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French Club 50+ courses, Vichy
Vichy is a city steeped in history, located almost exactly in the middle of France. Hugged by the Allier River, it made a name for itself thanks to ancient volcanic activity in the mountainous Massif Central, which created the multitude of thermal springs in the area.
The Romans first settled here in the middle of the 1st century BC, drawn by the supposedly restorative powers of the naturally heated pools peppering the local countryside. By the Middle Ages, Vichy had developed into a sprawling town famous amongst the wealth and nobility of Europe as a centre for health and healing. The most important figures from across the continent came to bathe in the town’s curative waters, and its renown only continued to grow as time passed and word spread. By the 19th century, Vichy was so popular with the upper classes that extensive development was undertaken to make it more appealing to the delicate tastes of the landed gentry. Gardens were landscaped, chalets and private mansions were built for the wealthiest visitors, land was cleared for new boulevards and streets, and a new railway station was erected to transport the regular attendants in and out of the city. Napoleon III, Emperor of France, was responsible for many of these developments, and was a well-known face at Vichy’s most luxurious establishments.
Now Vichy is a relaxed, welcoming city with a distinctly ‘French’ feel. Its pedestrianised centre makes it a peaceful place to spend an afternoon, and there’s plenty to do to entertain yourself! Take a stroll along one of the parks lining the Allier River and watch locals play petanque in Parc des Sources; visit the only Art Nouveau opera house in France and take in a show (if there are still tickets left!); visit the Museum of Asian and African Arts, with its extraordinary and extensive collection of foreign curiosities; or perhaps spend a lazy afternoon playing golf on one of France’s oldest courses, which opened its doors to European nobility in 1908 and today welcomes non-members onto its greens.
If you are looking for a wonderful atmosphere, excellent teaching, friendly and welcoming staff, and modern facilities, then the Club 50+ French course at our school in Vichy is the right choice for you!
Courses in Vichy
Since the decline in popularity of hydrotherapy treatments after the 1970s, Vichy has grown into a centre for education and excellence, with its yearly conferences on topics such as philosophy, science, and engineering and its central university campus. It is on this campus that our lessons for the over-50s take place.
Just a short walk from the parks and beaches on the banks of the River Allier, our language centre boasts a huge library with computers and multimedia resources that are available to all students attending this programme. There’s also an on-site restaurant, a student common room, and various language labs that are ideal for extra-curricular study. Though our Club 50+ students take lessons in separate classrooms, the fact that the campus is full of French higher education students means that you’ll have ample opportunity to practice your language skills with local native speakers!
The 2-week Club 50+ programme is designed with the expectations and interests of this age group in mind. There’s a minimum of just 8 students per group, which enables more time with the teacher and offers a more personalised approach that’s guaranteed to help you progress, whatever your experience level. The language of study is the only one used in the classroom and, as such, the focus is on improving conversational skills as well as developing grammar and written proficiency. You will learn to deal with all kinds of real-life situations, such as discussing current events, completing daily errands, asking for general information, and ordering food and drink.
As well as French tuition, this programme includes a packed schedule of social and cultural activities planned specifically for mature students. In the afternoons and the evenings you can immerse yourself in the culture and local traditions of Vichy and the surrounding countryside. The social side of your total immersion experience will take you to popular nearby attractions, teach you about local history and customs, and introduce you to the food and wine of the region.
On the first day of the course, you will sit a short level test upon arrival in order to ascertain your starting level. You’ll then have a welcome talk, so your lessons won’t begin until 11:00. For the rest of the week, you will have classes between 08:45 and 12:00, with activities taking place after lunch (from 14:00 onwards).
Kindly note that a minimum of 4 participants is required for this programme to go ahead. If you have booked this course but there are insufficient numbers, you will be placed in a standard adult group according to your ability level and attend an activity programme consisting of a mix of general cultural activities and 50+-specific activities.
