Institut de Francais, Villefranche-sur-Mer

4.2
#5 of 19 in Things to do in Villefranche-sur-Mer
Educational Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
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Since 1910, Institut de Francais has been actively teaching the French language to students from around the world. The school has as many as 7,000 students at a time, led by 70 native French instructors. Students also learn cultural and religious aspects of France. Put Institut de Francais at the forefront of your travel plans using our Villefranche-sur-Mer day trip website.
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Institut de Francais reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
179 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Absolutely wonderful experience! I was very nervous about doing this alone however, that changed as soon as I arrived at the school. I did not know what to expect. I had only 1 year of french in... 
    Absolutely wonderful experience! I was very nervous about doing this alone however, that changed as soon as I arrived at the school. I did not know what to expect. I had only 1 year of french in...  more »
  • What a treat, learning a new language in such a setting, on the Cote d'Azur, friendly and competent teachers, international students, pleasant way to learn. 
    What a treat, learning a new language in such a setting, on the Cote d'Azur, friendly and competent teachers, international students, pleasant way to learn.  more »
Google
  • I highly recommend this course to anyone serious about learning or improving their French. I was there for the first 4 weeks after the school reopened in August. I consider myself an advanced-intermediate but was put in the advanced level, the highest out of 7 levels offered. (They used to offer 8 and I imagine they will again as enrollment increases). There were 6 other students in my class, all but one who spoke more fluently than me. Even so, we all made the same mistakes, most of which were pretty basic, but which are hard to “unlearn” once they become engrained. The focus of the advanced class was not on learning advance tenses but perfecting things we should have mastered before and didn’t. Think direct object and indirect object pronouns, prepositions, and even pronunciation. The teachers are serious about creating an effective as well as fun experience for the students. It says a lot that 20% of the students I met were there for their second or third time! The course is not cheap, and I can’t say if it’s right for you, but all 7 of us in my class thought the course was worthwhile, as well as the 7 in my husband’s Intermediate 1 class. Even the complete beginner students I spoke to loved it, and were speaking by the end of the course. The course focuses on spoken-structure, with very little grammar, and almost no reading or writing. Out of 55 students there were 5 from the World Bank and one from the CDC, with the rest were doing it because they either have moved to France or just for their own personal enrichment. My class had 4 Americans, and one person from each of Hong Kong, El Salvador and Sweden. My husband’s class also had 4 Americans, and one each from Mexico, Kuwait and China. Only French is allowed on campus from 8:30am to 4:45pm each day, including the light breakfast and very delicious 3-course lunch, which is provided. I read all the old reviews before enrolling, but for me the reviews from the past year carry the most weight, as the institut seems to have spent some money upgrading the facilities. I’m looking forward to returning again some day!
  • I just returned from the Institute and this was my experience. I contacted the school approximately 7 mos before I went to inquire if they could accommodate a vegan / plant based diet. They assured me they could. I actually told them I was an “extreme vegan” and they said, “of course, no problem”. With that I booked an “ upgraded, deluxe sea view apartment”. Before I left I again wrote them to inquire what I would be eating and they sent me 15 pictures of beautiful, decorated food. I arrived and received the keys to my so called apartment. There wasn’t a bed only a couch to sleep on, the kitchen was a joke and there wasn’t even enough room to do stretches on the floor. The room was hot and without air circulation. Immediately the power blew when I plugged in my Apple phone. Also no Wi-Fi and I was promised Wi-Fi. I couldn’t sleep on the couch and in the morning I had to take all the tests. I was so sleep deprived at this point and I was starving. When I went for breakfast they had NOTHING for me. When I finally lost my composure the chef brought me berries. Berries??? I can’t live on berries - everyone else is eating croissants , cereal and more. At this time they said they feed me TOMORROW. At lunch they brought me zucchini drenched in oil as an appetizer ( disgusting) and for an entry he brought more vegetables. And more oil. When I said I want my money back, I’m leaving Serge says “ I didn’t think you’d be that attached to your diet”. I don’t think I should have to explain how allergic I am to dairy or my feelings on eating meat. The point is the school said they could do it. How difficult is humus? Pasta? Rice and beans? The school said they’d return my money and I agreed to move out ASAP. After I moved into a very expensive hotel they informed my husband they wouldn’t refund the lousy apartment. Getting the money out of them for tte school was like pulling teeth. Their English is extremely poor so beware. I understand the man who started the school, the past director, died and has left his son Serge to take over. I highly doubt it will survive under his bad attitude and misogynistic ways. I highly recommend anywhere else then here for French immersion. I read another review and he said if you’ve been a CEO or are older this school would be very uncomfortable. I wish I saw that sooner!

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