I have attended the school twice, 3 weeks in total. I find it hard to think of how the experience could be bettered and am currently planning my next visit.
Most importantly for a voluntary learning environment, the atmosphere has always been friendly and welcoming with only about 12 to 16 students attending the school at any one time. Since it is an immersion course the learning continues throughout the day and evening, including the meals and this is aided by first class food (not to mention the nightly education in French cheese!) The bedrooms I would describe as motel quality and perfectly adequate. Most importantly the teaching is really excellent - varied in approach to maintain interest (I've usually taken 25 hrs a week of classroom work), perfectly pitched for the various levels, and the classes are always small (never more than 3 in my case altho I havent attended during the 3 summer months).
Roanne itself offers all one would expect of a large town. Not having a great deal of "tourist" interest means, conversely, it does not present the sort of distractions you would experience in Paris or Provence for example. For the weekends the surrounding countryside is lovely and the great city of Lyon only an hour away by train.
Very highly recommended.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Ecole des Trois Ponts created in 1991 specializes in short-term French language immersion courses for adults, in addition to French language combined with cooking classes. French immersion courses are offered in General, Intensive, Private and Holiday formats for all skill levels by professional and native French speaking tutors all fluent in English. During select weeks, hands-on cooking classes with our in-house Chef take place in the afternoons, as guests learn to create French culinary specialties. The Villa Beaulieu is a 19th century country house in the community of Riorges, adjacent to the town of Roanne, near Lyon. Nine guestrooms surround a peaceful, central garden in a quiet residential area close to patisseries, cafes and parks. ... more less