More Reviews for Evelyne
Arlène – 2017
In October 2017, I was fortunate to participate in an immersion program in the Basque region of France. Two weeks were spent with Myriam in Bayonne and one week was spent with Evelyn in Anglet. Both women were extremely kind and friendly, and helped me feel right at home.
Myriam and Evelyn have lovely homes in the Basque country. My bedroom and bathroom were in a separate part of the house. They were beautifully decorated and very comfortable. Meals were always delightful. The food was delicious and the conversations were fun and enlightening. At Myriam’s home, we would sometimes watch interesting television programs during breakfast and discuss the concepts presented. I learned information about French books, art and the news. Evelyn provided a relaxed atmosphere where we enjoyed meals with Jean-Pierre, her husband, Vanie the dog and Choquette the cat. Since we are all animal lovers, we had many lively discussions about our pets and their humorous antics.
A highlight of my visit was the time spent with their extended families. Every Friday evening, Myriam’s entire family comes to her house for dinner. First, I met her mother who makes the most delicious apple tart. Then her children and grandchildren arrived. I was so excited to be able to maintain a conversation with her adolescent grandchildren, as well as the rest of the family. At Evelyn’s home, I enjoyed an afternoon lunch with her mother and a visit from her daughter. They were both delightful and most pleasant. Being able to converse comfortably with them, helped me feel more confident and proud of my accomplishments.
Two hours a day we had interesting and informative French lessons. We worked on grammar concepts, read and discussed brief articles from our text book and listened to French stories to enhance my comprehension skills. The lessons helped to fill in some missing gaps of knowledge, as well as expand and increase my French language aptitude.
We went on many fascinating excursions to the Basque regions, in both France and Spain. Myriam and Evelyne were excellent tour guides and shared delightful stories about the Basque people and their rich cultural lives. We spent time together in Bayonne, Ainhoa, Espelette, St Jean de Luz in France, as well as visited some little villages in Spain. On one occasion, I went with Myriam to a forest in the Spanish mountains to look for mushrooms. Hiking through the magnificent woods was invigorating and stimulating.
I sincerely enjoyed my French immersion program. This was greatly enhanced by my gracious and generous host families. I hope to return in the near future for another exciting and enlightening experience.
Eva – 2017
You will find in Evelyne and her husband, Jean-Pierre, naturals at welcoming you to their home, family and beautiful garden as well as the stunning landscape of the Pays-Basque while learning and improving your French language skills.
Both, Evelyne and Jean-Pierre, are generous with their time, they are great conversation partners and very easy to get along with.
Evelyne is an excellent teacher helping you every step of the way to improve your French and make the most of your stay. She knows how to explain French grammar and challenges you to speak French every day during lessons as well as the rest of the day over delicious lunch and dinner. She is flexible and will tailor your lessons to what you want and expect. You can’t help, but learn a lot.
Enjoy every minute of your stay!
Betsy – 3 Weeks 2017
I spent three weeks in the Basque country- two with Myriam and one with Evelyne; both are warm, friendly women! It was a great experience that I hope to repeat. In the 30 hours of French lessons (two hours a day/five days a week), I learned or reviewed a lot of grammar. The rest of the day was an opportunity to speak and listen.
Both Myriam and Evelyne are excellent teachers. Myriam’s notes on my progress and pitfalls allowed Evelyne to pick up where I left off so there was no time lost in switching hosts. Those three weeks really jump-started my French; now I have to keep it up at home, of course!
It’s a lovely part of France and Myriam and Evelyne are great hosts. In both houses, the bedroom and private bath were perfect. There was lots of good, fresh food that I totally enjoyed. The excursions with Myriam, Evelyne and their friend Martine, were really interesting. The region is full of lovely countryside, beaches and villages.
In addition, I was able to visit Bordeaux one weekend and San Sebastien and Bilbao another. A side benefit was my introduction to “la thalassothérapie”- delightful warm water pools. Oh, I wish that was something I could bring home!
All in all, it was a totally enjoyable and productive three weeks. I’ve done several French immersion programs that were classes rather than one on one, but this was by far the best experience.
Jonathan – 1 Week 2017
I had a very pleasant and productive week in April with Evelyne and Jean-Pierre in Anglet, preparing for the DELF B2 examination.
Evelyne had planned the lessons carefully and she fine-tuned them as the week went on so we could focus on the areas in which I clearly needed to improve. The lessons were well-structured and focused and the time flew past! I have very serious ‘writer’s block’ in French but with Evelyne’s guidance I was able to work effectively on my writing and develop confidence in producing written work of type required in the DELF exam. We also worked on key grammar points and listening skills.
