Around France

French Lessons in Aix-en-Provence

If I could choose any place in the world for French lessons, it would be Aix-en-Provence. Just being here makes me feel like speaking French.

The cozy cafes…


Elegant courtyards with fountains…

French lessons

…and colorful neighborhood markets.



The language will surely sink in.

French lessons at IS Aix-en-Provence

My first days at IS Aix-en-Provence have been more productive and fun than ever imagined. Believe it or not, I haven’t been nervous or anxious about my poor language skills. The staff and atmosphere at the school are relaxed and welcoming.


You can tell from the moment you enter the school grounds- much like a private compound- that the business runs like a well-oiled machine. Having been around for over forty years, IS consistently proves they know the art of teaching French.



French lessons from Day 1

When I signed up for the IS course, I attended the two-week course and stayed with a French-speaking hostess. As luck would have it, my hostess and I are close to the same age, and she lives within a five-minute walking distance of the school — past a beautiful park, I might add.


On my first day of classes, my hostess sent me merrily on my way after a traditional French “petit déjeuner” and cheerful bidding, “bonne chance.”


At school, I joined a group of newcomers and met members of the staff who welcomed us and introduced our course of study. Later we were tested for our individual class placement.

Believe it or not, I placed in A2, which means I can: “understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (basic personal information, shopping, local geography, employment, etc.) Can communicate in simple routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe aspects of his/her background, immediate environment, and matters in areas of immediate need.”

Thank goodness for the ten-week experience in French hospitals.

My class for the two weeks consists of four students and two instructors who alternate days of teaching. Already the course of one Canadian, one Austrian, one Brazilian, plus me, an American, have bonded.

French lessons

It will be a great time filled with French language learning and laughs. Stay tuned…

To continue the story, read on. It’s taken five years for the Barefoot Blogger to reach the point where she’s progressing in her new language. Now I’m learning French in Aix-en-Provence.

French lessons

13 replies »

  1. Bonjour Deborah,
    Nous rendrons une visite en France pour deux semaines en juin. j’ai trouvé IS aussi, plus trois autres d’écoles — deux en Lyon et un en Rouen. C’est difficile à decider! Avez-vous beaucoup de temps pour pratiquer parlant en classe?

    J’aime bien ton blog et je continuerai le lire.


    • J’aime IS et j’aime Aix aussi. C’était la combinaison parfaite pour une expérience de langue française. Avez-vous assisté aux autres?

    • J’aime IS et j’aime Aix. C’était une combinaison parfaite. Nous ne parlions que le français en classe. Avez-vous fréquenté les autres écoles? Merci d’avoir suivi le blog. Je serais intéressé d’entendre comment vous progresserez en français.

      • non, pas d’autres. Maintenant, je compare IS, Lyon Bleu, Inflexyon (également à Lyon) et Alliance française Rouen. Donc, je voulais votre avis et je vous remercie.
        Bienvenue chez vous!

    • Merci! Je suis trés contente d’assister au cours de l’école. J’aime les professeurs et l’environnement amical.

    • It’s so much more fun and easy to do than I expected. No stress. Just learning in a comfortable, supportive environment. Thanks for cheering me on.

  2. I have taken so many French courses here in the states, and had a private tutor for two years. I was fairly fluent to begin with, having studied all through school. But then, my business partner lived in Aix and that was the best ever! The days I spent there were fabulous: hearing her interact with friends and vendors really, really helped me. Unfortunately I don’t go to France much these days! It’s all about England now that daughter lives there! Ah yes, just a bit easier to communicate, but I do miss the language challenge!

    • Sounds like you’ve really dedicated a lot of time to French. This immersion idea seems to be the right strategy for me now. I can see I’ll need to return. You should, too, on a visit to UK. Thames for the note.

  3. Cherie Deborah,
    It’s easy and you already know more than you thought!
    Living with a French Hostess was super smart. Try not to speak much English in the home.
    That’s what helped me the most. Very happy for you !

    • It seems one day I know a lot, the next day I’m stuttering. The instructors are excellent and give you a lot of confidence. Best idea ever!

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