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French language course in Paris?

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Mar 10th, 2012, 09:32 AM
  #1
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French language course in Paris?

I am just beginning to think of taking a solo trip to Paris. I've been there just once, for three nights, with my family. But I want to return alone and soak it in.

In order to do so, I am thinking of taking a French language course, to revive what little I remember from my college courses. I was fairly conversant in French by the end of my senior year, as we read novels in French and discussed them in French. But I haven't kept up with it at all.

Anyone know of a good course to take in Paris, that would also involve cultural activities in and around Paris? Googling, I have found many of them, and am wondering if the Sorbonne is the best place to look.

This could be a one- or two-week visit. Does anyone have direct experience?

Thanks so much!
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Mar 10th, 2012, 05:04 PM
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I've attended two university summer courses in Paris (including the Sorbonne) and one private school. No university has classes for 1-2 weeks that I've ever seen. The minimum is a month, so that's out. I really did enjoy those experiences, and I actually liked l'Institut Catholique de Paris better than the Sorbonne in terms of the educational experience (and the residence hall, which was very nice and in St Germain).

So you'll need a private school. This is the one I attended and it was very good (I had read a newspaper article about it). It is one of the few with rolling entry dates (meaning you can pretty much start any week you want) and classes of only a week or two, at least if you are not a beginner. http://www.institut-parisien.com/

It was a good school and the students were serious, they tended to be expats who were living in Paris and needed to learn the language or businesspeople who had to learn French for their job. There were a few people doing it just for fun, like me. They do have just a conversational class that is 10 hours a week if you just want to brush up (that's what I took, actually). They have some other courses, you'd have to see if there is anything that is cultural.

There are lots of private schools out there but I don't know about any of the other ones (I think I've heard good things about Accord). But I just don't think there are hardly any that will have classes for only a week. You can check Alliance Francaise, also (although I've heard mixed reviews on them) but I don't think they have anything like that, either (such short courses).
Christina is offline  
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Mar 10th, 2012, 06:35 PM
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Thank you, Christina. That is very helpful.

There is an active Alliance Francaise here in my home town, but I won't bother to contact them if reviews are mixed. I like the idea of the one you describe.

Would that be a school that would also offer some 'cultural courses', like optional activities that are not tourist-geared, but with an historical/cultural focus.

Thanks again. I appreciate it.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 05:04 AM
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I have done 5 linguistic stays in France and one in New Caledonia. I chose not to do my courses in Paris as I found that the locals in smaller places were more patient with my attempts at French and I had lots more opportunities to practice using my French when outside of Paris. In addition, friends who had studied in Paris found that there were large numbers of students in the classes. I love visiting Paris but for learning French I recommend smaller places. I have covered this in a post I wrote about selecting a French immersion programme:
http://femmesfrancophiles.blogspot.c...rogrammes.html

I have also documented in more detail my experience at the Alliance française de Rouen (1 hr 10 min from Paris by train) where I studied 3 times: http://femmesfrancophiles.blogspot.c...programme.html
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Mar 14th, 2012, 08:04 AM
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Very nice. Thank you, I will check out that info. Good point about Paris have less patience with it.
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May 18th, 2012, 02:12 AM
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I think Nouqa Langues would have exactly what you're looking for...I was in Paris for a short time during the summer and signed up for a few courses with them. I was looking for cultural aspects and maybe outside activities as well, and my professor took me to a few sites we studied! Very cool to have a native Parisian explaining the history behind everything you're seeing...she was really nice as well! We had a lot of fun and I still email her
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May 18th, 2012, 08:35 AM
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Thank you, hamingja. I have changed my mind and scheduled instead a two-week trip to Lisbon, London and Paris. So I may not have time for a language course, but I like what you say about Nouqa Langues. Sounds perfect.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 06:18 AM
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Sorry to report, the Alliance Francaise in Paris was one of the worst experiences of my life (taken at the start of July 2012). To start, they failed to respond to numerous emails (over 5) about my registration etc prior to my arrival in Europer, then they didn't enrol me correctly (and blamed me), refused to fix it until a French native contacted them about it and despite arriving 8am for a 9am start - I ended up being 45 minutes late to my class due to thier error).

Worst of all, I was belittled and humilated in classes so that my health declined as a result of this and I was not able to return to classes. When I asked for a refund of my monies, the didn't respond to my emails and when I did finally receive an email, they left the issue of a refund open. On my return home, nearly 2 months later, I realised that they had neither responded to me, nor refunded my monies.

On emailing them again (and being ignored again) I was advised that they would not refund my monies because I was always welcomed at the school!!!!!! (and this only after 2 months and me constantly following up.

Would not recommend anyone to waste their money at this organisation whose only interest is in taking people's money and not providing the service they claim to provide on their website.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 10:24 AM
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That's too bad, sounds like it was not for you. I had heard some iffy things about them, but mainly that there were so many students there who weren't serious that the teaching and classes weren't that rigorous. And I think they do allow some shorter term or enrollees to come in continually from what I've since read and you obviously can't have the same kind of courses when you allow that as a school like the Sorbonne where you all start at one time and that's that.

As for the belittling etc in class, that is probably personal opinion, in my experience, some French teachers are not always that sympa and it can be brusque if you aren't used to it or don't expect it. I had a teacher at the Sorbonne who was rather mean to a Japanese man, also, but being Japanese he just took it, but several of us students remarked outside class how mean the teacher was to him, unnecessarily. It happens.

Don't know about the administrative details of your post, of course, but I really would not expect any school to just refund your money because you stopped coming to class, in fact, no school I've attended would refund anything after the first week. So I'd forget about that myself.
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