Your French Immersion Residential Program in Provence
Bonjour ! My name is Julie, I’m 27 years old.
Before moving to Avignon, I worked for Alliance Française in Belgium and Brazil, where I also started my own language school. Graduated with a Master’s degree in French literature and sociology, I am a certified tester in official French exams (DELF, DALF and TCF), and have extensive experience in teaching all levels of French students.
My passion is traveling and meeting people from other cultures. I studied 2 years in Germany, worked 4 in Brazil, traveled to Australia… I met amazing people, who made me want to repay them in kind by welcoming foreigners in my region, teaching them my language and showing them the beauties of my home country.
I now live in the charming city of Avignon, a gorgeous medieval city in the heart of Provence, known among others for its Palais des Papes and Pont d’Avignon (with the famous children’s song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”… ).
The city, which still has its ramparts of the Middle-Ages, is full of history and very comfortable and pleasant to stroll in with its cafés, flea markets, paved streets, charming boutiques, cinemas…
Welcome to my Home in Provence
Our large flat is located in a classified 18th century building, in Avignon’s historical center, within walking distance of shopping, restaurants, daily markets and museums.
The 18th century apartment kept its original charm intact: terracotta tile floors, exposed beams and roofing frameworks, and original fireplaces. It has large windows and is very light. It’s truly a remarkable apartment.
Molière himself played his comedy L’Etourdi in our courtyard just before premiering it for Louis XIV in Paris!
By the way, in July, the city welcomes one of the most famous theatre Festival in the world, le Festival d’Avignon. If you visit in July, the streets will be jammed, and you will be hearing French from all sides!
The kitchen is roomy and nicely equipped, which is good since cooking is one of my favorite hobbies!
I enjoy cooking local dishes with fresh produce from the daily market, lots of colorful vegetables but also meat and fish from the regional recipes.
I will provide 2 meals per day, including breakfast, and share them with you. For the remaining meal, you are welcome to use the kitchen, and there are plenty of places all around to eat out.
If you want, I can also give you gourmet cooking classes (additional fee): I still have a lot to learn myself but I really do love cooking and sharing the art and pleasure of French cuisine.
Your Room in Your Immersion Teacher’s Own Apartment
You will have your own spacious room with ensuite private bathroom.
Your bedroom is truly comfortable, with high ceilings, and large French windows with traditional provençal shutters, overlooking a quiet street.
Of course, there is wifi in your room as well as throughout the apartment.
The ensuite bathroom is modern and functional: a stand-in shower, sink and toilets.
Your Own Apartment in Avignon
Come with your friends or family! My friend lives only a fifteen minute walk away, so it’s no problem at all for me to go there at night. I will meet you during the day for lessons, meals and excursions, and encourage you to practice your French, and you’ll be enjoying the place to yourself in the evening.
There are two big bedrooms with each their private bathroom, so the house can host four people total. Here are pictures of the second bedroom and bathroom.
The Region of Provence in France
The city is surrounded by lavender fields, vineyards – like the iconic Châteauneuf-du-Pape – mountains – the Mont Ventoux whose climb is a tradition of the Tour de France – and picturesque villages: Uzès, Sault, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, Vénasque, Lourmarin, L’île sur la Sorgue, Fontaine de Vaucluse or Roussillon and Gordes in the Luberon région …
Provence is known for being one of the most beautiful regions of France, with small villages perched high up on cliffs, ancient, narrow winding streets, fine produce: wine, olives, truffles, lavender fields and incredible fruits : cherries, strawberries, melons, pears, grapes…
Practical Info About Your French Immersion Course Homestay
Avignon can easily be reached by train. There is also a small airport in Avignon, although the largest airport of the area is in Marseille.
Since I live in Avignon itself, there is a lot of public transportation available to take you almost everywhere! However should you like to be more independent, I suggest you rent a car.
I don’t have a pet but you are welcome to come with your pet as far as s/he is very friendly, quiet and well-behaved.
I don’t smoke and smoking isn’t possible in the apartment.
A One Week (7 Days, 6 nights) Residential French Course Includes:
- 15 hours of tuition – usually 3 hours in the morning over 5 days.
- Accommodation in your room with a queen-size bed, and private ensuite bathroom.
- 2 meals a day with me, including breakfast.
I’ll be happy to go with you to the market to select the fresh produce you’d like to eat. You’re welcome to cook with me: we’ll share our recipes in French!
