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Way around France

Flirting your Way around France

In previous articles we have taught you how to get by in France and also how to read a French menu and eat out. These are all great opportunities to have a great time in this beautiful country. However, over and above this, France and the French language are known to be both beautiful and romantic. Therefore, in preparation for the New Year, we want to get you started on your flirting in French skills. So, without further ado, here are 20 phrases to help you flirt more effectively in French:

Way around France

First and foremost, the equivalent of flirting in French is Draguer.

  • uis-je vous offrir à boire? or Je peux vous offrir un verre ? – Can I buy you a drink?
  • Vous venez souvent ici? – Do you come here often?
  • Vous êtes célibataire? Mais comment est-ce possible? – Are you single? But how is that possible?
  • Tu es drôle – You’re funny
  • Tu es mignon – You’re cute
  • T’as des beaux yeux, tu sais?  – You’ve got beautiful eyes, you know?
  • T’es beau / T’es belle – You’re good looking / beautiful
  • Tu es très jolie – You’re pretty (to a woman)
  • Tu es très beau – You’re very handsome (to a man)
  • Ou as-tu été toute ma vie? – Where have you been all my life?
  • J’aimerais mieux te connaître – I would like to get to know you better
  • Allons quelque part moins bruyant – Let’s go somewhere less noisy
  • Je pense à toi – I’m thinking about you
  • Mon chéri/Ma chérie – My darling (male / female)

And for those who really mean business, here are some more phrases you can use:

  • Allons chez moi – Let’s go to my place
  • Chez moi ou chez toi? – Your place or my place?
  • Si je t’aide à apprendre l’anglais, est-ce que tu m’apprendras comment embrasser à la française? – If I help you learn English, will you teach me how to French kiss?
  • Je t’aime – I love you: Piece of advice, wait a while before using this!

There you go! Now you can surely (and carefully) enjoy your nights out, even more. One thing is certain, whether it’s an affair with a new man or woman, or one with the French language and culture, in order to be able to live it to the full, you really need to make sure that you can communicate like a native!

We hope this information will help you during your stay in France. If before or during your stay, you decide that you want to join like-minded people, who are also interested in the French language, contact us by filling our form here. Our staff and teachers at French in Normandy will be happy to help you improve your French language skills, whilst showing you around the beautiful region of Normandy.

Normandy Awards

French in Normandy Awards

Over the years the education travel industry has seen various schools grow in terms of both size and popularity amongst agents and direct clients. As in any other industry, hard work should always be rewarded, and the importance of such rewards has been demonstrated through the increasing number of award ceremonies within the education sector. These events bring together like-minded people to celebrate great examples of best practices and inspiring leaders, to name but a few.

Normandy Awards

French in Normandy has been participating and also winning at these events since 2007. So, before we move on to our list or nominations and awards, we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all our business partners, students and staff members who have made French in Normandy’s success, possible.

2007: shortlisted for the Study Travel Magazine awards

2008-2012: winning Study Travel Magazine’s Best French Language School 

2012: winning SUPERSTAR School at the Study Travel Magazine awards

2012: Receiving a Certificate of Excellence from Educationstars

2013-2018: winning UED Best French Language School Award

2013-2017: winning the Best French Language School at Educationstars

2016: winning at iStudy Global Awards

2016-2018: short listed for CSR Champion at the ESL awards

2017: bronze winner at the Lead 5050 Charitable effort

2018: winning at the Lead5050 Women Education Awards – Inspirational Woman of the year, our very own Eleri Maitland

2018: runner up at the Normandie Women in Business (Femmes de l’économie) 

2018/2019: iStudy Teaching Excellence Award in France

To us, all of these nominations and awards are not just another trophy or a certificate that we can place on our shelves. The significance to us lies mainly in the relationships that we have built over the years. If it had not been for the people we connected with and the trust they place in us, French in Normandy, would not have been able to be where it is now. Therefore, once again, THANKS to all of you and we hope to keep building great relationships in the future!

