Meet Brigitte: your French language immersion holiday tutor in Provence
New to the NotInTheGuidBooks.com site but not new to the world of language teaching, Brigitte has taken her 30 plus years of language teaching skills and combined them with her favourite things in life to bring you a very unique, very specialized French immersion language course like none other out there.
As a lover of languages, people, culture, food and new experiences, she has opened up her amazing home near the sea in Provence and created the perfect language holiday and cultural immersion programme.
This French immersion course is all about helping students immerse into French in a perfect, laid back way, at one’s own pace. This is a once in a lifetime experience, and try as we may, we can’t seem to find anyone with the gorgeous, private ensuite accommodation, home cooked regional specialities, and 3 decades of teaching experience along with excursions chosen by the student to match what Brigitte does.
To understand her French immersion holiday better, we asked her a few questions about her career, home, and teaching highlights.
Where are you from? What made you settle in Provence?
I am actually from Lille, up in the north of France, a region known for the warmth and
the hospitality of its inhabitants, which contrasts with the weather! I moved south for
professional reasons and I must say that even though I miss the sun that northern people are said to have in their heart, I am very happy now to enjoy the lovely sun of Provence throughout the year.
What led you into hosting this unique teaching French immersion experience?
Mostly my teaching expertise and an outgoing, inquisitive soul.
Teaching and communicating is second nature to me – I have taught all ages and
levels and have always enjoyed it. As I like to say, I have friends to discover and many things to always learn.
I have a very large family, with 3 grown children and 7 grandchildren, so it is always comforting to have people around. My house was designed to be full, and now that my family has grown up and moved out, I love having the space for guests. Fortunately, we have some great family reunions here every so often.
What are your favourite aspects of being a holiday host / language teacher?
I personally think that a language homestay programme is the best way to combine learning a language with real life experiences, all while being in a relaxed environment where you are well taken care of.
The best aspect for me is to meet new people and enjoy their company. It is so much nicer conversing with someone and having someone enjoy a homemade meal and wine with you.
What do you love about Provence?
This region is extraordinary, in that within a 2 hour drive there is so much to see and do. Provence is known for being one of the most beautiful and amazing regions of France and Ceyreste, my village, is your typical French medieval village.
Our village church dates back to the 12th Century, we have a ‘borie’ (a former dry stone hut for the shepherds) on our estate, and there is a market every Friday morning – perfect for practicing your recently learned French. I love market day in my little village mostly to meet people and catch up on the latest news.
We are also surrounded by the famous breathtaking Calanques – which are just around the corner from me. I have one favourite place in particular, and should you ever join me, I will be taking you there myself.
What can a French language student expect in a typical day?
The immersion programme is tailor made to suit any student at any age or level.
I have a dedicated room available for teaching, however it can be less formal. This language programme is designed for you and by you.
If you would prefer a more laid back lesson, that can easily be done on the terrace or by the pool; my teaching approach mainly aims at making the student comfortable, relaxed, and making learning fun.
A typical day usually consists of 2 hours structured language tuition in the morning (or more if one wants a more intensive programme). I speak with the student beforehand about their interests, then happily use this to find the relevant vocabulary, articles, and activities to teach the language.
Each day I will cook 2 meals for myself and any students, however, if you want to go explore a local restaurant and embrace the village life, feel free to do so.
You can also expect 2 activities or tours a week to discover this fabulous region (by all means, you can add more if you wish), such as wine tasting, museum visits, guided tours of Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Cassis, a boat ride in the Calanques (at an extra cost we can even sleep overnight), or any sports that may be of interest. All of this allows you to get to know the area better, and allows for more conversational time.
You also include meals for your learning holiday. What do you love to cook, and where did you learn? Can we have an example of your perfect meal?
I find cooking relaxing and usually listen to music while I cook. I love cooking healthy food with organic vegetables from my local producers as much as I can.
Being from two different ‘cultures’ of north and south, I cook local dishes such as the ‘lapin à la moutarde’ (rabbit in mustard), ‘endives au gratin’ – basically anything from scallops on the shell to veal, to a fabulous vegetarian lasagna with pesto.
We can work together and plan some beautiful menus – I am very open to all tastes and cuisines.
I like sharing the pleasure of French cooking and would be happy to share my recipes in French while you help me cook! Perhaps a student can make a goal of leaving with their very own, handmade French cookbook. By the time you leave, you should master the important conversation of which wine to have with which cheese (very important stuff)!
How do you spend a typical evening when you have a student/students staying with you?
Evenings can be as mellow or as open as you would like. We can just chat, or check out the famous, oldest cinema in town, and see if we spot anyone famous, or perhaps catch up on national TV shows. A night swim is always a great way to get a good night’s sleep too!
In season, I love going to one of the free music festivals in the area. Is there anything better than listening to good music in the open air under the huge Sequoia trees, with a cool glass of rosé in hand?
Do you have any advice for the first time solo traveller on your language holidays?
An immersive homestay is a great and safe way to learn and enhance your French language skills while travelling by yourself. You are basically getting a private teacher that works with your level, and a personal tour guide that focuses the week on your interests.
As a holiday, you have the pool, a private ensuite room, the ocean, and classic French meals. It really is the best of all worlds – come a newbie, and leave a local :)
You can read more about Brigitte’s French immersion holiday here.
Or feel free to browse our full collection of French language holidays in France here.