The lessons were complemented by lively discussions over lunch and dinner with Evelyne and Jean-Pierre. Evelyne is an excellent cook and in the relaxed and warm atmosphere the conversation flowed freely – ideal for language practice!
Our lessons were scheduled in the mornings and the afternoons were reserved for private study or for visits, which Evelyne organized: to Biarritz; the beaches at Anglet; the beautiful town of St Jean de Luz and the Basque countryside. The visits were a great opportunity to get to know the region and to get a glimpse of the fascinating Basque culture.
On the last day of my stay, Evelyne’s sister in law kindly invited me to join the family for their Easter lunch. In addition to enjoying the fabulous food I was very pleased to realize that I could fully understand and participate in the conversation – a true measure of the progress I had made over the week.
Thank you Evelyne, Jean-Pierre, Vanie and the cat!
Christine – 2017
My week with Evelyne absolutely exceeded my expectations in every way, including the hope that I would elevate my relatively basic French and become more adept in speaking the language. Evelyne and her husband Jean-Pierre were both so encouraging, patient and helpful that – even after just a couple of days – I discovered that I was prattling away in French and being understood. That really boosted my confidence. By the end of the week Evelyne assessed my French as having risen from elementary to intermediate level.
Each morning, Evelyne and I chatted over breakfast and then spent two concentrated hours doing lessons tailored to the grammar and vocabulary that we both identified as areas that needed to be worked on. Jean-Pierre joined us for lunch and dinner, and then during the afternoons I took myself off sightseeing around Bayonne and Biarritz, which are easy bus rides from a stop close to the house. With one of Evelyne’s friends and Myriam’s student, we did an afternoon trip to the interesting, historical port of St Jean de Luz, and on another day to some of the villages in the beautiful, nearby countryside of the Pays-Basque region. I spent the evenings after dinner doing homework, based on the mornings’ lessons. By choice, I spent around three hours of homework each evening, learning new vocab, writing a journal and doing exercises. I found this really beneficial for making progress, although it did mean some late nights! In all, I reckon I spent around six hours a day talking French.
Evelyne is a brilliant teacher, kind and supportive, with a great sense of humour and a light-touch style of teaching so that I never found her lessons onerous or too difficult. I really loved my time with her family including Choquette the crazy cat who I swear spoke English, and her dog who snored all the way through my lessons.
The accommodation was brilliant – the whole top floor to myself with an immaculate bedroom and ensuite, a balcony overlooking the pretty garden, and a small sitting room with tea-making facilities (essential for late-night studying). I would highly recommend Evelyne’s immersion course. I’m certainly up for returning next year!
Don – 2 Weeks 2017
It was my good fortune to spend two weeks with Evelyne and her husband, Jean-Pierre in their wonderful home.
I studied French in high school and college, and I even spent a year abroad in France, but that was many, many years ago. I have spoken very little French since then, and my French has become very rusty and encumbered with a lot of bad habits, and I hoped Evelyne would help me get past the awkwardness of speaking and writing that was weighing me down.
Evelyne was an attentive teacher, kindly helping me to uncover and begin correcting those bad habits which she so poetically called “mauvais plis” (“bad folds”).
Every morning, we sat at the dining table working on French grammar, then, after lunch together it was time for exploring: some days, I explored Biarritz and Bayonne by myself using the city bus, and other days, Evelyne or one of her friends would drive me sightseeing in the storybook-beautiful Basque countryside.
Every evening, the three of us ate together — and the hours we spent in conversation at meal times helped bolster my confidence. Dinner time together was perhaps my most cherished experience on this journey. Evelyne is a skilled cook, and she and Jean-Pierre are consummate hosts.
By the end of my stay, I had become quite the chatterbox–I think it’s safe to say that Evelyne did help me get past my awkwardness and fear of speaking French, and I returned home to the U.S., determined to continue my French studies with confidence.
Barbara – 2 weeks 2016
I was fortunate to spend 2 weeks with Evelyne in December 2016. She is an excellent teacher, very patient and encouraging with a wonderful sense of humour.
Evelyne and her husband, Jean-Pierre were very welcoming and I felt immediately at home.
As a dog lover, having Vanie (their beautiful golden retriever) greet me each day was a bonus.
The combination of 2 hours of formal lessons and many hours of conversation each day gave me the confidence I needed since my primary aim in learning French is to converse with French people.
The local bus made it very easy to visit Biarritz and Bayonne and I was able to practice my French. When the locals started to speak to me in English I felt confident enough to ask them (en français bien sûr) to speak in French and they all kindly obliged.