- 2 accompanied excursions or cultural activities during the afternoon
- Prefered arrival on Sunday, departure on Saturday
The price with these options is 1500 Euros per week for one person.
Don’t hesitate to come with your spouse, a friend, or your whole family! My flat can accommodate up to 4 guests and I have extensive experience and enjoy teaching all levels, and will be happy to teach adults and (accompanying) kids alike.
For one additional guest, the price per week is:
- Euros 210 in half board, without lessons or excursions,
- Euros 700 in half board with shared lessons and excursions.
There are other options with more classes, a longer excursion with me, or no excursion, more or less meals… I am flexible, and will do my best to adapt to any requests. Just let me know.
My French Immersion Program
My program includes formal classes, lots of guided conversations, clear grammatical explanations, but also, more natural interactions about culture, art, food, society, media, current affairs… The key is to make you talk as much as possible in French about anythings you enjoy, so you feel relaxed and build your confidence in the language.
I use comprehensive books and I also like to teach French through games, videos and mostly everyday, real-life activities, such as strolling the local markets and stores, walking through Avignon, exploring the small villages, hiking in the hills, going for a wine tasting, meeting up with friends for a café, try a new restaurant…
I am also a certified tester in official French exams (DELF, DALF and TCF), so I can help you prepare for one of those if you’d like. I have taught all levels and ages, and truly enjoy teaching all kinds of students, so no matter your level, I’m confident I can help you out.
I’m looking forward to your visit!
Follow Julie’s Bilingual Articles On French Today, Where She Talks About Her Beautiful Region.
Reviews From Students
Joanne & Craig – 2018 – French Immersion Homestay at Teacher’s in Avignon Provence
My 16 year old son and I have just spent an amazing week learning French with Julie. We are so glad we did this.
Julie met us at Avignon Train station and the French began!
We enjoyed great typical French food for both breakfast and lunch. Julie is a great cook and we made a delicious chocolate cake together (I’ve bought myself a copy of her chocolate cookbook!) which at times was hilarious but it came together!
Julie’s apartment is beautiful. It’s in a building, 100s of years old (very impressive for Australians) right in the middle of the walled town. It’s just a walk to the monuments and shops are just at the end of the lane so it couldn’t be easier without a car.
There were just so many opportunities to practise and learn French. We’d spend the day with Julie and then watch French TV series at night and perhaps a spot of homework to reinforce our learning. My son and I have similar standards of French however we both have quite different areas to work on, which Julie was able to hone in and patiently target the gaps in our knowledge. Julie also kept it interesting for a 16year old boy… Julie is now an expert in cricket! (Sorry Julie!)
She took us to explore some small villages in Provence, which was such a treat, as it was our first time in that area. We also went on a bike ride on the other side of the river one afternoon, which was good to explore a bit of the surrounding area and see the city from another angle.
Overall we had a great time with Julie. I would not hesitate to recommend Julie and the French immersion experience. We are very grateful to her for this experience.
Joanne & Craig – 2018 – Immersion en France à Avignon
My husband and I had a wonderful week in Avignon with Julie in October. She was the perfect host and cooked tasty local dishes for us each day.
I wanted to refresh my French and she provided high-quality lessons perfectly tailored to my level. We also had in-depth discussions on a wide range of topics which stretched my French and added interest to the lessons.
2 excursions were highlights: attending a reading of L’Étranger by Camus and a visit to an art exhibition held in an ancient nunnery/monastery.
Julie’s flat is amazing. Molière himself lived there and it is quite palatial. Avignon itself is also a lovely town with much of historic significance.
My husband took himself off each day cycling around the region.
Julie catered to both our needs and we ended our stay with an evening on a boat listening to a couple of jazz singers and eating nibbles and sipping on wine.
Maria da Graça – 2018 – Immersion en France à Avignon
Tive o imenso privilégio de ser aluna da simpática e acolhedora Julie durante o peíodo que ela morou no Brasil.
Seu método de ensino é abrangente visto que a gramática, a cultura francesa e a conversação estão harmonicamente bem distribuidos.
Ela demonstra grande interesse pelo aprendizado de seus alunos orienta com sabedoria sobre um determinado assunto até que este esteja totalmente absorvido.
Quando soube que ela estava à frente deste curso de imersão em Avignon e de sua programaçao, nao hesitei em me inscrever imediatamente pois sabia pela experiência anterior que seria um marco no meu aprendizado da lingua francesa.
E estava certa pois o curso superou as minhas expectativas.
