Day 1: Adventures in the South of France (language school)

… very recently a spot opened up at the Institute de Francais in a tiny town in the South of France called VilleFranche. It is two miles (yet sixty Euros by cab) from Nice so here I am, improving my French so that winemakers in Burgundy, Champagne, and Bordeaux can actually understand me.

The photo above of a fellow student represents the ‘first day frenzy’ of moving into our apartments only to discover there is no soap, paper, cleaning products of any sort. During an extended lunch hour most of us raced to the very few local stores in this tiny village to scoop up their limited supplies.

Some of these supplies included wine … so of course I focused on a Masters of Wine style ‘taste test’ of a very good Cuvee Prestige 2010 Vacqueyras (mostly old vine grenache, some syrah, 10% mouvedre) for about 13 Euros, with a not so great Ventoux that curiously was awarded a medal.

… yet I digress from what it’s like to take an immersion class in the South of France. Today was my first day and it was ‘test day’ to determine what level we are in. We had to take many tests and be interviewed in French.

I tried to speak French with everyone yet English was spoke today – tomorrow we will be fined one Euro if we are caught speaking any language other than French.

Many rules here – the most disturbing to me is the no blackberry rule – not sure if we will be expelled yet it is clear I’ll have to work on my crackberry habit.

Fellow students are all very nice and come from all over …

… the village is small and simple and though incredibly lovely (and I have a fab view of the bay from my school supplied apartment) I can’t imagine what I would do here unless I was in school or to work.

I visited another village tonight to get Euros (yes, our village is that small) and buy supplies you can’t get in VilleFranche, such as wine and champagne glasses. I bought a beach towel for my best friend who will be joining me on Bastille day. In this village, people didn’t seem to work or go to school and appeared to spend their days at the beach and cafes which maybe is why everyone comes chere.

More later!




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