Thank you Evelyne for the wonderful experience, the excellent cuisine, the interesting excursions and the many laughs we enjoyed at mealtimes with my efforts in communicating in French.
Martha – 2 weeks 2016
In late September 2016, I returned for a second two-week immersion with Evelyne and her warm hospitality.
Once again I made great progress in my language skills thanks to carefully planned morning lessons (this is us during class, talking in French about the US elections), fascinating excursions, and engaging mealtime conversations.
Evelyne and her husband, Jean-Pierre, love to laugh and talk. Every day was full of hard work — my French is intermediate level — and lots of fun. I have quickly grown to love this part of France, with the beautiful Pyrénées as a backdrop and the sparkling Atlantic as my view on long beach walks or when relaxing in a cafe.
Public buses easily took me from Biarritz to Bayonne, and an inexpensive motor coach made the 45-minute trip to San Sébastien, Spain.
This is simply the best way to improve language skills and experience French culture.
Sarah – 2 weeks 2016
I stayed with Evelyne and Jean Pierre for two weeks at the end July/ beginning of August. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to study French, as you make more progress staying with a family, and studying one to one.
Evelyne is a very warm, intelligent and funny woman, who made me feel totally at ease in her home, and with her family. She is a fantastic teacher, who responds to the individual needs of each student. I was encouraged to be more confident in speaking, and I developed my understanding of the language.
I enjoyed seeing different parts of the region, with both Evelyne and Myriam: it was good to listen to different people speaking French, and I found that I could make myself understood more easily as the weeks progressed.
Evelyne helped me with my pronunciation, and understanding, and gave me valuable feedback every day. Lessons were structured each day, and did not stop after the formal morning lesson. The writing of a daily journal was invaluable.
The house is situated in a perfect location; it is easy to get a bus to either Biarritz, or Bayonne, or to the lovely beaches at Anglet. The room itself is very comfortable, and has both a balcony overlooking the garden and a private bathroom.
I enjoyed plentiful meals with Evelyne and Jean-Pierre. Evelyne is a wonderful cook, and Jean-Pierre takes great care with his choice of wines. I would love to return in the future to this beautiful region, and would not hesitate to recommend Evelyne as a teacher.
Jude – 2 weeks 2016
I am so very happy I made the decision, after recommendations from friends to come to Bayonne/Anglett to stay with Evelyne for a 2 week french immersion course.
Without a doubt it has certainly helped me improve both speaking and my understanding of french.
Evelyne is a wonderful teacher, patient, skilled and kind and concentrates on those areas where you feel unsure of. The morning grammar sessions were invaluable and the hours flew by, always so many new things to learn. What a difference it made working one on one, it gave you the chance to correct your faults over and over again!
I loved our journeys in the afternoons discovering the beautiful basque region and learning about its history.
Both Evelyne and Jean Pierre were very gracious hosts, we enjoyed our meals together with many laughs and excellent food.
The sleeping arrangement could not have been better, not only very clean and light but so private. I felt as though I was going back to my own place every evening. The bed was incredibly comfortable and the desk and working space, perfect.
I was so blown away by the experience, I am going again next year for another 2 weeks and I cannot wait.
Thank you Evelyne and Jean Pierre for making me feel so welcome and all that you taught me.
Pearl – 2 weeks 2016
After two weeks of French immersion in Bayonne, I found I could carry on a conversation as my husband and I continued our trip through southern France. Both Evelyne and Myriam are skilled teachers, tailoring their program to the needs of each student. With two hours of personalized instruction every day and non-stop French conversation during meals and outings, my French improved by leaps and bounds.
I felt immediately at home when Evelyne met me at the train station. You can tell she truly loves teaching French and welcoming students to her home. My room was spotless and comfortable, with a pretty view of the garden. Evelyne’s husband Jean-Pierre was gracious and kind, as were their family members whom I was fortunate to meet. I loved the regional dishes, French cheeses and local produce that Evelyne prepared. It was fun to meet other students on outings to nearby villages and towns, from elegant Biarritz to colourful Espellete and St. Jean-Pied-de-Port at the foot of the Pyrenees.
I spent my second week with Myriam, where I received an equally warm welcome. Each day was an adventure with one-on-one instruction in the morning, a traditional French mid-day meal and interesting activities in the afternoon. We popped down to Spain for a visit to Hondarribia, and Myriam’s friend Martine took me to see the mansion of Edmond Rostand, author of Cyrano de Bergerac. I appreciated having a couple of days to explore Bayonne on my own, using the excellent local bus system and visiting the market and shops, where I bought my fabulous striped espadrilles.
