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Our family would like to spend the summer in France and actually speak French! Help!

(27 Posts)
Sixp Thu 30-Jan-20 19:06:16

We are a family of 4. Kids are 12 and 15 and we are keen to spend around a month in France this summer soaking up the language and visiting some sites (definitely Paris). We will Drive there. Has anyone done anything similar before? Airbnb has some accommodation in our budget but I’d love to find kids activity camps run in French or summer holiday clubs - ideally without it costing a fortune... Where should I start?

OP’s posts: |
Ricekrispie22 Fri 31-Jan-20 06:20:30

This might help

shellyandlayla Fri 31-Jan-20 14:11:51

Do your children speak French already? I know of plenty for French children (I live in Brittany) but if it's to learn French they might be a bit lost!

Sixp Fri 31-Jan-20 15:49:52

Alpine school looks lovely but so expensive! I’m afraid they don’t really speak French, just what they’re learning in school. Hmmm.

OP’s posts: |
shellyandlayla Fri 31-Jan-20 16:22:52

Sixp it's a shame - the activities for French kids are excellent value - my youngest is 11 and he has activities such as karting, rugby, bushcraft etc etc and I pay 13€ a day incuding lunch!

MrsFogi Fri 31-Jan-20 16:26:12

@shellyandlayla I'd love to hear about any you know in Brittany for kids who already speak French. Thanks!

Frazzled2207 Fri 31-Jan-20 16:28:03

Following, my kids are much younger though (6 and 4). I do recommend if your kids are teenagers having a play on the (free) Duolingo app though. Is good fun.

shellyandlayla Fri 31-Jan-20 16:45:02

MrsFogi depending where you are - most communes operate schemes in the school holidays and on Wednesdays. My experience has been that the events and themed days are more for 11+ age group and the younger ones are in a more "holiday club" based environment. As I understand it the activities on offer vary between different areas depending on the budget of the mayor and demographic. Where I am near Vannes in South Brittany I've been amazed (and pretty thrilled) at what my two have been able to participate in - skiing, outward boud type stuff as well as all the local activities. You can probably tell I'm a big fan! A child from outside the area pays slightly more - but it's something like 2€ exrtra a day, not masses! hth

MrsFogi Fri 31-Jan-20 17:49:58

Thanks @shellyandlayla - my kids get bored rigid over the hols at their grandparents' place in the Cotes d'Armor each year. Is there a way I can find local holiday schemes (I have no idea what I should be googling for)?

MrsFogi Fri 31-Jan-20 18:03:00

OP I think it's difficult because the French love practising their English on anglophones! My dsis went on a Eurocamp holiday last year (somewhere remote) and her kids ended up playing with loads of French children however I doubt that is ever guaranteed.

Iambloodystarving Fri 31-Jan-20 18:03:28

We are keen too.
We would drive over on the ferry to Brittany.

Tartyflette Fri 31-Jan-20 18:12:44

DH and i have done French courses in France with this institution - we went to Montpelier, a lovely city near the Med in SE France. We drove and arranged our own accommodation.
they do eg a week’s course with morning and afternoon lessons, all levels from beginner to advanced.
But there are also places offering ‘total immersion’ courses In French, i have heard of some in Normandy which would be handy for Paris.
With accommodation,
It will be much cheaper for you to hire a gite or similar for the period probably.

Google ‘learn French in France’ and/or Total immersion French language course in France. (Or similar!)

Tartyflette Fri 31-Jan-20 18:15:14

Tartyflette Fri 31-Jan-20 18:17:59

We also did a one-week french course in Biarritz, gorgeous city, and some language schools there offer french language and surfing lessons!

Sixp Fri 31-Jan-20 18:47:30

We were quite tempted by eurocamp but thought it might be completely English speaking.

OP’s posts: |
LIZS Fri 31-Jan-20 19:53:41

@Ricekrispie22 do you have any personal experience of them? Dd is 18, on post A level gap year, but would enjoy an intensive language course there.

@Sixp look at pierre et vacances sites in France, their activities are predominantly french speaking, or Club Med

shellyandlayla Fri 31-Jan-20 21:08:59

@MrsFogi Most Mairie's office have a website - if you google the one for the commune, it should have a section for "enfance" which will give you a timetable for what's on - might be too early for the summer hols as I've just signed DS2 up for the Feb holidays and at ours they are open for subscription about a month before the holidays, but it will give you an idea what's available and there should be instructions when and how to register - hopefully online, but maybe you can phone and explain if they ask you to do it in person? In any case, it will be the Mayors office or nearest town hall who have details
depending on the size of the commune.

shellyandlayla Sat 01-Feb-20 13:01:19

Can I just have any further thoughts about this from anyone please. I have had a gite here in Brittany for 15 years - I'm not touting for business as we're full this year! - but we have hosted French students for English immersion in the past, but this thread got me thinking that perhaps there is a demand for it in reverse? We'll have two gites from next Easter so I've leaped into two families with similar aged kids and activities in French every day, a bit of conversation, maybe French films, of course my two DS's play a big part grin Unrealistic winter dreaming or an interesting concept to explore further?

Frazzled2207 Sun 02-Feb-20 08:44:15

Eurocamp will certainly not be all English speaking. They just rent a bit of much larger independent campsites. Your immediate neighbours will most likely be British though.

Have a look at Yelloh Villages campsites. The best campsites IMO. Pretty multinational crowd where we've been but mostly French.

Sixp Sun 02-Feb-20 10:10:43

Thank you for all your replies. We have decided taking a cottage or gîte is going to work out best for us. And we have settled on Normandy as one of the group may need to occasionally pop back to London for work! That’s as far as we’ve got! We haven’t found the perfect accommodation yet, as we have a budget, but still looking!

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shellyandlayla Sun 02-Feb-20 11:06:16

@Sixp it's a shame you can't make it to Brittany, you could have been a guinea pig for my new idea above grin

Sixp Sun 02-Feb-20 11:37:24

shellyandlayla* I am looking at Brittany now as well! But you’re all booked aren’t you? And I’m after a month.

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Sixp Sun 02-Feb-20 11:39:17

@shellyandlayla we’d certainly be happy guinea pigs otherwise. We are actually Airbnb owners ourselves. Initially we were thinking of trying to arrange a house swap for the summer, but I thought it might involve too much effort 😂

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helpfulperson Sun 02-Feb-20 11:48:08

@shellyandlayla I think that sounds a great idea. Simple things like an evening meal or outing with a local family conducted in French would be great. Often what us Brit's lack is the confidence rather than the actual language skills and knowing that the other person isn't going to start talking English would be fab.

shellyandlayla Sun 02-Feb-20 11:54:59

@SixP, yes, sorry we are pretty booked up. Getting carried away! I will give some thought to anywhere that might be free for a month for you.

@helpfulperson thanks for your thoughts and yes, it's always confidence - for the French students we've had here too.

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