Ooh La Learn On A Specialist Holiday
Have you ever wished you had stuck in at French when you were at school? If, like me, you didn’t bother too much with the parlez vous during your formative years but now find yourself wishing you could speak a little Francaise, well, there’s good news. It’s never too late to learn something new and what better skill to add to your CV than a second language.
Now this is where it gets really interesting. There are now residential holiday courses where you can improve your conversational skills from expert tutors in the country where the language is spoken. In my opinion, no amount of text books or audio tapes can teach you a language quite like being totally submersed in a country among native speakers.
Many of us go on holiday and simply expect everyone to speak English, and many people do, but, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to chat to someone or order a drink or a meal in the local language? I have always tried to make the effort with the help of my little Berlitz phrase books but lately I’ve found that I want to learn more. It’s such a great skill to have but particularly on holiday, it can really enhance your experience.
A little goes a long way and even the most basic greetings can make a huge difference; a friendly “Bonjour” as you enter a shop or café and a sincere “Merci” when you leave are greatly appreciated.
So with this in mind I have started to look into how I can learn my language of choice – French. I studied French in high school over 30 years ago and my attitude back then was ‘When am I ever going to need to speak French?” or “This is useless so why bother” Sound familiar? I’ve never regretted anything so much in my life.
Now that I take regular holidays in France I really want to be able to speak French. France is a country I have really come to love – and the language has been a big part of what led me to fall in love with the country. Ironic I know. I am improving with every visit but it’s not enough.
I’ve started to look into specialist language holidays abroad and I was surprised to find so many great options. It wouldn’t really feel like being back at school when you have rolling countryside, vineyards and chateaux in the background and you don’t need to be in ‘class’ all day and night. This is a brilliant way to combine a holiday with learning the language.
Here are a few examples of some of the regions you can opt for:
Le Poiron Bonjour course caters for every level of student/holidaymaker giving maximum exposure to French language and culture and the residence is set in Le Chateau du Poiron, in heart of the the beautiful Vendee region.
Or of you want to combine the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera, check out this set up on the Cote D’Azure.
Even if you don’t want to take a residential course, there are also some short day classes which would be a bit of fun too. You can always rewards yourself with a vin blanc or a vin rouge afterwards, only this time you’ll be able to order it in French without pointing to the menu. Here’s a brilliant conversational French class that’s only 1.5 hours long right in the heart of the French capital.
And it’s not just the French language you can brush up on on some of these specialist trips. There are wine appreciation and tasting course as well some fabulous cookery courses available. Is there no end to the delights that France has to offer?
For example, if you want to take a city break to Paris, you can still pick up a short day or evening class if you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen for your entire holiday.
Some of these classes are only a few hours long but you will be under the instruction if some of the best chefs in the country, you will probably gain a fair but of knowledge and insight. Just think how you can impress your friends back home when you invite them round for some supper. How exciting to learn the art of French cuisine in Paris. Have a look at this evening cookery course where you will prepare a delicious gourmet dinner under the guidance of a proper Parisien chef.
If like me you have a sweet tooth, you could always try out a pastry masterclass or Macaron cooking class. These little merangue based delights are always on my radar, and not just when I’m in France! Viator.com have a 2.5 hour class (with no more than five other students) where you can master the art of these tricky confections.
Now that you can cook the food or at the very least be able to order dinner in French, you’ll need to know what wines to choose. Why not finish off your ‘education’ with a fabulous wine and Champagne tasting class too?
You can sample some of the best wines in the country and learn how to appreciate them a little more and even discover how they are made.
I think I’ll definitely be signing up for this one!
I love travel. I’ve been fascinated by other countries and cultures since my first foreign trip in 1985 and I’ve had serious wanderlust ever since.I also love to write about where I’ve been and tripsology lets me indulge that passion. I’m thrilled to be a regular contributor and editor. When I’m not writing I also run my own PR and publicity company.