Near the end of my stay, my husband joined me. Myriam took us to visit the caves of Oxocelhaya and kindly included us in a memorable family dinner, where Roger found that the international language of soccer made up for his lack of French!
My two weeks in Bayonne was more than a language course; it was deep immersion in French culture. I learned so much about French history, customs and current events. This was an experience that I will never forget, and I am very grateful to Myriam, Evelyne and their families for their generosity, warmth and acceptance.
I hope to return one day to beautiful Pays Basque.
Bethany – 3 weeks 2016
Earlier this year, I flew to Biarritz from London to spend three wonderful weeks with Myriam, Evelyne and Jean-Pierre. Each day, I wrote a journal, which was not only a keepsake of my adventures but also used in daily lessons (to correct grammar, spelling and pronunciation).
Although I studied French in school and had lived in Paris for 10 months, I never felt like I had grasped conversational French. When I was asked a question, I struggled to process the information quickly enough to answer back. This not only knocked my confidence but was also very frustrating. I knew I needed to do an immersion course and decided as a New Year’s resolution that I shouldn’t waste any more time thinking about it and just book it.
As a young single female, I was a little nervous about travelling and staying with strangers, but having read all the wonderful reviews over the last few years, my mind was put at ease.
Both Myriam and Evelyne have beautiful homes and are very friendly, gentle natured and easy going. The lessons are well structured and I learnt far more than I had ever learnt in school! I loved discovering ‘Le Pays Basque’ and visited many places both in France and Spain (St. Jean de Luz, Espelette, Ainhoa, St. Jean Pied de Port, Biarritz, Bayonne, Bilbao and St Sebastian).
I cannot recommend this experience enough and if you’re reading this, you just need to book your flight and go for it! You won’t regret it! :)
Thomas – 2016
I will try to keep this short. You and Evelyne were clearly aware of the fact that I was totally out of my comfort zone. You both were very helpful with making sure I was comfortable and helped lower the stress level a lot for me.
The accommodations were excellent, the food was great, you both listened to my input on preferences, etc., WIFI was as advertised. I loved the area and really appreciated the fact that you both showed that you absolutely love it as well.
I can not think of anything at all negative about the actual learning experience.
You are both very well organized, you both formulate and execute to plan, schedules were kept, co-ordination between the two of you was fantastic. [I enjoyed meeting Hitome!]
Your knowledge level of subject matter and ability to get it across was of course excellent; you had no problem explaining anything to me. I would repeat either or both of the stays again without any hesitation. I will schedule the next visit when I can find something like a French cooking class for my wife to do while you help me with the French!
The only negative thing about the trip, and it has nothing to do with you, I do not like traveling to the East: I should have arrived two days early to deal with the jet lag. Oh well, next time!
Thank you both again for a wonderful experience! Have a great day!
Kathryn & Stephen – 2016
Having vacationed in France many times, we were looking for an immersion class to improve our French and then practice it while still traveling in the country. We read the student reviews, and one, in particular, caught our eye. It was written by a couple with different French levels – just like us. We were very pleased that we could study with Myriam and Evelyne for a week in October. Since they are very popular, we were very fortunate to have booked their ONLY available week!
Myriam picked us up at our chambre d’hôte in Ciboure, and that Sunday evening, Evelyne joined us for a delicious meal at Myriam’s. It was a wonderful way to meet them and ease into non-stop French.
Each morning, we enjoyed breakfast with Myriam and then had time to prepare for our day. Since my husband was working with her, she would drive me to Evelyne’s home or Evelyne would pick me up. It was nice having some one-on-one time with Myriam. They are very nurturing teachers and provided a good variety of lesson materials and activities. We wrote daily journal exercises to read aloud, gave oral “reports,” and had written assignments. While I worked on grammar and pronunciation and listening skills, my husband worked on writing, discussion and advanced grammar.
In the evenings, we enjoyed light meals with Myriam, which she fixed for herself and us. A real highlight was watching a French karaoke television show with her! Two afternoons, we enjoyed lunch with Evelyne and her husband, Jean-Pierre, at their home. Vanne, their dog, was an always-present companion (albeit a sleeping one). These times together made us feel like we were part of French families!
Since we visited Le Pays Basque in 2014, Myriam and Evelyne suggested places that we had not visited for excursions with them. With Evelyne, we went to Villa Arnaga, home of Edmund Rostand, the author of Cyrano de Bergerac, in Cambo-les-Bains. Because my husband is interested in prehistoric French caves, Myriam took us to see the Grottes d’Isturitz et d’Oxocelhaya along with her daughter, grandchildren and some of their friends. It was truly a family outing! She also took me to her spa one afternoon and brought my husband to a nearby ecological park so he could do some bird watching. One afternoon, we visited Biarritz on our own. On our last day, Myriam drove us to the Biarritz airport so we could pick up our rental car.