O apartamento que pertenceu a Molière quando jovem e que agora ela hospeda seus alunos é amplo aconchegante e confortável e bem localizado.
Amei tudo: o programa de ensino/aprimoramento que é dirigido a cada aluno dentro do seu nivel de conhecimento, a hospedagem como já frisei no paragrafo anterior, e a alimentação rica, variada , saudável e apetitosa como toda comida francesa.
E o mais importante praticamos o francês incessantemente – este era o meu objetivo – a partir da primeira refeição até o fim do dia ou das visitas aos monumentos em Avignon ou cidades mais atraentes da Região.
Julie sou grata pelos bons momentos que passamos juntas.
Indico este curso aos que amam a França e a língua francesa.
Stephanie – 2018 – French Immersion Homestay in Avignon
I’ve just spent a week with Julie in her beautiful apartment in the centre of Avignon. It could not be more central to all the shops, and main tourist attractions. The apartment itself is in an 18th century building in a quiet side street and it’s beautifully decorated. The bedroom is very large and comfortable with an ensuite bathroom.
I signed up for this immersion course because I wanted a week where I spoke no English and from the moment I met Julie we spoke only in French. Julie is highly motivated and very enthusiastic and I felt I really improved with my grammar and fluency. Julie picked up on a lot of my little mistakes and kept correcting me so by the end of the week, many of those mistakes were no longer an issue.
We started our day at 9am with breakfast and then we were working until lunchtime. Just before lunch on my first day, we walked outside the walls of the medieval town, pass the famous bridge and to a farm which sold fresh vegetables and cheese. Julie bought much of the food here that we would eat throughout the week.
Another day we visited the towns of Gordes and Roussillon – a beautiful town set amongst red cliffs and ochre quarries.
During our excursions, we spoke French non-stop and Julie was full of information about the area. Most days we had lunch together or dinner and Julie is a very good cook!
In our discussions and activities Julie included many of my interests. We discussed global politics, economics, different education systems and I joined Julie at her weekly pilates class as I love pilates and do regular classes.
The afternoons which I had free, I ventured around the beautiful city of Avignon.
I felt right at home at Julie’s place and I highly recommend a week with Julie.
Geoff – 2018 – French Immersion Homestay in Provence
I have just returned form my second immersion with Julie. Last year she was near Carpentras, this year her apartment is in and central to the beautiful walled city of Avignon. The apartment, which you have to yourself, is within easy walking distance of many historical and cultural places.
I have been to many places in France but Provence is the most beautiful. Our trips to Villeneuve and neighbouring villages was brilliant, they are so beautiful. Walk to the top pf Avignon and witness the view, especially over Villeneuve, also look back to Avignon from Villeneuve, remarkable. Uzes was particularly good.
The centre of this is of course Julie herself. Not only is she a good teacher, but a girl of so many different talents, so is the ideal holiday companion. The conversation never stopped and we had many laughs.
What I can tell you is, she speaks to her dog in Portuguese and knowing Julie it probably replies to her in – Portuguese!!
Don’t miss an opportunity to immerse with this young lady who has achieved so much in a young life.
Chrystale & Christopher – 2018 – French Immersion Homestay in Provence
TLDR; We cannot say enough nice things about Julie, and our week in Avignon. It was such a great experience and the highlight of our trip. Julie was an incredible host and teacher. We highly recommend her immersion program. We realize that the price can be a little bit shocking, but keep in mind that that price includes a place to stay in central Avignon, private French lessons catered to your needs, 2 meals a day, 2 excursion days and an in-depth culture experience that you can’t get elsewhere.
After our stay, we would 100% recommend Julie’s immersion program to others.
Our week with Julie was the highlight of our month-long trip through France. Julie was so kind, welcoming and a great teacher. My wife and I both took French in school, and we had visited France several times on previous vacations. For this trip, we were looking for an experience that would be more in depth than just brief interactions with the locals. We had talked about taking a week-long class in Lyon at one of the French language schools, but then we found French Today’s immersion program. This seemed to be exactly what we were looking for; private French lessons with a local who could show us around, teach us more about the French culture and get to know someone more intimately than the quick “bonjour, au revoir” interactions we were used to having.