French in Normandy

New from French in Normandy: DELF DALF Online

French in Normandy: a pioneer in DELF DALF online flexible learning
Need to improve your DELF DALF skills but don’t have the time or the budget to spend 3 months in France ?
With French in Normandy you can study for the DELF DALF whenever and wherever you choose.
With French in Normandy Online you can get where you want to be.

Our Delf and Dalf online preparation courses focuses on Levels B2, (DELF) C1 and C2 (DALF) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Course Content

Your course will be designed based on the results from your placement test and needs analysis. You will cover all four skills and work on exercises designed to meet the requirements of the Diplomas

Topics covered in this course include:

  • Reading and Use of French
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking

How does it work?

Step 1 Fill in the French in Normandy online registration form giving us your availabilities for your flexible learning programme and the date you wish to start

Step 2 Organise your oral test by skype, hangouts, messenger, telephone

Step 3 We will then send you your planning for Week I which will include:

  • WRITTEN EXPRESSION
  • READING COMPREHENSION
  • LISTENING COMPREHENSION
  • A ONE HOUR PRACTICE SESSION FOR THE ORAL EST WITH THIRTY MINUTE ONE TO ONE ORAL
  • A THIRTY MINUTE FEEDBACK SESSION AT THE END OF EVERY WEEK

 

Questions? Download our DELF DALF Online flyer for more details

All Inclusive Pricing Structure

  PREPARATION ONLINE PRICE IMMERSION / WEEK MATERIAL /BOOKING REGISTRATION FEES
Package 1 4 WEEKS 850 EUROS 330 260 EUROS 60 EUROS
Package 2 6 WEEKS 1150 EUROS 330 260 EUROS 60 EUROS
Package 3 8 WEEKS 1300 EUROS 319 260 EUROS 60 EUROS
Package 4 10 WEEKS 1600 EUROS 319 120 EUROS 60 EUROS
Each package includes a telephone test before hand, the materiel required online and in class, the exam fees and all fees relating to the booking of the exam, material and registration.

Dates for the DELF DALF Exam in Rouen

The Exams are taken in our partner centre in Rouen town centre: 13 Boulevard de Verdun, Rouen;

Opening registration: B2, C1/C2

Contact us for exam dates.

DELF or DALF

DELF or DALF?

DELF: Diplôme d’études en langue française – (Diploma in French language studies)

DALF: Diplôme approfondi de langue française – (Advanced Diploma in French language studies)

DELF or DALF

The DELF and DALF exams assess the communicative skills of a candidate in real situations using authentic documents and they evaluate functional knowledge of communication. These exams are issued by the French Ministry of Education and as such, are recognised everywhere in the world.

FIN and DELF/DALF preparation:

French in Normandy is very proud of our exam success rates over the years. In 2017 we had a 97% success rate. Our DELF and DALF preparation course follows the exam requirements and has been devised in response to student demand:

Our morning classes focus on Grammar, Reading and Writing, Listening and Speaking to ensure that students have the basic language skills required for each level of the exam, following the same structure as our Semi-Intensive course.  This is integral to being successfully prepared for the exams.

In the afternoons the course is dedicated solely to exam tutorials, each one focusing on specific DELF/DALF papers. Students have a course books for extra work and our teachers also give all the necessary supplementary materials. The course also contains practice sessions for all students throughout the course, with personalised correction and feedback. These tutorials and the practice runs are all included in the course fee covering the oral and written comprehension and production parts of the exam(s).  The oral production is done face-to-face to reproduce the exam situation. Several of our French in Normandy teachers are qualified and experienced DELF/DALF examiners and their experience, combined with the tutorials and exam practice means students will be confident and well prepared for the exam at the end of the course.