- 18 French lessons per week (2-week package)
- Reduced class sizes
- Comprehensive social and cultural programme
- Seasonal activities
- Full-day weekend excursions
- Transfer service on arrival and departure
If you want to have as much opportunity as possible to speak French with native speakers, then homestay lodging is the choice for you! You’ll stay with local Vichy residents and receive breakfast each day as standard, with the choice of adding dinner each day on the half-board package if you wish. This option is highly recommended as it not only provides you with maximum language immersion, but it also gives you the opportunity to experience day-to-day life in the city. We most recommend booking the half-board option so that you can benefit from conversations over the evening meal with your hosts, since dinner is a highly social occasion in France! Hosts live up to 30 minutes’ travel from the school by public transport, and can provide your bed linen, towels, and a weekly laundry service.
If you prefer more privacy and independence, we can book a private studio apartment for you. Each studio includes a fully-equipped kitchenette, a bathroom with toilet and shower, a television, Wi-Fi access, and bed linen. Towels are not included, so you should bring your own. You’ll also have a desk or table that you can use to complete any homework you are assigned by your teacher. Studios are located in residential blocks across the city, all within a maximum of 20 minutes’ walk from the school. These studios are offered on self-catering basis, giving you the freedom to cook for yourself during your stay. Double-use studios are available for students traveling together.
Depending on availability, we may also be able to arrange lodging in a local hotel for you. This is only provided on a by-request basis; please contact us for further details.
All accommodation is available from the Sunday before your course starts until the Saturday after your course ends. We may be able to arrange additional nights on arrival and/or departure for you if needed. Kindly note that we need to know about these as far in advance as possible.
Our Club 50+ course in Vichy includes a selection of exceptional social and cultural activities designed specifically with mature students in mind. Each activity is conducted in French and thus helps to complement your classroom learning with experience in real-life scenarios. As well as being educational, the activities are designed to be fun and to help you make friends during your time at our language school. Most of these activities are offered as part of the Club 50+ programme, although some may incur an additional fee to cover entrance and/or transportation costs.
The school aims to provide 4 cultural activities per week. The exact schedule for these activities varies throughout the year but may include:
- Walking tours of Vichy’s historic centre
- Evening meals and/or drinks with your classmates
- Group activities such as petanque and local produce tasting
- Visits to local museums and/or art galleries
- Cookery lessons
- French film screenings
- Tours of local attractions such as Vichy castle or local markets/fairs
- Arts and crafts sessions
- Half- and full-day excursions to local towns and cities, including Moulins and Clermont-Ferrand
- Plus seasonal activities as per events happening in the city during the course period
If you’re aged 50 or above and would like to improve your language skills with your peers in an historic French city, then this programme is perfect for you!
The package is available to mature students of any ability level, from complete beginner to advanced speaker. Class sizes are reduced, ensuring an excellent level of teaching and bespoke attention from the tutor for each student. The rich and varied social/cultural schedule included with this course is sure to be both informative and entertaining, as well as helping you to increase your knowledge of French.
How to get there
Though Vichy has its own airport, this is mainly used for internal flights. The nearest international airport is Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne Airport, which is around an hour’s drive from Vichy. Other international airports used by students studying in this location are Lyon-Saint-Exupéry, Paris’ Charles de Gaulle, and Paris Orly.
Included in the course package is a transfer service on arrival and departure at Vichy train station. You can therefore take public transport from your arrival destination to Vichy train station and use the included transfer service at no additional cost.
Alternatively, you can book a transfer package from Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon, or Paris airports. If you book this service, a driver will be waiting for you at your chosen airport when you land and will either take you to the nearest train station or directly to your accommodation in Vichy. If you select this service on departure as well, you will either be collected from your lodging and taken back to your chosen airport, or collected from the train station in one of the above locations and driven to the airport in time for your departing flights.
Students wishing to attend this programme should plan to arrive in Vichy on the Sunday before the course starts, and depart on the Saturday after it finishes. We may be able to arrange additional nights on arrival and/or departure to fit in with your flights.
Location of our school in Vichy
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