Julie was an incredibly welcoming and gracious host. We were immediately comfortable with her, and she made us feel at home in her apartment. She was completely flexible and worked entirely around our schedule. At the end of the day, she left us the apartment to ourselves. We would have been perfectly comfortable having her stay in the apartment too, but we actually found that it was a welcomed relief to have some mental rest after our intensive French lessons. Julie was also a fun cook. She made cooking look easy as she prepared tasty meals for us. The portions were always very generous and we were very well fed. She also gave us tons of advice for things to do and places to eat. We were heading to Lyon after our trip and Julie even gave us great recommendations for our visit there!
Julie was a great French teacher for us. With only a week, it was ideal that she was able to assess our French proficiency and cater our lessons to our needs. She was well equipped with lessons and exercises. She also had fun games that kept us entertained and engaged. We especially found the games to be a great break from the intensive lessons. Julie also catered our lessons to our interests. One of the most impressive parts of our lessons was that Julie was able to condense information that took us 5 years to learn at school into concise and clear rules and reference sheets. Being able to take these reference sheets back with us has allowed us to continue our studying after our stay.
Julie was a great guide for showing us around Avignon and the region. She took us on brief tours of the city to get us oriented, and gave us recommendations on things like restaurants and ice cream shops. Getting to ride in her car for two excursion days was a perfect way to get to see the beautiful Provence and Languedoc regions. We went to two small towns, saw lavender and poppy fields and visited Pont du Guard. She also helped us rent bikes and took us on a small bike tour to the other side of the bridge for a peaceful ride with great views of Avignon (note that the automated bike rental process was not easy, and we never would have figured it out without Julie). We were fortunate enough to get to go to a theater performance with Julie and meet some of her friends. She was so kind to think of us and to extend and invitation to us.
I’m not sure if this process will always be the same, but I figured I’d give this brief explanation of what it was like for us, since I didn’t notice anything in the French today’s website; Once we verified that the week we were interested in was free (via emails with Julie), were able to make a deposit through PayPal. The balance was able to be paid by credit card upon arrival.
Bring a notebook for yourself to keep everything you learn in one place. We also recommend having an extra notebook for Julie to use as she writes vocabulary words and grammar rules throughout your lessons. If you forget to bring a notebook (like we did), we ended up buying some small ones at Carrefour in Avignon. Come ready to learn and study in your downtime. Y
ou will be amazed at what you can learn in just one week!
John & Yvonne – 2018 – French Immersion Homestay in Provence
Julie is an extremely friendly person and went out of her way to make us feel welcome and comfortable.
Julie worked out on our first evening just where we were in our French development, and by Monday morning was stretching us from that point with clear lessons reinforced with enjoyable activities. She was also sensitive to what was too difficult for us, and so kept us in an excellent learning zone.
We loved the way Julie wrote down vocabulary and grammatical points as they came up during instruction time, used them as teaching points, and left the notes for us to go over, and then tested our memories as we started the next session. We really valued her continual correcting of our errors, and appreciation of us showing our learning in the way we spoke.
The excursions in Avignon and beyond were really enjoyable, gave us ample opportunity to talk French as we discovered some of the special sights of this part of the country.
We both greatly appreciated the huge effort Julie made to help us develop our French, and we feel we gained as a result.
Of course we loved Julie’s home in Avignon, and were very comfortable, as well as very well fed, in her Hôtel Particulier.
Bob & Pat – 2018 – French Immersion Homestay in Provence
I wish to express to you my deepest thanks in alerting me and my wife to Julie Gaudin.
The accommodations were excellent and the location was perfect.
She was both a fabulous hostess and a terrific French teacher.
I have already recommended her to all of my friends.
Heloise – 2018 – French Immersion Homestay in Provence
(For English speakers: she loved it!)
Tony – 2018 – French Immersion Homestay in Avignon Provence
Having just finished 2 weeks with Julie Gaudin, this short report is a way of both thanking her for both her professional and personal capacities and also a tribute to the wonderful city of Avignon.
First, her teaching. I am a 74 year old Australian at B2 level, occasionally C1, but with some ingrained bad A1 type habits which take a lot of undoing. Six months ago, when I made my booking with Julie, I told her that I was worried that my level might be too low for comfort, to which she made the perfect response “There is no such thing as a bad level for me”. Much encouraged, I discovered during my stay that she has two qualities, (in addition to her quick intelligence and comprehensive knowledge) not always present in teachers. One is infinite patience. The other quality, more rare still, is the ability to see into the student’s mind and understand not just what one is thinking but why one is thinking a certain way. The consequence is that one not only learns but also learns how to learn, a gift that will keep on giving long after the course has finished. She works really, really hard.