More on DELF/DALF Qualifications:

DELF Preparation

  • In the DELF preparation course, you will study all four language skills, (reading, writing listening and speaking).
  • The course includes a final mock examination so that you know what to expect on the day and take the examination fully prepared.
  • If your level in French already corresponds to approximately 400 hours of French tuition or more, you can sit for a special assessment test to have access to DELF Stage 2 without sitting for the 4 units of DELF Stage 1.
  • Holders of DELF Stage 2 have a general knowledge of French civilization and can analyse a text and present it both orally and in writing.
  • At French In Normandy you can prepare for DELF and choose the length of your course. You can also take the examination in Rouen.
  • Our preparation courses favour rapid progression as you are in groups with a maximum number of 10 students.

DALF Preparation

  • The DALF preparation course is divided into 4 units; This diploma corresponds to an extensive knowledge of the French language. Its holder is able to master college level of expression – summary, document synthesis, essay, and oral presentation – in chosen fields of specialization: humanities and social sciences, economics, law, mathematics or life sciences.

  • At French In Normandy you can prepare the and DALF and choose the length of your course and you can take the examination in Rouen.

  • Our DALF preparation courses favour rapid progression as you are in groups with a maximum number of 12 students

  • You will study all four language skills, (reading, writing listening and speaking) and our friendly and experienced staff will ensure that you reach your goal as quickly as possible.

  • The DALF preparation course includes a final mock examination so that you know what to expect on the day and take the examination fully prepared.

For more information on prices and booking, or if you have any questions you can visit our website and contact us: https://www.frenchinnormandy.com/prices/

 

Eating Out in French : French restaurant vocabulary

Wherever you are in France, having a meal in a typical French restaurant is a must. Food is an important part of the French culture and being able to experience it will make your trip more complete. In today’s article we are going to identify some of the most common French restaurant vocabulary and expressions that will be useful to you.

Types of eating/drinking places:

Le restaurant Where you go for a big French meal (un grand repas français)
Le bistro(t) Smaller, more casual restaurants
La brasserie A brewery: offers good beer and hearty food.
Le café Here you will find everything: complete meals, snacks and drinks
La crêperie Sells savoury galettes and sweet crêpes
Le bar Here you can have a drink without eating anything
Le bar à vin Wine bar

 

Saying how many people you are:

On est trois (informal) / Nous sommes trois (more formal) – We are three

 

Saying whether you want to eat or drink:

Pour manger To eat
Pour boire To drink
Pour le petit-déjeuner To have breakfast
Pour déjeuner For lunch
Pour dîner For dinner

 

Saying where you prefer to sit:

Je préfère l’extérieur – I prefer the outside.

Je préfère l’intérieur – I prefer the inside.

 

Types of Menus:

La carte The menu
Le menu Set menu
L’ardoise The boards where the specials are written. They’re usually at the entrance of a restaurant or hanging on a wall
La carte des vins Wine menu
Une dégustation / Menu dégustation Tasting menu
à la carte Items that you order off the menu; these would have their own price
Plats du jour Daily special
Assiette Platter

Categories in a la carte menu:

Les entrées Appetizers
Un amuse-bouche/amuse-gueule Small snack
Un apéritif A cocktail / pre-dinner drink
Les plats Main courses
Accompagnement Side dish
Les fromages Cheeses
Les desserts Desserts
Les boissons Drinks
Le café Coffee
Un digestif After-dinner drink

 

Ordering food:

Avez-vous choisi? / Vous avez choisi? Have you chosen?
Qu’est-ce que vous voulez comme boisson? What would you like to drink?
Qu’est-ce que vous buvez? What will you have to drink?
Je vais prendre… I’m going to take…

 

Ending your meal:

Terminé? / Vous avez terminé? / Avez-vous terminé? Have you finished?
Oui, merci Yes, thanks
Ça a été? / Ça vous a plu? Did you enjoy your meal?
Oui, c’était bon / Oui, c’était vraiment délicieux Yes, it was good / Yes, it was delicious
Vous désirez un dessert ou un café? Would you like dessert or coffee?
Je voudrais la carte des desserts, s’il vous plaît I would like the dessert menu, please
Rien pour moi Nothing for me
S’il vous plaît This expression is used to grab the waiter’s attention. Once you have his/her attention all you need to say is l’addition (the bill)

 

We hope this French restaurant vocabulary will help you to enjoy your meals in France as much as we do!


