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I recently spent a week with Chantal and her gorgeous family (Stephane,
Liliane and their 3 dogs) at their home in Mouy in the north of France.
My first ever immersion! What a unique and fabulous experience it was,
surpassing my expectations in every way!

Chantal is a fantastic and very patient teacher who within minutes of
meeting you, has assessed your level of competency and designed a
teaching program specific to your needs. Any weaknesses are quickly
identified and exercises given to overcome them.

Not only did my french conversation skills improve during the course of
my stay, I came away feeling I had made some wonderful friends. I soon
discovered that Chantal and I share a love for cooking, so from this
perspective I was delighted to join Chantal on her daily walk to the
local boulangerie, boucherie and supermarché where she would purchase
the necessary ingredients for the days cooking, and where the local
vendors were sure to provide her with only the best and freshest
produce.

A typical day on immersion started with a visit to the boulangerie,
followed by a delicious continental breakfast with Chantal after which,
the formal lesson would begin. At around 11am Chantal would commence
lunch preparations. I would either be assisting with the peeling of the
vegetables, taking notes (in the hope that I could replicate the recipe
on my return home) or doing some revision. Lunch was definitely one of
the highlights of the day. This we shared with Chantal’s Mum Liliane, in
her home, at the other end of the property (the original part of the
house!) Liliane is an absolutely delightful lady and I thoroughly
enjoyed our little chats over lunch which I’m happy to report became
more fluent as the week progressed, my confidence growing with each
passing day.

In the afternoons we often went by car on an excursion. The first of
these was to visit the Château de Chantilly. What a beautiful château,
great to photograph and steeped in history. I was thrilled to see 3
original Raphael paintings hanging there, amongst many other treasures.
The next adventure was to the village of Compeigne where Jeanne d’Arc
was most famously captured. Our last excursion was to visit the lovely
village of Senlis, one of Chantal’s favourite villages and easy to see
why. It was so picturesque and the shopping was great too!!!

Dinner was either a shared experience with Chantal and Stephane or a
tray of goodies personally delivered to the studio for my enjoyment.
Either way it was a culinary delight. The food, company and conversation
at meal times was always fabulous and I was made to feel very much part
of the family.

My ‘home away from home’ was a lovely purpose-built bungalow overlooking
the pool and gardens. It was extremely comfortable and very
well-equipped, there was nothing I wanted for. I only wish I could have
stayed longer and made better progress on the pile of french movies!
Next time….. :)

Whilst I initially booked the immersion with the aim of improving my
french conversation skills, the rewards were much more than this.
Chantal’s relaxed and friendly demeanour made you feel at home from the
very beginning and the learning process a most enjoyable one. It was a
fantastic experience and I can’t wait to return!

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