Academically therefore, the course was a complete success, hard work for me also but so painless that I was always asking for extra homework. No higher praise is possible! My grammatical skills and fluency have improved dramatically, motivating me to keep up the progress in the months ahead.
Julie’s diligence extends to the social side of a visit. Her apartment, in a historical area intra mures, is magnificent with 20 foot ceilings and molded panelled walls. Completely quiet and comfortable.
I was not only well fed by Julie but also entertained to a much greater extent than was required by the “contract”. Our many pleasurable excursions together, ranging from a bicycle ride in the surrounding countryside to trips to the Camargue, Aigues-Mortes, Arles, Fontaine de Vaucluse, Isle de la Sorgue and Villeneuve were all enhanced by Julie’s warm and enthusiastic personality and broad knowledge.
This local knowledge, by the way, is supplemented by her international experience, broad beyond her 27 years, which provides both additional points of contact with the student and also many talking points.
Finally there is of course the grand city itself, endlessly fascinating.
My advice – to myself – is “come again”. To others – if you are serious about improving your French and having a great time, don’t hesitate to visit Julie in Avignon.
February 2018 – Please note Julie has moved from a flat in a large house in a small village of Provence (Carpentras) to a large flat in a gorgeous historical building in the heart of the city of Avignon in Provence. The comments below come from students who stayed with Julie in her flat in the countryside.
Lina – 2018 – French Immersion Homestay in Provence
Vernon – 2018 – French Immersion Homestay in Provence
I can’t say enough good things about Julie and how good a teacher she is. She was excellent at tailoring lessons for me and was patient as I tried to grasp new ideas. When I didn’t understand a topic, she approached it in multiple ways to help move me forward. She used all types of things, like worksheets, games, and videos so that I could understand and use the language. I thoroughly enjoyed my week learning with her. All and all we covered a great deal, and that’s exactly what I wanted. My French improved a lot, and even better, I now know more ways to keep learning and practicing on my own.
In addition to lessons, I also appreciated the excursions. Julie took me on a tour of Avignon to see the Palais des Papes and the city center. Since she’s very knowledgeable about the city and its history the tour was very interesting. She took time to point out things and answered all my questions. I enjoyed myself greatly and even the drive to and from the apartment was amusing.
Another day we toured Abbaye Saint-André and its gardens. I can’t thank her enough for allowing me to take a lot of time to just sit, relax and enjoy the gorgeous view. The view and discussion we had was a highlight of my trip.
The week with Julie seemed to go very quickly and unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Without hesitation I would highly recommend her to anyone considering a French immersion experience.
Nina – 2017 – Learn French in Immersion in Provence
A week of French immersion with Julie near Carpentras was a most enjoyable and constructive week.
Julie is a relaxed teacher and has a skill of pitching lessons at an appropriate level but by the end of the week, she was extending my knowledge of French. Julie uses a mix of engaging and imaginative games to stimulate conversation, along with paper-based and digital presentations. She was able to provide daily support for the revision of errors as well as repetition of new vocabulary and grammatical constructions.
Not only did Julie prove to be an engaging and thoughtful teacher during our formal lessons, but she provided dvds, online and video emissions to support extra learning during the informal periods of the immersion week.
We enjoyed several excursions together. We cycled to Saint Didier for a nougat dégustation, and to one of France’s “beau” villages, the medieval village of Venasque. On Friday we visited Carpentras to experience the markets, and buy cheeses for a meal.
Julie provided an easy lifestyle during the week with excellent French meals during breakfast and lunch. These occasions were great opportunities to continue our discussions which ranged from same sex marriage to IVF, and from historical events and figures such as Napoleon to modern day politics!
Thank you Julie for a wonderful opportunity to combine learning more about France with immersion in the French language.
Geoff – 2017 – Learn French in Provence
I have just spent a week with Julie in Provence. It was a week I will never forget.
The “en mas” accommodation, food, visits and location were all excellent.
But most of all Julie herself. She is a superb teacher, an incredibly interesting person who has achieved so much in her young life.
As a student you need the lighter moments, she is great fun and we laughed so much.
I am unique amongst her students in that I taught her a language, ‘Yorkshire’. She no longer says, “je vais acheter du pain”, but “am gunna get a loaf”.
Cannot recommend Julie highly enough.
Anthony – 2017 – French Immersion in Provence
My week with Julie was both very enjoyable and extremely useful for improving my French
Julie’s apartment, situated near the town of Carpentras in rural Provence, was very spacious and comfortable.
