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Learn French in Annecy
It’s easy to why Annecy is nicknamed ‘the Pearl of the French Alps’. This charming, picturesque city sits at the mouth of France’s largest lake, close to the Swiss border. Nestled amongst snow-capped mountains and rolling green hills, Annecy is a favourite of lovers of the outdoors and a renowned winter sports destination. Whether you like to ski, sail, hike, paraglide, mountain-bike, canoe, climb, or windsurf, this is the place to be! So what are you waiting for? Learn French in Annecy with us and discover the delights of this beautiful alpine city for yourself. With its lovely historic centre, gorgeous azure waters, wealth of shops and eateries, and proximity to some of France’s most dramatic scenery, this city offers something for everyone. What’s more, since the local population primarily speak French, Annecy is an excellent location for a language course.
People have lived in Annecy since at least the Roman times, no doubt drawn by the area’s stunning natural beauty. The city came to prominence in the Middle Ages, when it was the seat of key European courts including those of Genevois and Savoy. This cultural and political importance led to significant urban development, much of which can still be seen in the city’s colourful historic centre at the mouth of Lac d’Annecy. Its narrow, meandering streets and snaking canals have given rise to another nickname for the city: Venice of the Alps. A famous spot here is the Palais de l’Isle, a striking 12th-century castle sitting on an island between two flower-lined canals. Once a prison and now a local history museum, the Palais is one of the city’s most iconic attractions.
The Old Town is brimming with restaurants, cafés, and bistros. The ancient streets are awash with the smells of different international cuisines, and diners from around the world enjoy their meals on sun-lit terraces with spectacular views of Annecy Lake and the mountains beyond. Since the centre is home to regular food markets, the dishes served here are made from the freshest of ingredients. In the evening, the Old Town comes alive as locals join together to share stories about their day over a bottle of wine. Meanwhile, the outer areas are mostly residential and are peppered with local shops and businesses which offer great opportunities for language practice.
Undoubtedly a key reason for coming to Annecy is to experience the beautiful countryside surrounding it. Though the city is home to scenic public parks like Jardins d’Europe and Parc Charles Bosson - both lovely spots for an afternoon stroll - the best sights are found outside Annecy. To the south is the huge Massif des Bauges National Park, home of Mount Semnoz. In this magnificent area you’ll find walking trails for all abilities, idyllic villages, and breath-taking views of the Annecy basin. To the west, lush fields stretch as far as the eye can see; to the east, Aravis Range marks the entrance to the Alps. If you’re unsure how to make the most of your time in Annecy, our colleagues at the language school will be happy to help you, whether it’s recommending must-see spots or putting you in touch with local providers. One thing’s for sure: an immersive French experience in Alpine Annecy will be unlike any other!
Our school in Annecy
Our French language school in Annecy is just 10 minutes’ walk from the city’s historic centre. When you study with us here, you’ll therefore be in easy reach of attractions like Saint-Pierre Cathedral, CITA Museum, and the Palais de l’Isle. The building itself is surrounded by shops, cafés and restaurants, and local businesses, so you can get all the amenities you need and put your newly developed French skills into practice after class. Nearby public transport services allow for easy exploration of the outer areas of the city and the local countryside.
Lessons take place in a recently renovated building that has 7 classrooms and its own private gardens. There is a student lounge with vending machines serving drinks and snacks, and a communal kitchen with a fridge and a microwave you can use if you prefer to bring your own refreshments. The school also has a resource room with rentable French-language materials including novels, textbooks, and films, and a selection of local tourist guidebooks and brochures containing information on what’s available to see and do in the area.
This school has been welcoming international students for over 30 years, so has ample experience teaching French to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. The tuition offered here has Label Qualité FLE accreditation from the French Ministry of Education and approval for CSN, Erasmus+, and Bildungsurlaub funding. The school is also a member of quality-control organisations like Eaquals. These credentials demonstrate the high standard of its language courses, while its location in a beautiful and historic French town make this facility a popular choice for many of our students.
