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I have been to Paris several times, but my Immersion holiday was my best visit of all. It was the perfect combination of instruction and exploration, and gave me the opportunity to get an insider’s view of the city and visit places that I never would have experienced on my own.

I could not have asked for a better hostess or instructor than Françoise. I was quite nervous about my French skills, since it has been a very long time since I studied French in high school, and I only recently started studying it again independently (using the French Today audiobooks). But Francoise was extremely patient and flexible and knew just how much to challenge me. She was also simply a delightful person to spend time with.

We had about three hours of formal instruction each day, which sounded a bit intimidating at first, but ended up being a perfect amount. Françoise provides a lot of variety in the assignments and incorporates fun elements like videos, pop songs, and field trips with “homework.” I learned a lot, identified my most critical areas for improvement, and had some good laughs together along the way.

The excursions that Françoise coordinated to Montmartre and the Marias district were highlights of the trip. It was a real treat to go “off the beaten path” in Montmarte and visit the quiet residential neighborhoods and beautiful parks just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Sacre Coeur. In Marais, we visited a wonderful mix of art galleries, parks, and historical attractions, but I have to say that the culinary delights stole the show. We visited the Marché des Enfants Rouges, which has a mouth-watering selection of small restaurants and fresh produce, and an exquisite chocolate shop that has operated since the 17th century! Along the way, Françoise provided interesting anecdotes and historical facts, and pointed out all the best views, cafés, and hidden gardens.

Françoise’s flat is in a perfect location for exploring Paris. Her neighborhood is quite trendy and lively, with lots of shops and restaurants. There are also some lovely parks nearby, full of families with young children – with hardly a tourist in sight. Yet the neighborhood is also conveniently located within walking distance of Montmartre and a short bus or Metro ride to Paris’s main attractions.

If all that wasn’t enough, Françoise is also an amazing cook and prepared several delectable meals for us to share. It’s a good thing that I had those steps to climb to her apartment at the end of every day; otherwise, there is no question that I would have come home several pounds heavier.

I cannot recommend Françoise highly enough, and I am already thinking of returning to do another immersion program with her next year.

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