The picturesque surroundings providing a charming and relaxing backdrop to the excellent meals that Julie cooked and served on the balcony. These meals were a highlight of my visit, not only because of the fresh, traditional and tasty ingredients, but because it also gave a great opportunity to improve my French conversation skills with Julie.
Upon our first meeting Julie was able to effectively assess my level of French and identify weaknesses that needed to be worked on and improved. My French level and lesson needs proved to be slightly different to that which I’d specified on the initial contact form, but Julie was able to efficiently adapt the course to my needs and design lessons that were both fun and extremely effective.
Our excursions: A cycle ride up to a very picturesque medieval village, and a trip to the superb historic city of Avignon were really enjoyable and gave a true experience and flavour of the region of Provence.
Megan – 2017 – French Immersion Homestay in Provence
I was very nervous being a lone female traveler to a country where I spoke none of the language but it was, and is, my desire to learn the French language in a way that was meaningful to me. Julie delivered that and more!
As a host, she was warm and friendly and this made me feel quite comfortable in her home. As a teacher she provided rigorous classes allowing me to get the most out of the time, however, she was also sensitive to needing tea, or stretching breaks as well.
Our excursions were memorable taking a ferry cruise out to the islands of the port of Marseille with a packed picnic, touring a nougat factory, having lunch in the city after touring the Friday Market. During these excursions, she gave me history and culture lessons which brought the whole area to life even more than just seeing it.
In the evenings we would unwind with a French TV series where I got lost in the drama of the show. In addition to all this, she fed me so well! Initially, she shooed me out of the kitchen when she was preparing or cleaning up from meals but this felt awkward to me and I had to just jump in and contribute. Eventually, she did task me with helping to prepare dessert and it was another learning opportunity to follow the recipes in French.
She took such great care of me and it was obvious that she enjoys cooking and providing a meal experience for her guests.
The location was an easy train ride from the main airport in Paris, however, it is several miles from the city. Julie has bicycles but I would recommend renting a car for any extra excursions you might want to make.
This part of the countryside is a perfect place to spend a week immersed in the language and culture.
Stacey – 2017- Learn French in Immersion in Provence
I do not want to write this review. Why? Because if it’s time to write this review, then it means it’s time to say goodbye to one of the most incredible people whom I have met.
Wow! Where do I begin?
When I first met Julie over Skype I thought she was very nice and professional. Now that I have lived with her for a week, I know she is a very intelligent, dedicated, talented and quite an interesting person.
I did not know what to expect in terms of “lessons.” I enjoy taking all type of classes and i love to learn but I tend to be very creative and it’s hard for me to sit in one place for a long time. I don’t know if Julie sensed my need to mix-it-up or not but she seemed fine with starting our lessons at the large kitchen table in a more formal format and then migrating to the sofas for a more casual dialogue and deeper discussion.
In terms of understanding my French speaking level, Julie quickly assessed my strengths (vocabulary and my willingness to talk a lot and talk about anything) and my weaknesses (use of proper tenses and prepositions). She prepared customized worksheets to address my weaknesses. And she seamlessly and deliberately wove my new learning into daily conversations, pointing out my proper use and/or improper use of new knowledge. This was a very helpful because there is a very big difference between static lessons and worksheets vs real life conversation and situations which require real world application.
Perhaps this is a stereotype but Americans presume the French have frequent deep conversations about life, politics…subjects necessitating sitting face to face and digging deep into one’s soul. After all, if we also believe the French daily spend hours sitting in cafes, what else could they be doing all of that time? (Lol) Americans also have the notion that overall the French are more reserved and private than we are, and possibly not so interested in making small talk with strangers. I happen to be very extroverted (measuring 99% on an extroversion/introversion scale!). Julie told me she is very outgoing and we quickly engaged in very interesting conversations our first night together; topics such as world peace, different education systems, life, love, raising children, parent/child relationships and more. Although, Julie is only 27 years old, she is wise beyond her years and I immediately felt very comfortable to talk to her and share personal stories. Sometimes I shared stories about my past to help me practice using various French past tenses. And inevitably past tense conversational lessons turned into deep long dialogues.
Accommodations can be tricky depending upon the comfort level one is accustomed to at home and the comfort level one expects while on vacation. I will be honest. From the photos I saw online, I was not sure the accommodations would be very comfortable. I knew they would be practical but not sure of the comfort level. The pictures conveyed simple comforts but nothing luxurious nor plush. The photos depict a spacious flat typical of Europe. I personally did not need plush accommodations nor did I expect 4 or 5 star quality hotel style.
