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Institut de Francais, Villefranche-sur-Mer

4.2
#5 of 19 in Things to do in Villefranche-sur-Mer
Educational Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
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Since 1910, Institut de Francais has been actively teaching the French language to students from around the world. The school has as many as 7,000 students at a time, led by 70 native French instructors. Students also learn cultural and religious aspects of France. Put Institut de Francais at the forefront of your travel plans using our Villefranche-sur-Mer day trip website.
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Institut de Francais reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
182 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • I loved my 4 weeks at the Institut de français. I was there to improve my speaking ability in French and I did. The grammar was also explained very well. My professor got the best out of us by... 
    I loved my 4 weeks at the Institut de français. I was there to improve my speaking ability in French and I did. The grammar was also explained very well. My professor got the best out of us by...  more »
  • As a language instructor myself, I am absolutely impressed by the passion, dedication, and professionalism of the Institut. I am an Algerian who grew up in Egypt where English is the second... 
    As a language instructor myself, I am absolutely impressed by the passion, dedication, and professionalism of the Institut. I am an Algerian who grew up in Egypt where English is the second...  more »
Google
  • My husband and I just finished the one month session at the Institut de Francais and it was one of the best experiences we've ever had. He came in having studied on his own throughout the lockdown (but having failed college French!), and I entered after having studied at Alliance Francaise pretty consistently for the past many years. We were both placed appropriately in classes that were right for us. Both of our teachers were absolutely wonderful: very experienced, gifted as instructors, and above all funny and engaging. Our fellow classmates were from really diverse backgrounds, from age 21 to 80's, and from all over the world (in my husband's and my classes there were people from China, El Salvador, Mexico, Kuwait, and Sweden). They were working (many from the World Bank, who sends many students every year) and retired. We all had in common a love of travel and intellectual curiosity which makes for a great self-selecting pool of possible new friends and a strong sense of community. The methodology, which includes strict rules about not speaking any other language than French while at the school, was in fact originated in the '60's, but the Institut has over the years modified it and adapted it. It's focused on oral communication rather than written work and "grammar" as it is normally taught in schools--unlike anything I'd ever experienced and very effective. I can't say enough about my teacher, who took bits of our before-class conversations and seamlessly integrated them into her teaching plan for the day, making the lessons seem very natural and showing us that the things we were learning were immediately applicable to everyday language use. My husband, reading this review, seconded me about his instructor. The days never dragged; I was engaged completely and looked forward to class every day. There's even a "seance pratique" daily in which we learned about practical language for dining out, shopping, food, talking about the news, etc. There's a bit of written homework each night to reinforce the items covered that day. Many of us with a little French under our belts remarked that it would have been great if we could have started at the Institut as beginners because it's a great way to learn. On a practical level, the food was terrific--they feed you breakfast and a three course french lunch (which you eat at a table with one of the teachers) every day. We rented our own apartment instead of using the apartments available through the school--from my conversations with classmates, they can vary in quality fairly dramatically. Villefranche is a great town, but be aware that it's totally vertical and involves LOTS of stair-climbing, especially if your apartment is in the lower vielle ville. There are many really good restaurants in town and obviously tons in Nice, which is very convenient to Villefranche. As for COVID precautions, everyone in our cohort was vaccinated but we still had to wear masks when inside the hallways of the building (but not in class). If anyone got at all sick, at the first symptom they got tested (no one contracted COVID). Our temperatures were taken at the beginning of each day. We felt completely safe (and remember that the vaccination rate in France is much higher than that of the US and most other countries). If learning French is on your list, don't hesitate to enrol at the Institut. It greatly exceeded all our expectations in every way.
  • As a language instructor myself, I am absolutely impressed by the passion, dedication, and professionalism of the Institut. I am an Algerian who grew up in Egypt where English is the second language, so unfortunately I lost most of my French there. The decision to work on my French started in 2019, and ever since then I hardly ever improved with the online individual classes that I intermittently committed to (mainly because as a teacher it is so hard to turn a blind eye to ineffective teaching techniques, so I always eventually quit). The Institut adopts the aural learning style where learning takes place through a lot of drilling, but the school takes it to the next level thanks to using prompts that are about the students themselves (thus creating genuine interest), reinforcing learning through language labs, instant error correction, recap sessions, and constant schema activation from Day 2. I was in Evelyne’s class, and while strict in her teaching, she still built an excellent rapport with and among all of us (8 in total). Besides the aural style, she also encouraged student-centeredness through group work and peer-editing before providing a whole-class feedback… absolutely stunning! I have learned a lot from her unique style and I am planning to adopt some of it with my students. Frédéric, Head of Pedagogy, taught us for a week when Evelyne had an emergency at home, and I truly admired how he always came up the following day with personalized worksheets (and this takes a lot of time and investment) that addressed exactly where we needed help the most. Having lunch with teachers everyday talking about personal plans & hobbies, discussing the news twice a week with Amandine, enjoying daily « séances pratiques » about the French culture mean that you will feel tremendous improvement from week 1. I absolutely recommend the school to anyone interested in improving his/her language in the most natural yet professional way. Je vous remercie très sincèrement, l’Institut de Français!

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