Françoise – Celeste review
Stayed in 2018
My stay with Francoise went beyond my highest expectations!
From the moment of my arrival until my sad departure, she gave her all, going out of her way to create a truly memorable experience that was tailored to both my interests and my level of French. We spent the first afternoon getting to know each other a bit and planning the week—what I hoped to see/do in my free time, what areas in my French I wanted to improve/work on—and it was such a pleasure. Francoise is so welcoming and charming, I felt at ease right away!
Because she knows Paris extremely well, she was able to recommend super interesting visits that I am sure I wouldn’t have found otherwise. (The Gustav Klimt exhibition at the Atelier des Lumières was magical!) Of course, she did this while quietly making little notes of areas in my French that needed revision, so she could make the most of our lesson time together.
As a hostess, Francoise is thoughtful and accommodating, always aware of the needs of a visitor. She is also such fun, with a great sense of humor and plenty of energy, ready to take advantage of every opportunity for a new experience and full of spontaneous, relevant suggestions. We went to the cinema for a recently released film on the French Revolution after a visit to Printemps’ Gastronomy department—and a glass of red wine and creamy goat cheese on the terrace overlooking the city; we went to the new exhibit at the Conciergerie, where we floated through rooms with “histopads” that let us envision the space as it once was; we even found our way into the Palais de Justice, where we were able to sit in on a criminal trial, with judges and lawyers in glorious robes from another era—fascinating!; we spent an afternoon in Belleville, where we had a beautiful Thai meal, strolled through the park (with yet another spectacular view of the city) and wandered the area’s picturesque alleys, visiting local artist studios and peeking in the many cafes and gardens—and of course, visited Edith Piaf’s birthplace. We saw a lovely, quiet side of an otherwise busy Montmartre, an undisturbed section that I never knew existed. She even designed a special walking tour of the 9th arrondissement when I mentioned that I was interested in exploring the quartier.
As a professor, Francoise is so talented—clear, perceptive, patient, and extremely thorough, always ready with the perfect lessons and papers to explain whatever we might be studying. Apart from specific lesson time, the days offered countless opportunities to improve my French in real time and in real situations, with Francoise there to answer my questions as they arose—everything from nuances in the meaning of a word or phrase to fine points in grammar and, of course, pronunciation. My French, including and especially my speaking comfort, improved incredibly during the week—and we had such a good time, so many laughs, throughout the process.
I also cannot say enough about Francoise’s apartment, which is beautifully appointed, with so much light—the 5th floor, with a balcony, from one end to the other, overlooking the area’s streets and rooftops . . . well worth the very easy walk up! I adored my bedroom—so cozy, with plenty of space to put away my things and, of course, also with a balcony view, which was my favorite start and end of day! The Batignolles area is an oasis, a seeming village apart from the tourist throngs that sits in the center of everything. The Metro is two blocks away, and the bus stop is directly in front of the building. And, with Parc Monceau a stone’s throw away, I started every day with a beautiful jog through trees, historic ruins, and gardens.
I have to add that Francoise is also a very good cook, and we had many delicious meals, including thoughtful surprises of my favorite dishes. One night, she invited a friend to dinner, and we had a terrific time, one that gave me the chance to practice my French and make another friend!
In short, I recommend, without hesitation, an immersion stay with Francoise!