Can you imagine a better destination than Nice to learn French? Study while doing some sports activities and visit this beautiful city and the French Riviera. The professionals I met here share a common concern: combining French courses and providing an experience of the local culture, by meeting with the people from Nice. I visited 3 language schools: l’Alliance Française, France Langue and IH International House.
The Alliance Française network includes 800 schools in 137 countries.
The Alliance Française in Nice is a private higher school, welcoming every year in its 10 classrooms more than 1 700 students from 90 countries. The school was awarded with the label of quality in teaching French as a foreign language (FLE quality label) with top marks for every standard.
All year long, the school welcomes a lot of students from Russia, Italy, the USA, and Spain. However the attendance can change sometimes due to the collaboration with other schools worldwide, in order to welcome groups on specific programs designed according to the needs of those loyal students.
What is specific to this French language school, located at 10 minutes walk from the station, is that it targets the adults (or 16 years old students with parental authorization). Also, I was surprised to learn that more than 60% of the students actually live en Nice. This must be the ideal place to learn French while getting to know new people if you came here for professional or personal reasons. I also learned that there is a large Danish community in Nice… The average attendee of the school has a strong purchasing power, higher studies, and already speaks 2 languages.
The Alliance Française is a non-profit organization, focusing on the quality of the language study. All cultural activities are organized by the school itself, guided by the teachers who know their student’s expectations. This allows the school to provide cheap activities and allow all the students to take part in the visits.
The accommodation service is provided with the same concern, with the best prices, be it a French family stay or touristic apartments. For example, you can find a half-board stay with a family for 31€ per night + 50€ administrative fee. Those packages allow to build strong relationships with the French, and many students come back many years later or every year to see their hosting families from Nice.
I took part in one of the activities organized by the Alliance Française with the students: a wine tasting at la Part des Anges (17 rue Gubernatis).
I enjoyed gathering with people from all around the world to taste local wine: Mexico, Brazil, China, United States… and I must say I was impressed by their language skills. Actually some of them are also familiar with French Wine, like this retired American woman whose brother owns a vineyard, although the pronunciation of the French word for wine-maker (viticulteur), is all of an ordeal for her.
She explains she always wanted to learn French and she is taking some lessons at University in Washington. Some younger ladies are here to live for one year or more, they came with their husbands for work opportunities or higher studies. I also met Fernando from Brazil, going for a world trip starting and finishing in Nice.
But now the students are training on questioning in French with me, they want to know for example if the people here like tourists… it is our job to convince them! The teachers prepared some technical documents showing the wine- growing regions and some questions to get familiar with the 5 senses related terms, in order to illustrate the explanations of the cellar man. But after the 4th tasting, we end up talking about plans for the week end or future travel projects, as we share a passion for travel, no matter the age or origins!
2, rue de Paris
The France Langue network has 7 schools to learn French in fantastic locations, one of them in Nice. They are certified by the FLE quality label, and a member of Atout France, the French Tourist Office.
8000 students are hosted by France langue schools every year. The network allows you to go around the country while learning French, with a personalized follow-up from a destination to another.
The France Langue school in Nice owns a 600m2 space dedicated to learning French, very close to the pedestrian shopping area of Jean Médecin avenue, with 15 classrooms welcoming up to 200 students during summertime.
You’ll find different courses according to your level, including the preparation for French language diplomas and au pair programs, and also specific courses for senior students in May and September, as this target is growing fast.
Different packages are offered in Nice :
- « French and sports », to discover the region and practice leisure activities during the afternoon such as hiking, running or cycling. Every activity ends with a stretching session in French, in order to review the main knowledge of the day.
- The school also offers a unique « French and diving » program (3hours each day) or “ French and tennis”.
- For the students willing to learn more about French culture, go for the “French and cooking” package, combining French lessons to cooking lessons with a Chef twice a week, including shopping with the Chef at the local food market. Those cooking lessons mix French students and local people in order to meet with new friends.
If you don’t go for a specific package, many activities are offered, with a wide range of prices.
Regarding accommodation, the school offers family stays, hotels, or residences.
The students at France Langue in Nice have very different profiles. Apart from school groups mainly from Italy, England and Austria, you’ll meet with many Brazilian students, a fast-growing market according to the Director Sylvie Sinnonio, and also German, Swiss and English students.
New this year : a full immersion junior program in a private location, with a full board accommodation. The Mont Leuze property of 26 acres, featuring a swimming pool, and 2 tennis courts, will host teenagers from 14 to 17 years old in small houses gathering different nationalities. All the meals, social activities and excursions are included in the fare of 1 290€ per week. Here again, the main concern is getting to know different cultures as French teenagers will also participate to learn… foreign languages!
You can see hereunder some pictures of the 1st day in Nice with France langue of a group of Austrian students.
As an ice-breaking activity, they discover the typical food market of the Liberation area, along with their appointed French teacher for the week. They are here to put into practice their learning, in order to achieve basic communication needs: What do I need to buy to prepare a “ratatouille” ? Who does the statue on the main square of the market represent?
The students were surprised by the variety of products and the number of stalls… they’ll probably remember the strange word “Coeur de boeuf”, for the beefsteak tomato. Their stay starts with a nice experience of the city and the French language, despite local growers trying their best to answer… in English!
22 avenue notre dame
IH International House
The International House Organisation is a group of 150 language schools in 52 countries.
The IH school in Nice boasts a good location, in the Musicians area, very close to the train station. There, 1 400 students come to learn French every year. The school also guarantees the quality label in teaching French: FLE.
The distinctive feature of the school is to host a maximum of 10 students in a classroom, this way they are actually speaking French during 65% of the course.
IH Nice welcomes many scholar groups, and owns another school dedicated to teaching French for immigrants. Generally speaking, the students are between 20 and 30 years old and stay there for 3 to 4 weeks.
This school also provides a wide range of courses according to the goals you want to achieve, many options for your accommodation, and, during the summer, you can try a different social activity or excursion every day.
I noticed some very interesting and different packages :
- The teenage summer campus (12-16 years old), a residential course in a boarding school. Courses take place in the morning and the afternoon is dedicated to social activities and visits. Meals, transfers and insurance are included at a total cost of 710€ per week.
- Home tutoring: stay and study at your teacher’s!
- Work experience at an organic farm in the region: You’ll need 2 weeks classes in nice prior to this experience (additional cost), then you’ll stay for 2 to 8 weeks at the farm for 700€ (cost for organization) all included. This package is very popular among Asian students.
IH international House Nice
27 rue Rossini