aix-en-provence

Learning French. Getting There.

It’s taken five years for the Barefoot Blogger to get to the point where she’s making progress in her new language. Now I’m learning French in Aix-en-Provence.

Learning French. What’s taken so long?

If you’ve been following the Barefoot Blogger, you’ve read at least six blog posts about “learning French,” starting with this one from 2013: “I’m Not Learning French.” There’s no real reason you should believe I’m serious now, is there?

Au contraire. Until now I’ve never “committed myself to a two-week, live-in, immersive French school experience.

Why now?

The big reason that I’m taking the leap to attend an immersion language school is that I might have a chance to be successful. The recent 10+ week experience in French hospitals gave me an intensive dose of listening to, learning and muttering French, live or die.

Seriously.

With practically no one around who spoke French during my hospital stay, it was critical that I pay attention and wrap my mind around the language: speaking and being heard. It all began to make sense to me. Now that I can utter a few intelligible sentences in French and I’m ready to build on it.

Learning French in Aix-en-Provence

A couple of years ago the language school IS Aix-en-Provence contacted me about their French school. My guess is that someone at the school read my blog and thought “if we can teach this 60-something American lady to speak French, we can teach anyone.”

After a few trys to schedule my visit, complicated by travel and other issues such as accidents, etc., we settled in on the first two weeks in February. It fit in between my move to a new apartment in Uzés and a trip back to the States.

The date suited my two good buddies in Uzés, too, so they volunteered to drive me to school to explore Aix-en-Provence. So off we went.

Learning French in Aix

Paula, Trish and me in Aix

Exploring Aix

Arriving in Aix the day before the start of classes, my friends and I filled our time with shopping, picture-taking and eating–our favorite pastimes, regardless of locale. The Hotel Le Concorde where we stayed was cheap and cheerful and within easy walking distance for it all.

Retail navigation

Since the purpose of our early arrival in Aix was to explore the town, we had no idea where when we started out. We resisted pulling out a map or GPS. It would be too “touristy.” Interestingly, before long, we were navigating around town by memory. We’d learned our way by recalling stores and shop windows we’d seen and visited.

Learning French in Aix-en-Provence

Dinner at Portofino, a restaurant in the Place Forum des Cardeurs, was memorable–especially the gigantic “bowl” of fresh Parmesan cheese where the chef mixed fresh pasta and herbs.

Learning French in Aix-en-provence

Sunday Market

One of the best things about visiting Aix on the weekend is the markets. We were too late arriving in town on Saturday to go before it closed. So on Sunday we headed to the food market near the Hôtel de Ville which was cheerful and bustling, in spite of the cold weather.

French school in Aix

French school in Aix

Learning French in Aix

What a wonderful way to start a new adventure!

Learning French in Aix

30 replies »

  1. J’ai le ferme espoir de pouvoir converser avec toi, lors de ton retour d’Aix en Provence, dans la langue de Molière pour changer de la langue de Shakespeare. bisous. François

  2. Great and appropriate Confucius quote ! Sounds like things are really turning the corner at becoming fluent-such an accomplishment !
    Simple as a toddler excruciating after 50 … LOL !

  3. That’s wonderful” I too have been learning french for a few years. I also love Aix so combining the two would be great. Looking forward to hearing how you go. Bonne chance!

    • It seemed like a great combination to me, too. The weather is gorgeous today so I’m looking forward to walking to town. Stay tuned…

  4. How far is the Hotel Le Concorde from IS and from Cours Mirabeau? Is that where you’re staying for the whole time you are in Aix? I’m checking out where to stay when I return. Last time I was at the Adagio – very pleasant, but a bit far.

    • Both the hotel and IS are within easy walking distance from Cours Mirabeau, but from different directions. I walked to IS from the hotel in about 15 minutes. If you’re thinking of attending IS they will help you with rooming suggestions. I’m staying with n the home of a wonderful French woman my age who lives 5 minutes from IS. Call them. They are so helpful.

  5. Bon Chance!
    I have been studying French for three years (with a tutor once a week) and I’m still at a B1 level. French is truly the “language of exceptions.” I hope your immersion goes well.

    • Sounds like you’re doing very well in 3 years. It’s certainly not easy, is it? You should try Aix. So far it’s very encouraging. I’ll keep you posted.

    • Omg! I’ll have to find out if he was at IS Aix-en-Provence. How exciting. He makes French seem very inviting❤️

  6. I look forward to more about your experience at IS – I started out to learn French at IS in 2013 – but sadly, became ill and had to return to the US after 4 days. I was/am a total beginner, and now think I’m to old to undertake it again – however I am trying to learn a bit on Duolingo. I love Aix – and really, really need to return. I have never been to Uzés, but have read that it is wonderful. Best of luck with French school.

    • Sounds like you’re a prime candidate for coming back to Aix. I can’t think of a better place to be to immerse in French, can you?

  7. I’ve been learning French for over 30 years – I stink at it! My French in laws in La Rochelle – have not been very helpful (and I say that with humor, as honestly – my attempts to speak French are pretty awful). Wishing you luck. Enjoying your blog. Suz

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