But Julie’s flat is very comfortable, spacious, airy and clean. In her flat, I had my own large bedroom with a queen (or maybe even king) sized bed. The bedding was very comfortable and i had plenty of room to unpack. She cleverly provided me with a wicker basket for my toiletries and while there was only one full bathroom, it was large, clean and the water pressure was perfect. And given the limited counter space in the kitchen, the specialties Julie prepared were absolutely amazing.
When Americans dream of spending time in the south of France we think of fields of lavender and sunflowers, biking around little villages, browsing outdoor markets, tasting wine and exploring historical sites transporting us back a few centuries. Julie’s lifestyle and excursions did not disappoint! Julie had spoken about and was eager for me to see the lavender fields near her home. I assume she knows American’s love to see this. Unfortunately, the lavender fields were not in full bloom, however the aroma was enough to fill my all of my senses. (I’m not sure who was more disappointed seeing the freshly cut lavender fields…me or Julie.).
The village of Carpentras is very charming and has much to offer. Being Jewish, I was happy to discover Carpentras is home to France’s oldest synagogue and enjoyed learning about its rich history. And Carpentras’ Friday market did not disappoint. We tasted wine in Chateau du Pape and it seems Julie has developed a lovely rapport with the gentleman operating one of the wineries which made for lively discussion not about wine! When I asked if it was possible to visit an additional winery while in the area, it was not a problem at all.
Another excursion included canoeing on la Sorgue and then exploring L’isle sur la Sorgue. Wow. What a perfect day. The weather was perfect. The canoeing was invigorating and the scenery was like paddling through a fairy tale. Walking around L’isle sur la Sorgue was picture-perfect and quintessential France. The sites and sounds and smells were exactly as I had hoped.
And I will not forget Avignon. It is very difficult if not impossible to find a city or village in the USA untouched by modern hands. While walking on the cobblestoned streets in Avignon, I felt as if I was travelling in another time. And of course sitting for a few hours at a cafe drinking cappuccino and learning French was priceless. Les Halles was an unbelievable feast for my eyes and stomach. And walking on the Pont St. Bénézet was incredible. The real treat was when Julie suggested we rent bikes and go across a bridge to an island where i had seen the fields of sunflowers while driving from Carpentras to Avignon. Biking along the Rhône, passing by people picnicking and observing the Pont St. Bénézet from its incomplete side was beautiful. Most importantly, we were able to walk into the sunflower field and take some beautiful keepsake photos.
Julie is a fantastic host and cook. She made regional dishes most Americans feel are difficult to make but she prepared each dish ease and everything tasted delicious. Additionally, she made sure I was never hungry and when i tried to help clean up she preferred I relax and enjoy my stay. Of course l’apéro is now my favorite “meal” and I look forward to embracing this tradition when I get home.
I could go on and on about the food. After all, I was in France. I don’t know if I have the writing skills of a restaurant critic to convey how delicious everything was. But I can share some of my favorite foods Julie prepared. She made the following dishes from scratch: ratatouille, cold zucchini soup, Provençal chicken, chocolate mousse, salads, simple but delicious eggs, fish, potatoes and even homemade dips and spreads for our daily l’apero. Who knew bread, cheese, olives and specialty spreads could pass for a meal in itself? Julie even garnished her dishes with mint and basil she grows on a charming window sill next to her cooking area. What a nice touch!
I could go on and on about Julie, French Today, Carpentras and more. Writing this review has been cathartic for me especially since I feel I made a dear friend last week but I am not sure if or when I will see her again.
Victoria – 2017 – Learn French in Immersion in Provence
Jeff – 2017 – Learn French in Immersion in Provence
Je suis resté chez Julie dans le sud de la France pendant une semaine. Elle a été une très bonne prof – très aimable, gentille, drôle et patiente
Un jour, nous sommes allés à un domaine viticole pour voir le processus de fabrication du vin avec un groupe dont les membres venaient du monde entier. Il y avait une chatte qui s’appelait Harvest. D’abord j’ai dit qu’elle était « minable », mais je me suis trompé, elle était « mignonne ».
Tout le monde a dégusté plusieurs types de vin du Ventoux – blanc, rouge et rosé.
J’ai demandé à la dame (la propriétaire) si les oiseaux et les insctes étaient un problème pour le raisin. Elle a répondu que oui : ce n’est pas possible de les empêcher de le manger, mais ils n’en mangent pas beaucoup.