We are hoping to return for two weeks in 2017. Myriam has proposed a bird watching excursion for my husband, and perhaps this time, we will venture into Spain by bus. We are hoping that the karaoke show is still on the air in 2017!
Kate, 2 weeks 2015
I have recently spent two wonderful weeks with Evelyne and Jean-Pierre Vandaele in their charming home at Anglet with the lovely Vanie, their golden labrador and Chouquette, a very vocal little cat.
I was met at Biarritz station by Evelyne and in no time arrived at their house where I had my own quarters complete with ensuite, which was perfect in every way. Evelyne and Jean-Pierre are such friendly people and I immediately felt welcome and very much at home. I enjoyed so much the mealtimes when we covered so many topics of conversation. Evelyne is a great cook and I enjoyed discovering the specialities of the Pays Basque region.
Evelyne is a very patient teacher and corrected my many errors in a gentle way. During my two weeks’ stay I learned so much more which is possible in a one to one situation.
Two or three times a week Evelyne took me to visit the typical Pays Basque villages of St. Jean de Luz, Espelette, Ainhoa, Sare and not forgetting Biarritz and Bayonne,the latter two by bus so that I could become familiar with the transport system. On one particular Monday, which is Jean-Pierre’s day off work, they took me to St. Jean Pied de Port as I had mentioned that my daughter had stayed there and wanted me to visit. Both Evelyne and Jean-Pierre are so generous with their time.
I heartily recommend this kind of experience, which is so much more rewarding than attending a structured course of lessons in a group situation. I felt very comfortable conversing with both Evelyne and Jean-Pierre and was grateful that Evelyne corrected my many grammatical errors. Hopefully next time there will be fewer as a result.
Tami – 2 weeks 2015
What an excellent experience! I stayed with Evelyne for 2 weeks and LOVED every minute of it! Evelyne and Jean-Pierre were such excellent hosts. Immediately I felt at home and was very comfortable. I loved my private room and bathroom with a small terrace to enjoy the garden. I fell in love with Vanille the sweet lab – just what I needed while missing my pup at home.
I learned so much more from this experience than I have from past immersion programs. It was a wonderful combination to have casual conversation with Evelyne and her family as well as technical study one on one with Evelyn. She is a fabulous instructor – very patient and funny! Lots of learning and lots of laughs! I loved it so much that I am already booked for next year! Thank You Evelyne!
Martha – 2 weeks 2015
Last year, I read all of the glowing reviews from people who had stayed with Evelyne and with Myriam, which gave me the desire – and the courage – to travel alone and try this immersion program. The positive reviews proved to be absolutely correct. I stayed one week with Evelyne and one week with Myriam in September and the experience truly exceeded my high expectations.
I won’t repeat all of the details mentioned in earlier reviews. Instead, I’ll highlight three aspects of the experience that stand out for me:
Both Evelyne (and her husband Jean-Pierre) and Myriam are truly adept at making strangers feel welcomed, comfortable, and supported. Of course, the first day at Evelyne’s was an adjustment for me. My French is at an intermediate level and I was NOT confident in my speaking skills. However, Evelyne’s and Jean-Pierre’s kindness and easy-going nature made it easy to adjust, and by the second day I was on my way to feeling at home and feeling at ease speaking. With great patience and attention, they waited for me to form my sentences and express myself. With warmth and encouragement, Evelyne corrected my mistakes.
The second aspect of this experience that was particularly wonderful for me was the immersion process itself. It was challenging and thrilling – the difference between wading in the ocean and plunging into the surf. Pieces of the French language puzzle fit together like never before as I communicated 24/7 with compassionate, encouraging teachers. Both Evelyne and Myriam responded to my interests and goals with well-thought-out lessons. They targeted exactly what I wanted to improve and identified the gaps in my skills.
Finally, the location of the program is ideal. The town of Anglet is between Biarritz and Bayonne, so a 15-minute bus ride took me from Evelyne’s and Myriam’s quiet neighborhood to the lively shops, beaches and cafes of Biarritz and to the ancient riverside beauty and history of Bayonne. Twice-weekly excursions to the fairytale landscapes and towns in the surrounding area completed the fascinating exploration of the Pays Basque. Evelyne and Myriam were jolly, informative guides to all these good places. I have seldom had so much fun and I have already signed up to return next year!
