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I had been doing adult French classes for many years but the emphasis was not on conversational skills. I have fairly good vocabulary but lack the confidence to have conversations or discussions in French without stopping and starting. Although I am of intermediate standard my comprehension ability is also very poor.

As it happened my husband and I were planning to spend a week in Nice in September when I thought that if I went the week before, then I could do an immersion course. It was a wonderful moment to forget about the lack of courage, make a decision and just ‘Do it’.

Genevieve offered to collect me at the airport but I wanted to find her apartment by myself. This was an excuse as I really wanted to practice speaking French en route to bolster my confidence before diving in ‘at the deep end’ and so my adventure began.

From the minute I entered her lovely apartment she made me feel at ease. I stayed in her studio apartment next door which was beautiful, modern, and bright. It had everything I needed including a sunny balcony with a friendly collared dove (une tourterelle) who came to visit every day.

I had breakfast in Genevieve’s apartment at 8.30 am and every morning I had delicious natural yogurt which she makes. She gave me her recipe and now I make it all the time. Breakfast was followed by three hours of French where she quickly found my weaknesses. I felt I could express myself fairly well in general conversation with Genevieve but I’m sure she slows down her speech to suit the situation. I think she was a little surprised at my comprehension inability when listening and understanding spoken French on ipad. One week of immersion does not help this but it creates a goal to overcome it.

On my free afternoons I could come & go as I pleased. This gave me my time to explore the area by myself and make my own mistakes. I find the French people so helpful and kind particularly when an effort is made to try to speak their language. An immersion is tiring and saturation happens but it is all so worthwhile. I would love to do another course with Genevieve.

I was sad to leave at the end of the week as Genevieve had become my friend and I loved our conversations. I began my 2nd week with my husband near Nice for the next adventure and with a new found confidence.

Thank you Genevieve for everything and for the lovely lunch on the quay side in Villefranche not forgetting the visit to the stunning house and gardens in Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.

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