Sunday, October 30, 2011

Learning French in France

When I arrived I truly had no idea what learning french would require. Don't ask me why, maybe I just didn't give it any thought.  My dream was to study the language in France. I didn't think much past that. My first day at the Cavilam included a test, it was deemed I spoke little if any french. Alors! I was assigned to a class with a terrific instructor. From the first day Souzic spoke nothing but french and insisted we speak in french also. As a class, we formed the United Nations.  Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Iraq, the Philippines and the USA were all accounted for in our merry group.
This Shot is from the first week. We roped an instructor in to take a shot, 10 cameras later he was glad to leave!
Leaving home for a month and studying a language is hard work. But it is also an adventure. I fell in love with France 34 years ago and this trip has intensified my love affair. The first 3 weeks I did nothing but study and practice. No matter what I learned there was still more to learn! I shopped at the march√©, the Monoprix, tabac, boulangerie and also the patisserie! Every vendeur encouraged my french. 

I fell in love with the tarte citron, macaroons and chocolates at Cedric Iafati. Unfortunately it lies between the Cavilam and my home. Everything is divine at the patisserie. I spent nites studying for the next day. Little by little I began understanding what was being said to me.

My first week my friend Lynn of Autour Table d'Hote, Jardins des Thevenets was vacationing the first week. Which was a good thing, I was forced to use the french I was learning. 
I began to visit Janine and Marcel, Lynn's adopted parents. They had an unlimited supply of patience and spent evenings talking to me, correcting my french and my home work. But the best part was eating Janine's wonderful dinner. They have become my family here in Vichy.
With so much concentration I was just to exhausted to blog. Now that things are winding down I am going to try to record my adventure. You will have to excuse the pictures. I've been using my iphone to take snaps. I didn't bring my big camera, and I forgot the charger for my small one! C'est la vie! But it's not about the pics, it's about the experience. Which has been rich.
All photos and text are property of The Gypsy Chef.


  1. What a dream!!! I can't wait to hear your adventures.

  2. I am looking forward to every post.
    You can sense the excitement and joy.
    Happy for you..
    You look great:)
    What nice parents she has..

  3. walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =D

    Regards, (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

  4. What a wonderful opportunity to learn French! I believe immersing ones self in it is the only way to do it. How wonderful to have friends to help you practice in the evenings. Every time I go to France I vow to take lessons when I get home but never manage to make time for it. I thought the French were very helpful and generous about helping me with the language.

  5. Me too! I followed Petrea over here and now I'm hooked and can't wait to hear more of your wonderful adventure.

  6. Reminds me of my studying Italian in Florence. It was such fun. I still can't believe I went on an art history day where only Italian was spoken. My brain was so exhausted! Glad you are having fun!

  7. I'm loving your adventures in language! My daughter lived in Paris for 6 years and even though she spoke French when she got there, she spent the next few years learning all over again.

  8. What a marvellous experience! There is no better way to learn than by total immersion, as you have done! Well done!!!
    *kisses* HH

  9. You are my hero...good for you!
    Can not wait to see more!