Chris – One Week – 2015
I agree with all that has been said about staying and learning with Evelyne’s Family! I was immediately made welcome, and felt very comfortable in my mini-apartment in their home.
I came with a different agenda from most. I had felt my learning of French was going slowly and thought that a target was needed. As a retired teacher, I recognised the value of assessment and entered my self for the iGCSE French exam in May (the GCSE exam was not feasible with the need for a 20 hour controlled assessment).
Help from lessons in the local Adult Education Centre and from some retired colleagues helped immensely, but the acceleration of my learning in Anglet was phenomenal! Each day started in French with breakfast, this was followed by a 2 hour lesson before lunch. I was initially surprised by the detailed technical approach, but Evelyne had noted the requirements for the exam and coached me expertly for my presentation and oral exam. We went through the written parts of the exam with the same thorough approach.
The afternoons were delightful with visits to beautiful areas of the region. Highlights were all patiently explained and reviewed in our coffee breaks, with Evelyne providing a wonderful commentary from her thorough knowledge of the area.
It was a measure of my improved confidence that I could discuss, with a waiter in Biarritz, the merits of a latte against café crème (not forgetting the irony that it was made with Italian coffee!). Before the end of the week I even managed to complain at being overlooked in the ‘queue’ at the bar at the top of the mountain and negotiate a discount when buys gifts in the shop at the station for La Rhune!
The beauty of the buildings in the old quarter of Bayonne and listening to an artisan explain how he made ‘sword-sticks’ from wood collected in the local forest, was icing on the cake!
Evening meals were great fun, exchanging jokes and with Jean-Pierre selecting excellent wines to compliment Evelyne’s superb cooking of local dishes! As part of our humorous conversations, I discovered the equivalent of ‘la plume de ma tante’ is an equally useless sentence used, back in the day, in English lessons in French schools; ‘my tailor is rich’!
The week was intense, but that is what I needed. The tuition was excellent and I am certain it made a huge difference to my exam. I probably covered as much in a week as a year from lessons!
The ‘social’ time was great fun and I felt part of Evelyne’s family. I recommend anyone reading this to take up the chance of a wonderful experience without hesitation! I learned so much about the region, I must return!
Monica – 4 weeks – 2015
A truly unforgettable experience! The tranquillity in the home of my private French teachers provided a good learning environment. I spent 2 weeks each with Myriam and Evelyne. They were caring and engaging – each day provided a challenging and unique learning focus.
They played teachers, hosts and travel advisers. They shared their local culture and gastronomy from the hospitality of their traditional French homes. I enjoyed going out with them and their friends. The conversational exposure to the native French was a great way to immerse myself.
Learning a new language is difficult and at times frustrating. This is a great opportunity to get immersed in a unique cultural environment. Myriam and Evelyne also organised excursions to enhance the learning programme.
I departed with fond memories and feeling more confident in speaking ‘la langue de Molière’. The experience was an absolute pleasure and I look forward to returning to their home language immersions.
Susan, 2 weeks – 2015
I spent two weeks with Myriam and one with Evelyne. They are both excellent teachers, customizing our classroom time to my needs and wants. At the same time, having them and their families available to converse with practically 24/7, within the cultural context and without reverting to English after class, was priceless. I think that was key to the progress I made.
The area between Bayonne and Biarritz is very easy to navigate by bus. I found it ideal in this regard, not too complicated and at the same time culturally interesting. Early on, I visited the Basque Museum in Bayonne, which I highly recommend. The excursions to the beautiful Basque countryside that Myriam and Evelyne took me on were all the more meaningful after having been to the museum. My excursions culminated in a trip to La Rhune, a mountain on the French Spanish border. There is a quaint, well preserved zipper train which we took to the top. Evelyne altered our schedule so we could go on the day with the sunniest weather and it was well worth it! To the south we saw mountains and valleys in Spain…to the east we saw snow-capped Pyrénées,,,to the north, Basque villages surrounded by lush green fields dotted with sheep, Bayonne on the Adour River, Biarritz and its lighthouse, and the Gascony coast stretching north…to the west St. Jean-de-Luz, the Chateau d’Abbadia, and Irun across the border in Spain.
I felt privileged to be included so openly in their daily lives, meeting their families and being a part of their gatherings. Both Myriam and Evelyne are excellent cooks. Sharing meals with them and their families was a delight. I went a number of times to the thalasso-therapie with Myriam, which is an pool sized jacuzzi of filtered and warmed ocean water. We followed the therapeutic bath with a stop in the steam room. I even went to the thalasso with Myriam’s sister during my stay at Evelyne’s.
