Alliance Francaise Intensive Course/ Similar courses in other languages

I was going to spend a month in France anyways, so I was thinking of signing up for the Alliance Francaise intensive course in Paris. Apparently it is 20 hours a week spread out over five days.

Has any one here done this course or similar? What are your experiences? Was the roughly 250euros a week worth it? I really don’t want to spend time that I could spend immersing myself in the language instead writing subjunctive conjugations for several hours straight, or talking to people from michigan who speak worse than me! I feel like my comprehension level is at a point where it just needs to be activated (I can watch movies/TV and understand 95-100%).

Thanks for any responses.

What a choice! It’s like “Life vs. Imitation of Life.” Anyway, you’ve answered your own question. Better to get out there to live, explore, and learn than be bound to a lesson plan.

I would not bother going to the classes. You will not learn anything there that you cannot learn faster on your own.

To respectfully disagree with our patron, I found the semester long course at the Sorbonne, entitled Cours de langue et civilisation française ( to be one of the most useful learning experiences I have ever had. And I say that as someone who has had a lot of classes in many different languages (German, French, Chinese, Spanish, Latin, …), and who has taught college-level German and French.

Naturally a lot depends on the teacher you end up with, but if you’re interested in history, philosophy, literature, and Culture with a capital C, you can’t go wrong with the little institute on rue Dante. I came in at a “niveau superieur B”, the second highest level, and afterwards I was able to directly enrol in the Sorbonne in a BA program as a normal university student.

This was about 10 years ago, mind you, and things might have changed since. But my experience was nothing short of wonderful. A dynamic teacher who only speaks French, who pushes her students to only use the language in and outside the classroom, together with phonetic training and lectures in French from university professors: you can’t go wrong with such a well rounded approach, in my opinion. Try to get Madame Viard if you can. :wink:

Ah, that is a horse of a different colour. I would recommend taking a course on French civilization at the Sorbonne. When I was 17 I entered McGill University as a monolingual English speaker. We had a course on French civilization given by a brilliant professor . He turned me on to the language, and changed my life in many ways. I still learned the language outside the classroom, though.

@ djvlbass - ‘Was the roughly 250euros a week worth it?’

I have no opinion here, but I do have an observation. For this amount of money, you could probably do three to four hours a day, seven days a week, of one-on-one tutoring over Skype. However, this might get boring quickly since you won’t be socialising with other learners.

One thing you might do is to do this for a month before going to France. Since your comprehension is already so high, you might progress really quickly, and then have a great time in France speaking French.

Thanks for the responses everyone.

@gregf - I looked into the Sorbonne course. It looks like it is too late notice for me to sign up for anything. Would have been great though!

@steve - I absolutely agree with you on your skepticism of classes. (Admittedly, my opinions on language learning were greatly effected by you and your videos )

My mother is a native french speaker and she seems to think I need the classes. Shes paying for them, so I’m not going to refuse! I spoke to a few schools on the phone and they seem to agree I should be put in a C level class based on what they heard on the phone. Do you guys think I should follow through with the classes so that I could solidify my knowledge inorder to take a C level exam, or do you think preparation for such an exam is better off done on ones own? My ability in writing, for example, is really weak, mostly because I’ve never taken a real class (Well… that reason… and I suppose my own laziness!).

I travelled to England and Australia and I was faced with the same question : was it worth taking English classes considering I was already living in an English-speaking country ? My case was different since I would have been the one paying for the classes but I choose not too and I have never regretted that decision one second. Alliance Française has centers in a lots of countries so you could probably take this class back home. If not, I am sure you could find an other class in your hometown or just work on your French online anytime you want from anywhere in the world. Living in France for a month however is something I am going to assume you do not have the opportunity to do everyday. Profites-en à fond !

What’s the benefit of a French class taken in France compared to a French class taken anywhere else ? None whatsoever, especially if you plan on focusing on your written skills ! Well maybe meeting people if you are shy but then they won’t be natives. The advantage of being in France is meeting natives and having as many real French discussions as you can, visiting the billion stuff that France has to offer and generally having an awesome experience… Those are not things you will find in a classroom. If I were you, I would work hard now to make the most out of my stay; not spend 20 hours a week doing stuff I could have done in my homecountry while I am in France.

Also, if you want to get some corrections on your writing, do not hesitate to contact me.


Hey Prune,

I ended up signing up for a course at the University of Lorraine, mostly because I’ve never been to that part of France, then I’ll be spending a couple weeks course-free in Paris. I guess I’ll get the best of both worlds. I do, especially, need to work on my writing, so obviously a course setting might be agreable for that.

I’m going to go ahead and sign up for a discussion with you. What’s cool is that you’re the only French tutor in my timezone!

Hey David,

I had never thought as Lorraine as a place that people would want to visit to be honest with you, but that’s probably because I went there very often when I was younger since I have family there. So in my head, this region is associated with seeing family and not with touring and sightseeing. I had a friend who lived in Nancy though and I know she enjoyed herself a lot. I can give you some ideas of things to check up when you are there if you want.

I am available for discussion pretty much all the time since I am in between jobs right now so it should not be too difficult to find a convenient moment :slight_smile:

Haha, well all my family is in Paris, so I have to go out to Lorraine to have some time on my own! We can definetly talk about it on skype.