If you’re considering studying French in France, let us know and we’ll be happy to help you!

French in Normandy + Rouen Handball Club

rouen handballFrench in Normandy is really pleased to announce a partnership with local sports club Rouen Handball.

Alexandre Briet, Responsable du développement at Rouen Handball Club signed the agreement with Malika Bezzou. “We think that by joining forces with another dynamic Rouen business we can be more effective,” said Briet. “And as the Club’s motto says – On n’avance jamais seul ! (You can’t do it all by yourself.) This sort of partnership fits perfectly with our Club philosophy.

Malika Bezzou, French in Normandy’s Manager said ‘This sort of partnership is just great for our students and it helps to enhance our visibility here in the City of Rouen as although we are really well known all around the world, locally we do not have the same coverage. We look forward to taking our students to matches as part of our social programme, there will be opportunities for our students to learn to play handball and we can all benefit from the Hand fit sessions that the Club offers !

School owner, Eleri Maitland commented, “I am really enthusiastic about this partnership which offers benefits for both our staff and students and adds a new dimension to our school. French in Normandy is keen to open as many doors as possible for our students to integrate French life and to have meaningful contacts with local people outside of the school. Thank you so much Rouen Handball we all look forward to this new venture.”

Pourquoi réaliser son séjour linguistique à Rouen ?


Ah la Normandie, l’une des régions de France les plus visitée ! Ses atouts sont nombreux : paysages variés à couper le souffle, architecture typique, histoire riche et une culture fascinante… Vous l’avez compris, c’est un incontournable lorsque l’on souhaite découvrir la France.

Rouen, sa capitale, bénéficie ainsi de nombreux avantages ! Si vous cherchez une ville française intéressante pour réaliser un séjour linguistique, laissez-moi vous donner cinq bonnes raisons de choisir Rouen comme destination !


Première raison : son emplacement géographique.

Rouen profite d’une excellente localisation géographique, située à mi-chemin entre Paris et les plus belles plages de Normandie, vous aurez la possibilité de faire de nombreuses excursions pour profiter de la capitale française ou bien de la nature normande. séjour linguistique à rouen

La Normandie est l’une des régions les plus célèbres de France et à juste titre ! Sa renommée est due à plusieurs facteurs : histoire riche, architecture propre à elle, gastronomie, foyer de l’impressionnisme, artistes célèbres…

De ce fait il y a une multitude de lieux merveilleux à découvrir en Normandie : les falaises d’Etretat, le port d’Honfleur, Giverny, Bayeux, les plages du débarquement, la cathédrale de Rouen sans oublier le célèbre Mont Saint-Michel… Vous n’aurez pas le temps de vous ennuyer !

Deuxième raison : la beauté de la ville.

Rouen est une ville marquée par l’histoire et cela se voit à travers son style architectural et ses monuments. Dans le centre-ville, vous aurez la possibilité de parcourir des rues pittoresques au style médiéval. Prenez du temps pour vous y perdre et découvrez ainsi les petits commerces de la ville, Rouen possède d’excellents bars et restaurants. La rue du « Gros Horloge » est probablement la plus belle, si vous montez en haut de cette horloge, vous aurez l’occasion d’admirer de magnifiques panoramas de la ville.

séjour linguistique rouenDans bon nombre de classements, Rouen figure dans le top 10 des villes françaises les plus jolies. De nombreux peintres et photographes y viennent pour immortaliser certaines vues. Ce fut par exemple le cas du célèbre peintre Monet !

Troisième raison : un grand centre de culture !

Rouen, lieu de naissance de l’impressionnisme ! Au musée des Beaux-Arts, vous trouverez une vaste collection de peintures, la deuxième plus grande du pays ! Si vous aimez l’art, vous ne serez pas déçu.

