Want to learn French in France?

If you’re learning French then it’s probable that at some point you’ll want to get out there and visit France itself.  There are other places where French is spoken of course, but there is nothing better than learning French in France.

Learn French in France – immersion!

Being able to wake up and saunter down to the local bakery to get your daily bread, like the locals do, and get some speaking practise in as well might sound like a dream to you and many other people!

Being immersed in your target language can really help to bring on your speaking, listening and reading skills in leaps and bounds.  Yes you can speak in your French class at home, you can read French websites and listen to French radio at home, but there’s nothing to beat actually living and breathing the language for a short while.

Where to go in France

The big cities of France are often appealing for many reasons, not least the tourist attractions and the amount of things to do there.  However, what you gain in attractions, infrastructure and nightlife, you can sometimes lose out when it comes to language learning.  Parisians are notorious for not speaking in French if you’re struggling and will just try and help you out by speaking English.  Great if you’re just wanting to get from A to B, but not if you’re hoping for some actual practice.

Don’t discount the big cities though – often they have meet ups and clubs that you can immerse yourself in and it might compensate for hearing lots of English being spoken daily.  They’ll also have quite a few language schools too.  Just bear in mind that if they get a lot of English speaking tourists they’ll often just chat away to you in English.

Check here for some good language schools in France – coming soon

Small rural towns can be a lovely getaway for a small break where you want to practice your french speaking.  Often you’ll find exclusively French speaking people, who might not even know any English at all so it would be a big incentive for you to try.  Daily trips to the boulangerie can provide a nice relaxing (and yummy) french speaking break!

The great thing about France is that there is something for everyone.  You like the beach?  Then the south and west coasts are fantastic.  Mountains and hiking more your thing?  Then head to the French Alps or the Pyrenees.  It’s full of history too from the beaches of Normandy to the streets of Paris.

Tips on having a Language Holiday in France

  • look for large towns or cities with lots going on if you want to see a lot of action.
  • if you want to relax more then a rural town will be perfect for you while still getting the language practice in.
  • High Summer – in July and August can get incredibly hot, especially in the cities.  In fact locals in Paris often escape in August to head to the coast or the mountains.
  • Winter can be cold and damp everywhere although the south coast can still have some nice weather occasionally.

What is language immersion?

Language immersion is a term that is used widely these days.  What is language immersion and is there a benefit to being immersed in a language while you’re striving to learn it?

What is language immersion?

So, first of all, let’s have a look at what language immersion means.  In the most basic terms it means fully living, or immersing yourself, in your target language that you’re learning.  It means living in a country where it is spoken, listening to it daily and giving yourself opportunities to practice it daily too.  If possible it’s ideal to stop speaking your native language while immersed so that you can get a better experience, but this can be difficult depending on whether the country you go to has many speakers of your home language eager to practice themselves!

Language immersion benefits

There are so many benefits of language immersion but the main one for me is that it makes you focus solely on your language but in a fun and exciting way.  Yes you can focus every day on language learning at your desk or in a class, but it can be boring, dry and sometimes a little soul destroying!  Practicing with the shop owner as you buy your daily food or as you participate in a dancing class is much more interesting and exciting.

The fact that you’ll not be hearing your native language is also a big benefit and it forces you to learn more and also fine tunes your ear to hearing it spoken in many different ways, speeds and accents.

You simply can’t get the same experience from a classroom.  Adding in some language immersion, whether it’s for a week or a year is so worth it!

Language immersion pros and cons

With the benefits mention above in mind it’s important to look at not just those but also the cons as well.  Although I do think it’s a great way to learn a language it’s not without it’s difficulties!

Pros:

  • It gives you so many more real life situations to learn from
  • It can get you to a higher fluency level much quicker
  • it’s more than just learning words – you learn about the cultural norms, slang and real life!
  • It’s your life and so you don’t have to have a dedicated time to practise, although if you added practice time too you’ll learn so much faster

 

Cons:

  • requires a lot of dedication, bravery and a certain amount of freedom.
  • can be very confusing at first – there’s a high chance of giving up
  • can be expensive or hard to arrange
  • can mean other aspects of your life come second to the language