I’ve had the pleasure of attending three different language schools in France, one in Paris, one in Tours, and one in Antibes. Each one has its strong points. The Centre International d’Antibes (or CIA) on the Côte d’Azur, in the photo above, is a great choice. I thought the placement test was really well-designed; students just kept working through levels that got increasingly difficult until they found where they were no longer able to complete the work. An interview with a teacher confirmed the oral level.
I signed up for a full slate of morning and afternoon classes. I found each of my teachers to be engaging, well-prepared, and professional. I picked up several useful ideas that I still use in my own classes. The class sizes were small and the students were reasonably motivated, although they were usually wearing swimsuits under their clothes so they could hit one of the beautiful beaches in Antibes right after class. My morning classes were often held in a vine-covered pergola.
The school set me up with a home stay that was just super. My hostess became a friend and her warmth added enormously to my experience. She went out of her way to take me to neighboring towns that I couldn’t get to on the train and to include me in her life. I was lucky that she offered to drive me to and from school, as CIA was a little awkward to get to. On the few days I didn’t have a ride with my hostess; it was a two bus extravaganza to get there. Still, CIA tried to make the students comfortable staying there over the lunch break, with tasty and affordable food in their cafeteria, although the lines were long, since everyone got out of class at the same time.
Today’s expression, faire l’école buissonnière (fare laycoll bwee-sohn-e-air), means to play hooky. You’ll want to be in class everyday at CIA. If you’re looking for an intensive program to advance your French, this is a great option that I highly recommend.