Le célèbre peintre Pissaro aurait lui-même déclaré :“Le paysage le plus splendide qu’un peintre puisse rêver : la vue de Rouen dans le lointain, avec la Seine se déroulant calme comme une glace et des coteaux ensoleillés.”

Grâce à ses grands artistes, les musées de Normandie détiennent la seconde collection impressionniste de France ! Le Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen présente tout un ensemble d’incroyables peintures impressionnistes réalisées par les peintres les plus célèbres. Vivre à Rouen, c’est donc approcher cette sensation de rêverie ! Si vous êtes passionnés par l’impressionnisme, vous pouvez découvrir l’ensemble du patrimoine normand lors du Festival Normandie Impressionniste. Vous aurez l’occasion de faire des sorties, assister à des conférences et des lectures pour suivre les traces de Monet et autres célèbres peintres.

Quatrième raison : les activités à faire dans la région !

Non seulement Rouen est une ville qui a du charme et un certain art de vivre, mais c’est aussi un lieu idéal pour les activités sportives ! Si vous aimez les balades à vélo et les randonnées, vous passerez sans aucun doute une grande partie de votre temps sur les bords de Seine ! C’est un endroit idéal pour pratiquer ce genre d’activités ! Rouen possède également des parcs et des jardins reposants, comme le Jardin des plantes, idéal si vous avez envie de lire ou de vous reposer dans un endroit calme !

Si vous sortez de la ville, vous aurez accès à toute la nature normande ! Non loin de Rouen se trouvent le Parc Naturel des Boucles de la Seine Normande ou encore le parc animalier de Roumare ! Vous pourrez également pratiquer des loisirs comme le paintball, l’acrobranche et l’équitation ! Nul doute que vous aurez grand plaisir à découvrir tous les merveilleux panoramas normands !

De plus, sachez que Rouen est une ville très sportive ! Il y a de nombreux clubs de sport dans le centre-ville et de nombreux événement sportifs sont organisés tout au long de l’année, venez donc pratiquer votre activité favorite !

séjour linguistique rouen

Cinquième raison : une ville idéale pour étudier !

Eh oui ! Il y a une grande université et de nombreuses écoles de formation à Rouen ! Si vous envisagez de faire des études en France, vous trouverez très probablement la formation idéale ! Il y a notamment l’INBP (Institut National de la Boulangerie et de la Pâtisserie) si vous voulez devenir un expert en pâtisseries françaises ! séjour linguistique à rouen

Rouen a de ce fait une vie étudiante active, de nombreux événements sont organisés pour faire connaissance avec d’autres personnes ! C’est également une destination Erasmus prisée, vous pourrez rencontrer des étudiants du monde entier !

Enfin, pour apprendre le français, il y a la célèbre école French in Normandy ! Décorée de nombreuses fois, c’est certainement le meilleur centre de formation pour apprendre la langue française ! L’école a une excellente réputation et offre des cours de qualité, le tout dans un endroit convivial et agréable ! Si vous souhaitez améliorer votre niveau de français, vous avez maintenant la bonne adresse ! Sachez également que French in Normandy peut vous aider à vous insérer dans un cursus universitaire français, si vous désirez poursuivre vos études à Rouen ou dans une autre ville française.

Vous avez maintenant cinq excellentes raisons pour venir faire votre séjour linguistique à Rouen ! Vous l’avez compris, c’est l’une des meilleures villes françaises pour découvrir la culture française ! Nous vous attendons avec impatience !

35 kg 210 g de nourriture | LES RESTOS DU CŒUR


Merci pour votre générosité !

35 kg 210 g de nourriture récoltes pour les Restos du Coeur. Merci aux étudiants de French in Normandy!

