L'institut de Français; Villefranche sur Mer, France


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Copyright Millie Brown

I cannot think of one solitary thing that I do not love about the French fishing village, Villefranche sur Mer. Nestled on the shores of the mediterranean with the hills and ski slopes behind, it sits on it’s own deep harbour between the city of Nice and the Peninsula of Cap Ferrat. It is quite simply, breathtakingly beautiful.

In the twenty odd years I have been visiting, it has not lost any of its charm, soul or beauty. Maybe one small setback is that it welcomes many more visitors than it did when I first discovered it back in the 80′s.

© Millie Brown

When I first arrived in Villefranche sur Mer many decades ago I had come specifically to study French at the L'Institut de Français, and was full of hope and energy, intent of starting my studious journey into the french speaking world.

If by any chance you have the same earnest desire to learn French then I can think of no better or more beautiful place in the world to start you on your way.

Learning a language is many things. Exciting, challenging and just a little bit exhausting and frustrating at times, all the more reason to make sure you are in the best of hands.

© Millie Brown

L'Institut de Français is renowned for many reasons, its incredibly effective method of teaching along with it's high teaching standards, its level of professionalism and its location etc!  I can't speak more highly of this school.  If you are truly motivated to learn to speak French and are prepared to put in the hard yards that are required, then you will truly be on your way when you enrol here.

The method of the Institute is audio visual and means that while you are developing your ear and your auditive memory, you will be 'breathing' the language in as you did when you were learning your maternal language.

© Millie Brown

It's total immersion method is intense, be prepared for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, with very little (if no English allowed).  This may sound confronting if you are a beginner, but believe me it works, AND they do make it a lot of fun.

The lunch table full of beginners is often the funniest and craziest.  Don't imagine that you will be permitted to cheat with a few words of English here and there, c'est interdit (its forbidden).

Even when you are desperate for some of that bread that sits 6 people away from you, there will be no cheating (no matter how hungry you are)! A very helpful teacher will be sitting with each group of students to help out and keep  you under strict 'French' control (albeit in a fun French way)!

The Institute's method is also designed to give you the student the opportunity to apply what you have learnt in the real world while going about your life after school, and where better to do that than in this divine fishing village on the mediterranean.

Unlike being in a big city (such as Paris), the locals and shop keepers in Villefranche won't help you out by practising their English.  They will however encourage you and help you along providing you with the unique opportunity to put into practice what is is you have been learning. There really is no better method to learning how to speak a language than speaking it.  

Always remember to not give a toss what you sound like, or how many mistakes you make, if you can't laugh at yourself it's just going to be all that much harder and not nearly as much fun.

Along with the stunning scenery, village life, wonderful food and beaches, I can most definitely promise you lots of laughs, fun and a great learning experience.


Head to the shop to take a look at the French Riviera fine art limited edition prints from the Into The Blue Collection HERE

Millie xx


Recommended Hotel

The Welcome Hotel

Closest international airport to Villefranche sur Mer is in Nice, 20 minutes by car from the airport, 10 to 15 mins by bus to Villefranche from the centre of Nice, 7 mins by train from Nice Ville station to Villefranche. Buses run between the Nice Ville train station and the airport. There is no train from Nice Ville to the airport.

Bus no 99 runs from the Nice Ville Train station to the airport (direct).

Bus no 98 runs from Place Garibaldi in Nice to the airport (it usually departs from the Gare Routière (Nice bus station)), however it is temporarily closed.

Both buses and trains run regularly to and from Villefranche to all other towns along the coast – Voyage sncf for train information.

Lignes D’Azur for bus timetables.