Quand nous sommes rentrés, nous avons vu le coucher de soleil.
Nous avons passé une autre journée dans un petit village qui s’appelle Saint Didier, où nous avons vu le processus de fabrication du nougat composé d’amandes et de miel. Nous en avons goûté et aussi des biscuits. C’est comme cela que j’ai appris l’expression : « c’est une tuerie ! ». Après nous avons vu un petit film.
Un autre jour, on a mangé des glaces à Carpentras. Ca c’était très bon !
Un autre jour avec deux des amis de Julie nous sommes allés à Vénasque, un petit village sur une montagne, pour visiter un château et une église très vieille.
Il y avait une belle vue du balcon du restaurant où nous sommes allés. Nous y avons bu du café – sauf Julie, qui a mangé une glace sans partager avec les autres:) (c’est pas vrai! Haha)
J’ai été très heureux de rester ici et d’apprendre le français avec Julie pendant une semaine. C’est une très belle région et j’espère y retourner une autre année
Elaine & Maciel – Learn French in Immersion in Provence
The week we spent with Julie was wonderful. Besides being very intelligent and a great teacher, she’s a very happy and fun person to be with !!! Her method is easy and fun, and she teaches always with joy and laughter.
The walks were great, fun, full of beautiful sceneries, great laughs and great learning of the French and local culture.
The food was wonderful: apart from learning French naturally while cooking with her, we enjoyed excellent home made French cuisine, cooked with love and incredibly fresh produce.
Julie is always high-spirited, willing to help and teach. She has had a great life with many cultural experiences, not only in France but also of several countries in the world where she has lived or visited.
We can say that it was one of the best weeks of our lives. We went in search of a course and we gained a great friend for our whole life.
Julie, thank you so much for everything!
Sandra – Learning French in Immersion In Provence
I spent one week at Julie’s and I wish I could stay longer! My French improved a lot.
First because Julie’s classes are very efficient — she uses many different teaching tools and the lessons are always very engaging.
And second because I could practice what I had just learned in real-life situations, when having lunch or small talks, with Julie (who is so encouraging, kind and smiling), but also with the other families who live on “Le Mas”.
It was easy to chat with them, especially with the kids who loved teaching me new words… I’d point and say “Comment ça s’appelle ?”… The playground was full of words I didn’t know!!
There are so many things to do around Carpentras. The city has lots of history and is very close to her house which, by the way, has a gorgeous garden and a beautiful view out to the mountain “Mont Ventoux”, and plenty of little places to relax and read a book.
One week in beautiful Provence, learning a beautiful language, gardening (my passion) and eating nice things with fine people… I am already looking forward to spending another week next year!
Sam, Isabelle and William – Learn French at Your Teacher’s Home in Provence
We stayed for two weeks in Carpentras with Julie. She’s is a fantastic teacher and we felt that we made more progress with her than we had ever made in an intensive group class for months before this.
Julie is very patient, but also very keen for you to really improve, and to get your pronunciation and grammar right!
Our son had also a great week, playing with other kids in the large estate, and we all really enjoyed the swimming pool.
Julie took us on several trips around her place. We went to see a play in Avignon, which is very famous for theater, and we took a great (and sporty!) hike on “Les Dentelles de Montmirail”: amazing views from up there!
All in all, if you want to improve your French and immerse your family in French culture, go to Julie!
Laura – French Immersion at Teacher’s Home in Provence
As an American woman traveling by myself, this trip to France was a big deal for me! But it was so easy. After landing in Paris and spending a few days there, I took the TGV (high speed train) to Avignon, and then another train to Carpentras. All very convenient. Julie came to pick me up at the station. And put me right at ease with a large smile.
Since I was there for just a week and I was there to study, I didn’t feel the need to rent a car. I spent most of my days studying with Julie, or by myself while enjoying the sun in the garden, or in the living room on cloudy days.
I’m accustomed to AC, but it’s not so common in France, apparently. It was, like, warm for my taste, but it’s part of the experience I guess. The pool was just right to cool off after a hot day in town!
I was also able to talk with the other people who live in the large house, and that helped me get over my fear of speaking. Then, French kids are not shy, so I was less shy around them as well.
Julie and I took lots of walks and hikes in the neighboring campagne. There are many beautiful villages and panoramic views not far from her house. This region is really beautiful and now that I know the place, I hope to arrange to come back with a friend, rent a car and do a bit more exploring on my own.