C1 certificate), but since I am doing this for fun and not for work, that may be less of a problem for me.

Due to my age (68), they automatically put me into their "senior program" which also sounds like it includes wine tasting and gastronomy tours. I don't like the taste of 95% of the alcohols that I have tasted and have no interest in that, but don't want to show up and look rude by not attending or not tasting.

They offer on site accomodations but the website does not describe them very well. Some of the reviewers mention that the buildings are old, and bathrooms are small and not so clean.

ILA in Montepelier. It's on the Mediteranean, where I have never been. The reviews are a bit better than the reviews for Cavilam. This school seems to cater more to 18 - 20 year olds, and reviewers mention that the kids are noisy and like to party. However, I would be attending in October when youngsters might be busy with their full time school year. The photos online portray the interiors as modern and clean. I haven't been able to find much about their accomodations.

Any advice or recommendations are appreciated. Merci beaucoup.

Posted by
9877 posts

I’ve met several adults who studied at ILA in Montpellier. They were happy with it. One man I know was in an airbnb while he studied there for 6 weeks. Another agency in Montpellier with apartments is Class Appart You could also stay in an apparthotel such as Citadines since it’s only for two weeks. Montpellier is a wonderful, happening city whatever age you may be. Vichy would not be my choice.

Posted by
1375 posts

I do not know these two establishments (apart from the good reputation of the Alliance Francaise).

But if I had to choose in relation to the location, and since I suppose the French lessons do not last 12 hours a day, I would choose Montpellier without hesitation.

Vichy is a spa town of 25,000 inhabitants in the middle of nowhere in the Massif Central, mostly frequented by elderly curists. In October it must be boring to death.

Montpellier (310,000 inhabitants) is one of the most dynamic cities in France near the Mediterranean Sea and the climate that goes with it (the preferred city for Parisians who would like to leave Paris). Less than an hour from Montpellier there are dozens of things to do and see, even in October.

In addition in Montpellier there is the TGV train (4 hours from Paris), and a fairly large international airport

Posted by
32 posts

Thank you for your replies. Montpelier it is! It sounds and looks like a wonderful location with so much to see and do.