LES RESTOS DU CŒUR

Fondés par Coluche en 1985, les Restos du Cœur est une association loi de 1901, reconnue d’utilité publique, sous le nom officiel de « les Restaurants du Cœur – les Relais du Cœur ». Ils ont pour but « d’aider et d’apporter une assistance bénévole aux personnes démunies, notamment dans le domaine alimentaire par l’accès à des repas gratuits, et par la participation à leur insertion sociale et économique, ainsi qu’à toute action contre la pauvreté sous toutes ses formes ».

Presque 30 ans plus tard, ce sont 130 millions de repas équilibrés qui sont distribués par l’association (2012-2013). Les Restos du Cœur ont malheureusement largement franchi la barre d’un milliard de repas servis depuis leur création…

Aujourd’hui, les carences alimentaires les plus graves ont presque disparu, mais la pauvreté a pris un autre visage : accidents de la vie, contrats précaires et travailleurs pauvres, jeunes de moins de 25 ans ne disposant pas du RSA, retraités disposant du seul “minimum vieillesse”…

En France, plus de 8 millions de personnes vivent sous le seuil de pauvreté. Source : Rapport INSEE sur la précarité en France du 30 août 2011 (chiffres INSEE 2009)

Au-delà de l’aide alimentaire, les Restos du Cœur ont très vite étendu leurs actions à l’aide à la personne et à l’insertion. Car pour sortir durablement de l’exclusion, un repas ne suffit pas. Il faut aussi résoudre toutes les difficultés (retrouver un emploi, avoir un toit,…) pour une insertion durable.

La plus grande partie des ressources de l’association provient des dons et legs (46.1 % en 2012/201). S’y
ajoutent les produits des opérations Enfoirés (12.3 % en 2012/2013) et les subventions des collectivités publiques (en 2012/2013, 17.4% pour les organismes nationaux, 11.7 % de produits en provenance de l’Union Européenne et 9.1% de produits divers et financiers).

Les Restos du Cœur sont très soucieux d’utiliser au mieux ces fonds publics et privés : les frais généraux sont réduits (7% en 2012-2013) et les dépenses superflues éliminées. En conséquence, plus de 93 % des ressources sont consacrés aux actions de l’association.

L’activité de l’association ne s’exerce que sur le territoire français métropolitain. Il n’existe aucune association agréée en dehors de l’Hexagone, car cela nécessiterait des structures de gestion beaucoup plus lourdes et donc plus onéreuses. Et, parce que les législations et les règles fiscales sont différentes, aucune association basée ou opérant à l’étranger ne relève de l’association française.



 

Le football c’est l’école de la vie… Albert Camus ⚽️🏃🏾

football ecole de la vie5 Groupement fle schools supported a competition organised by the French linguistic attaché in Spain, Manuela Ferrero Pinto. The French Ambassador, M Yves Saint-Geours in Spain was the guest of honour at the Institut Français de Madrid at the ceremony to give out the prizes to enthusiastic young learners of French.

The national competition, to celebrate the anniversary of French author Albert Camus’ Nobel Prize award, was organised by the Institut Français in Spain. Existential author Camus was 44 when he received the award and had been a first class footballer until tuberculosis cut short his sporting career.

Groupement fle schools Accent Français , CMAF, Cap d’ail, French in Normandy, Institut de Touraine and LSF all supported the initiative giving a week of French lessons to winning teams of 6 from various schools throughout Spain. 

Said Groupement fle spokesperson Eleri Maitland, who was present at the ceremony on behalf of GFLE, “Groupement fle is proud to partner the Institut Français in Spain. Our job is to encourage and support initiatives that put the French language centre stage. Naturally, as the number one network of French language schools in France, it is our role to work closely with French government institutions to encourage and promote the French language. We are delighted to have been instrumental in this fantastic and very successful project and we look forward to welcoming the winners to France this year“.


A Good Test of my French | Student Blog

Back to England and an unexpected French lesson for Alan


Bonne Année mes amis,

J’espère que tu as passe de bonnes vacances ?

