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I recently returned from a wonderful twelve-day “sejour” in Nice with Genevieve.  I was born to two French parents and grew up speaking French but over the past 20 years have had essentially no opportunities to speak and wanted to my French back up to snuff, so to speak.

The stay got off to a great start at the airport, where I was met by both Genevieve and her very charming sister and I felt immediately at ease as they were both very warm and welcoming.  They gave me a brief night-time tour of the beautiful city before bringing me to the studio where I would be staying, which is conveniently literally next door to her apartment.  I was pleasantly surprised by how spacious and well-appointed the studio is and I felt very comfortable and at-home during my almost two weeks there.

For my first full-day Genevieve had already planned an outing to see a parade since it was Carnival time in Nice.  The day following this outing is when the lessons (a.k.a work) formally started, with a test to asses my written French level.  Using the test results Genevieve was easily able to spot the holes in my knowledge of French grammar and prepare lessons plans.  Genevieve has a significant amount of experience teaching French and it really shows in that she is easily able to adapt her style to match the needs of her students and is a very kind, enthusiastic and patient teacher.

One aspect of the experience to highlight is the level of immersion Genevieve is able to provide.  We spent a significant amount of time together each and every day, whether it was during lesson time, meal-time (she is an amazing cook and will prepare meals to suit any taste), or on outings and I spoke essentially no English for almost two weeks which was amazing.

Genevieve is also an excellent guide and I was able to see many of the beautiful sites around the city, including the fort/castle, the beaches in Nice and neighboring areas (Villefranche-sur-Mer where we had a wonderful picnic again with her very funny sister), and the old city and port.   Additionally, she possesses very deep knowledge of regional culture and cuisine and introduced me to many of the best local culinary delights by taking me out to eat at charming local restaurants off the “beaten path” that would have been hard for me to find on my own.

Although I could easily go on and on, I will end this short essay by saying I loved every minute of my sejour.  I made dramatic improvements in both my written and conversational French over the two weeks which would be very hard or almost impressible to replicate at back home in California.  Genevieve is a delightful person and wonderful teacher, and I can’t wait to go back – I’m already planning my next trip to Nice with her as there is still so much to learn, see and experience!

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