I had studied French in a number of settings, but never in a full immersion like this. If you are serious about learning French, I can’t say enough about how important it is to speak only French, without switching back to your native tongue. Myriam and Evelyne make this possible in a most gracious and hospitable way.
Eva, 2 weeks – 2015
I have spent two wonderful weeks with Evelyne and Jean-Pierre in their lovely home in the Basque country. All the reviews are true – Evelyne is a great teacher. She quickly assessed my needs and adapted her classes to my level and goals. My focus was on speaking skills, and speaking I did! Evelyne and Jean-Pierre ensured that I was included in the family conversation at all times, and both were extremely patient with my responses even when I spoke slowly and with lots of grammatical errors.
Apart from improving my French and feeling more confident to strike up a conversation, I have also learned a great deal about contemporary French culture and about the beautiful Basque country. The excursions with Evelyne and Myriam were simply wonderful, and ensured that my stay felt like a real holiday. This feeling was fed also by Evelyne’s great cooking, of course!
I highly recommend a stay with Evelyne to anyone looking to quickly boost their French while relaxing in a beautiful and comfortable environment.
Judy – 3 weeks – 2015
I had been learning French for a number of years at a local Community House, the main focus being on grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing skills. This was all great until I visited France, where I found that other than the obligatory “baguette french” it was difficult to find the opportunity to have a conversation and even more difficult to understand the responses of native French speakers. I had developed a “fear” or “embarrassment” of even trying to speak. Although quite nervous at the thought, I decided to book in for a three week Immersion Program while my husband and I were in France on holidays for 3 months.
Firstly, we spent two weeks with Myriam, where she quickly assessed my abilities and customised the formal classes to address my problem areas. At first, I couldn’t understand a lot of what was being said, but then as I settled into the routine, I found that I was understanding a little bit more each day and speaking with a little more confidence on a variety of topics. Outside of class, Myriam also suggested that I do some extra exercises listening to a number of everyday situations and dialogues on a CD. This also helped a lot.
Myriam was a gracious hostess and made us feel very welcome in her home, which was warm and comfortable. The excursions that she, or a friend of hers, took us on to absolutely beautiful villages in the Pays Basque region or to a relaxing spa centre in the evening, were just fabulous and a lot of fun. Myriam is also a wonderful cook, so all the meals were just “miam miam”. At times we also dined with members of Myriam’s family, who were kind and patient with me practicing speaking French to them, even her young grand children.
The third week was spent with Evelyne and her husband Jean Pierre, who are an extremely warm, wonderful and friendly couple. My classes with Evelyne were more focused on speaking and listening, than on a lot of grammar, which helped me build even more confidence. Over the dining table, we had some wonderful conversations and at times we were all in fits of laughter, which put everything on a very informal, fun loving level. Evelyne is a very patient teacher with whom I felt very comfortable.
My husband was not interested in doing the actual immersion program, but was warmly welcomed into both homes and he had a lot of fun conversing in a French/English hybrid language which at times was very funny. He of course did and enjoyed all of the excursions. He had lots to “talk” about with Myriam about their love of cooking and Jean Pierre, sharing photos and their love of photography.
We now have another two months in France, so I am keen to use my new found confidence and skills from what I have learnt from both Myriam and Evelyne and look forward to continuing to improve my French language skills. My first need actually occurred as soon as we left Evelyne’s when the apartment that we booked for a week did not have a view of the ocean, which is what we had paid for. I explained the situation all in French, the receptionist understood what I said and allocated us another apartment, with glorious views of the ocean and the mountains! I was very proud….even if I say so myself!
Christine, 1 week, 2014
I spent a week chez Evelyne, and it was a truly wonderful experience. As a high-school French teacher, I had visited France many times, but I was looking for a program where I could practice and improve my own speaking skills in an authentic French setting. I had researched language schools, but didn’t really want “classes”. Evelyne’s program was everything I was looking for, and more!
Their home was very nice and comfortable, and I enjoyed spending time with the Vandaele family, taking meals with Evelyne and Jean-Pierre and two of their children. They have a lovely family, and I knew when I saw their sweet dog Vanie mentioned on the website that I would be warmly welcomed there.
The morning classes with Evelyne were tailored to my particular needs – less grammar, more discussion – but were still challenging and informative. I enjoyed our daily discussions of literature, language, culture, and a review of my journal entries.
With Myriam, we visited cities in the region, and I learned more about the Basque country. Evelyne lives near a bus line, so it was easy to get around to sightsee on my own when I had a free afternoon.