I did, but not until after a little French adventure! It’s Friday 22nd December and after a few lunchtime celebrations and Joyeux Noels at the school, all the little elves were rushing home for Christmas. Including me who had left French in Normandy and taken a leisurely drive to Ouistreham, near Caen, to catch my overnight ferry back to England to see family and friends and astound them with my linguistic excellence over the Christmas period. I arrived at the port early, 4.45pm, chilled and ready to have a relaxing dinner before boarding at 10pm; but then disaster struck! I noticed a red battery light on my dashboard had come one; then while I am staring at it wondering if I can make it across to England to deal with it, the rest of the dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree; as pretty but not as welcome I can tell you. Then the engine stopped.

It’s now 5pm, the last Friday before Christmas, it’s raining heavily, my emergency breakdown insurance had lapsed, and I had not renewed it, silly boy. It is now that a little extra French language practice was going to begin. I noticed a gendarmerie van with three officers in it parked nearby. I walked over and politely ‘frappe la porte’ and in my best French asked if they could help me as my car had “…ma voiture est tombée en panne…”. They asked if I had insurance cover and gave a little gallic shrug when I said no. I took this to mean you’re on your own mate; so, I trudged back to the car wondering what to do. However, I did the French police a disservice as a few minutes
later they walked over to say in a mix of French and English that they had found and called a breakdown truck. I was very grateful and even broke open some Christmas chocolates to say thank you, which being good policeman they politely declined. Anyway, less than 30 minutes passed, and the breakdown truck arrived with a lovely man called Jacques to look after me. He spoke not one word of English, so off I went again, explaining the batterie est mort. He popped the bonnet and within 30 seconds had discovered the problem, le courroie de ventilateur est cassé. A broken fan belt to you and me. I was going nowhere tonight and nowhere for the next week in my car!

Donc…now I had to organise the car to be towed to the garage in Caen, for them to keep it safe until I returned and to organise the repair. In the meantime, I had to reserve a hotel for the evening, change my boat reservation, book a hire car for me to collect from Caen railway station, arrange to collect my suitcases from my car in the morning and arrange a taxi to collect me to take me to Hertz office in the morning. All of it in French! By the time I had sat down in the hotel restaurant that evening and hit the carafe du vin rouge that was essential if I was to remain sane, I felt exhausted but also a rather smug sense of satisfaction at what I had achieved. I guarantee I would not have been able to have organised all of this in French just six weeks before. To complete the tale, off I went in my little Peugeot rental car for two weeks and I had a lovely Christmas with family and friends. I had to, of course, alter my return crossing on the telephone from England because I needed to arrive on the Saturday to collect my car and return the hire car (another successful conversation). By the time I arrived back and returned the hire car and picked my repaired vehicle up, I was speaking like a native. Well, not really, but certainly my confidence was high even if my French was pretty lousy.

At this point I’d like to tell my English friends that the rumours about French people not talking to you unless your French is perfect is utter rubbish. Every person I met could not have done more to help me. They spoke slowly, they repeated words and sentences, so I could understand, and they even chipped in with the odd phrase in English. I even had a conversation with the hotel patron about it and he said the problem is “you Eengleesh, you ask me if I parler anglais and if I say a leetle, you begin talking to me as if I am fluent…”. I think us Brits need to try harder.

Anyway, that was that. A very handy little exercise in French and a large reminder to renew one’s breakdown cover on one’s car. I dare not tell you how much it all cost me!!

So, its January 8th, first day back at school and this week we are under the watchful eye of the senior Professeur, Olivier. I was a little apprehensive this morning I must admit. The morning period was spent huddled in a circle having a little conversation about names and introductions and where we lived. Basically, a little refresher and my goodness it was needed by all of us. Lots of blank looks and painful frowns as we struggled to recall vocabulary and grammar but by break time it was gradually seeping back into our befuddled brains. By close of day today we were back on the ball and learning new stuff. Prof Olivier’s bad-boy reputation is unjustified as he turned out to be as much fun and laughter as the rest of his colleagues, and he wears a natty line in checked trousers as well!

I’ll keep you posted.

Alan