Which Language School in Tours?

Feb 4th, 2004, 08:51 AM
Original Poster
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Which Language School in Tours?

Does anybody here have any experience with language schools in Tours? I want to do a course in Tours this summer, but there are several schools to choose from. I'm also having a hard time deciding between living in a dorm or trying to rent a studio for the two months. Two months is a long time to stay with a host family so I have kind of ruled that out. I need to finalize my plans as I am finally seeing some decent airfare.

I found this posted on another travel board: "I crammed French in Tours before enrolling at the Universite de Dijon for a full year. Tours offered a two-month intensive language program that resulted in me speaking, thinking and dreaming in French. The "student body" was diverse in both cultural background and age. The castle-laden countryside was beautiful, the local wines were unbeatable, and the locals could not have been more hospitable. We forayed to Paris on the train on the few weekends that we didn't have other events planned. Branch out. . . and enjoy Tours."

Merci pour votre réponse!

PS You can also email me directly if you'd like at [email protected].
tallyhotravels is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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I spent 2 weeks at CLE, Centre Linguistique pour Etrangers; it was a wonderful experience. It was privately owned by a young couple at the time; something I read on internet recently leads me to believe some company may have bought it out, but I'm not sure.

The University in Tours also has language classes, but they are much larger. CLE limited its class enrollment to 8, and there were 7 proficiency levels.

Since I was there for the fun of improving/brushing up on my French, I only spent two weeks, but many others, especially Europeans, were there for their jobs and were spending weeks, months. I lived with a family where I had a private room with my own bath; I ate breakfast and evening meals with the family, who were people, a couple about my age and their teen age son. I'm not sure how I would feel about a 2 month stay re living situation. I did have the option of being as involved with the family as I wanted or off by myself. I chose to spend a lot of time with them when I wasn't studying or off exploring the area.

There were folks from all ages at CLE, from 18 up to 60ies, and everyone seemed to socialize, eat lunch, etc., with those of same level of proficiency with language rather than divide up by age, nationality, etc. I traveled to Tours with a very good friend, but we stayed with different families and spent no time together there b/c we were each involved with our own classes.

I can't say enough good things about my experience at CLE. This was in '94,(yikes, 10 yrs ago??) and they didn't have website then, but I think they do now. Try to google it.

Feel free to ask any other questions.
grandmere is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 11:17 AM
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I meant to say the people with whom I stayed were "lovely people", not just "people". In searching for just the right adjective, I left it out.
grandmere is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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Why Tours and not Paris?
moxie is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 12:18 PM
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Hello Tallyho
I studied for 5 months (October 1994 - February 1995) at the Institut de Touraine (which is linked with, but not part of, the University), and have only praise for the school. It was housed in a beautiful old building (think chandeliers, wide, curving staircases, paintings and panelling), and the standard of teaching was excellent. We studied French language/grammar in the morning, with special pronunciation and phonetics lessons, and had occasional literature classes in the afternoons (with focus on local writers such as Rabelais). There were also options such as history, French for business, etc. The website is www.institut-touraine.asso.fr

The school also organised accommodation, either with host families or in "chambres indépendantes" or studios, or can organise accommodation in the university residence. I shared a 2 room apartment that I'd rented via the school, which wasn't particularly cheap, but it was easier than finding an apartment through an agency - short-term rentals were few and far between in Tours!
hanl is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 04:35 PM
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Oh Grandmère et hanl, you will be my friends for life! CLE and Institut de Touraine are the very two language schools I am trying to decide between! And because of your generous information, I think that I will be well satisfied, whichever one I choose. I hate to tell you grandmère, but now the max class size is 15 at CLE. Or at least that what their brochure says. And I'm glad you had a good experience with a host family even though you were an older student (as in not a teenager) like me. And I am glad to hear that they were indeed more than "just people" - LOL. I wish this board had an edit feature just because of slip-ups like that!

hanl, you and grandmère always provide such good information when you post. Thanks so very much for taking the time to tell me of your experiences.

moxie, originally I had decided on two schools in Paris. I've been to Paris several times and love it dearly. But I have not had the best of luck using my French there because most everyone speaks such good English. I always speak French, and they answer in English. And it's not because I murder the language - I am a French teacher and have studied the language on and off for almost 25 years! Also, I think it would be considerably more expensive to live in Paris for two months. Finding a short term rental that I can afford is just too daunting a task. Is there something maybe that I'm not considering or thinking of? Do you have some language school experience in Paris? I'm very open to suggestions.
tallyhotravels is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 03:01 AM
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It's great that you got information on the schools you were interested in! As you say, it sounds like you'll be satisfied with either school, so I suppose it all boils down to dates, prices and availability now...

Incidentally, I think you're right to look for language courses outside Paris.
Tours is very manageable and certainly cheaper than Paris in terms of accommodation and eating out, etc, and as you say, it's a lot less daunting.

I hardly ever used public transport when I was in Tours - I just walked absolutely everywhere, got to know people and places, and all in all, I felt very at home there after a month or two. Maybe if I'd been there for a year I'd have got a bit bored, but for a short-ish stay, it's the perfect size. And of course there are all those great wines, and the chateaux, and the magnificent Loire...
hanl is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 05:06 AM
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Wow, Tallyho, I was surprised to hear that the class size at CLE is now max of 15-that's quite a change. Having only 8 in a class was a real bonus and each of us got lots of "speaking time." The family with whom I stayed also housed another CLE student and a student from Institut de Touraine, and it seemed that the classes were much larger at I de T and cost was much less that CLE, too. Perhaps there's not that much difference today.

Whichever you choose, I'm sure it will be very worthwhile; have a great time!

grandmere is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 05:44 AM
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Tallyho, everything I find online about CLE still talks about max of 7 (guess I was wrong about 8!)students, but perhaps these are old sites. I assume you have a hard copy brochure; just surprising that they have doubled class size. It happens, tho!
grandmere is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 12:28 PM
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Yes, I have their brochure. It looks like many of these language schools do not update their websites as regularly as they do their printed material. Several that I have looked at show one set of prices on their websites but the insert in their brochures lists a different price, all higher of course! Same thing seems to be happening with number of students per class. C'est la vie!
crepes_a_go_go is offline  
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