I left Evelyne’s with much-improved conversation skills, a greater understanding of daily French life, and so much information that I can share with my own students!
Rumina, 2 weeks, 2014
I spent 2 weeks with Evelyne in October. My experience was beyond my most ambitious expectations:
Evelyne is an excellent teacher – she quickly assessed my level, my needs and wants and developed a customized program. Her feedback (done in a very supportive manner) was very effective. I found the homework (including the journal writing and oral presentation) to be very helpful in reinforcing the learnings. Highly recommend one put great effort in this. I had initially shunned any intense sessions on grammar (silly me) – quickly became evident how essential it is to get the basics right.
Evelyne’s love for the region – its culture and history, was very evident and contagious. I can’t wait to return to Pays Basque. Her location is ideal – very close to all modes of public transport – I was able to not only go to Biarritz, Bayonne and St Jean de Luz on my own – but also day trips to San Sebastien and Bordeaux (testing my ever-growing skills to travel independently in France).
Evelyne and her family were most welcoming. I had some dietary restrictions – which were well accommodated – food was lovely. We had lots of great conversations, lots of laughs and some very serious discussions. I got a taste of French life – some of which I will try to emulate (like family meal times) and others that I will treasure for a long time.
I also was very fortunate in having Evelyne’s friend and colleague, Myriam, take me to the thallasotheraphy on 2 evenings (a truly enjoyable experience) – too bad we could not get in a game of golf too!
I greatly enjoyed my 2 weeks. I have a plan (developed with Evelyne) on how I continue my journey to become more proficient in French. I would not change a thing.
Many thanks Evelyne for a memorable 2 weeks.
Rumina (the picture is Evelyne’s Mom Lucie and I)
Deborah, 2 weeks, 2014
For more than ten years I have experimented with immersion courses in the French language during my summer breaks after teaching college history in Honolulu. I have taken courses in Paris, Reims, Marseille, Avignon, Bordeaux, to name a few cities, but none pleased me as much as the French Today program with Evelyne in Anglet, a small attractive city between Bayonne and Biarritz in the historic region of Pays Basque.
From the moment I met Evelyne at the TGF train station in Biarritz, I was immersed not only in the French language but in the activities of the Vandaele family. They gathered twice a day at the dining room table– Jean-Pierre, her husband; Simon and Melanie, two of her three adult children; and Vanie, the vanilla colored Labrador whose constant presence in the household assured me that I too had a function—to make every effort to listen to and speak the language, even to this intelligent canine who patiently listened to my endearments en francais.
Each day began with breakfast after the others had left for their respective jobs. I cleared my dishes and then worked for three hours with Evelyne as we concentrated on my weakness in the French elements of grammar. After lunch with family members who returned for the midday meal, Evelyne planned excursions to neighboring Basque towns that represented the rich culture of this southwest coastal area. On some days I would use the urban bus system to visit museums in Biarritz and Bayonne to learn more about the region’s rich history, which was completely new to me. Dinner like lunch introduced me to the Basque cuisine that Evelyne excelled in and new wine vintages ably identified by Jean-Pierre.
Evelyne’s friendliness and aptitude in teaching me correct French—and most important, her ease in making me a genuine member of the family, made me renew my efforts to continue my studies in the language. Not only was I immersed in the French language, but I became an enthusiastic participant in the contemporary culture of Pays Basque.
Jenna, 2 weeks, 2014
I spent two weeks with Evelyne and her family in Anglet and it was truly an amazing experience. They were very welcoming and I was immediately made to feel at home. When I arrived I felt very shy as my French wasn’t great despite studying for years at school. I found it difficult to even string a coherent sentence together! But Evelyne was so kind and extremely patient. From the beginning, despite my poor language skills, we spoke only in French and though of course this was daunting, it without a doubt improved my French. I had a 2 hour class in the morning 5 days a week. Evelyne easily assessed the level I was at and we went from there with exercises and examples, Evelyne staying at my own pace and giving more help where it was needed. My language skills improved greatly and my confidence grew.
The food was amazing every single day, Evelyne is a great cook, and I miss the French bread and cheese after every meal! Another thing which made my stay unbelievable was that Evelyne was more than willing to show me around the Pays Basque region. This is such a beautiful part of the country with the sea so close and the mountains a short drive away. I got to visit many places and Evelyne was keen to share knowledge of their histories which made it even better.
I could not have asked for a better person to do this experience with. Evelyne and her family are so kind, welcoming and incredibly generous. I had an amazing time and I know my French improved a great amount. I wholeheartedly encourage anyone else to go and stay with Evelyne.’