Courses in Annecy
- Intensive (20)
- Intensive + Private Lessons (24)
- Intensive + Skiing (22)
- Super Intensive (40)
- Private Lessons (20)
- DELF Exam Prep (24)
The core Intensive course in Annecy consists of 20 group lessons per week in classes of no more than 15. This class size means allows you to get lots of language practice and highly personalised attention from the teacher, giving you ample opportunity to improve your French ability. Classes take place on an alternating schedule, allowing you to experience the city at all times of day. Morning lessons take place between 09:00 and 12:20 each weekday, while afternoon lessons take place between 13:30 and 16:50 each weekday; you’ll either have 3 morning classes and 2 afternoon classes each week or 2 morning classes and 3 afternoon classes. This course is available for up to 40 weeks, so you can book exactly as long as you need to get your French skills to the desired level.
If you have no previous experience of French, you must start your course on a set start date - please contact us for available start dates for beginners.
If you’re thinking of booking a long-term course and want experience as much of Annecy as possible during your stay, the Semi-intensive course will be ideal for you. With just 12 group lessons per week, you’ll have the freedom to enjoy your time as you prefer whilst still being able to improve your language skills. Lessons take place 3 days a week on either a morning or afternoon schedule and cover all aspects of French (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). This course is available for 12 or more weeks and is suitable for students with at least basic French knowledge (A1 or higher), so is not open to complete beginners.
If you want to get as much language practice as possible, you can attend the school’s Super-intensive course of 40 weekly group lessons. By studying for a full day (09:00 - 16:50 with regular breaks), you’ll be able to make rapid and significant improvements during your time in Annecy. Morning classes are arranged by starting ability level; afternoon classes are given in mixed-ability groups. Tuition on this programme is offered at A1 - B2 levels; this course is therefore unsuitable for complete beginners or advanced students.
Undoubtedly the best way to maximise the benefits of your time in Annecy is to book private tuition. Choose between 10 or 20 one-to-one classes per week and get optimum language practice and the ability to tailor the content of your lessons to your own needs. The bespoke nature of private tuition means that it’s ideal for those who feel they need extra support with their studies or for those who want to cover specialist topics. With unlimited interaction with the teacher, you’ll find that you make unparalleled improvements on a private course!
While one-to-one tuition is the best option in terms of language development, it’s not for everyone since it doesn’t offer the social experience of group classes. Fortunately, you can combine the best of both types of course with an Intensive + Private programme! By adding 4, 6, or 10 one-to-one classes per week to your core Intensive course, you’ll receive the extra language practice afforded by private lessons and still be able to experience the social aspect of group tuition. If you’re going to be taking a DELF/DALF or A Level exam, you can use your private lessons to prepare for your test.
A key reason that students want to study French in Annecy is because of the city’s proximity to the Alps and the winter sports opportunities available in this beautiful area. Between January and March, enthusiasts can book our school’s French & Skiing package, which consists of two or more weeks of the core Intensive course plus weekend excursions to local ski resorts. You’ll be able to enjoy some of the best slopes in the region and improve your skiing skills as well as your French skills. Transport to and from the resorts is included in the programme price; you can bring your own equipment or rent it on-site for an additional fee. This course is available to students of all French ability levels, though complete beginners should be sure to begin their Intensive course on an appropriate date. Please note: this programme is only available to over-18s; skiing activities are unsupervised, though our colleagues at the school can recommend qualified local instructors if you have no previous skiing experience.
French tutors looking for a refresher programme can select this school’s teachers’ course. You’ll develop your general language skills on the standard Intensive programme and improve your French-teaching skills through 4 weekly hours of class observation with teachers at the school. This programme also includes 2 hours of one-to-one pedagogy-focused workshops per week, where you can discuss current events and teaching methods with one of the school’s teachers. This programme has set start dates; please contact us if you would like further information.
On your first day, you should arrive at the school at 08:15. You will have already completed a level test prior to the start of your course; upon arrival, you will have a short oral assessment to verify the results of this test. In this way, the school can ensure that you are placed in the most appropriate group for your starting ability level, which will give you the best opportunity to improve your language skills no matter how much previous experience you have or how long you study for.
During your stay in Annecy, you’ll also be able to take part in the school’s activity programme. At the end of your course, you’ll receive a certificate of achievement which can be used to demonstrate the French ability level you have reached during your time at the school.
Don’t see what you’re looking for? Contact us today to see if we can arrange a bespoke package for you!
Special courses in Annecy
- Host Family
- Shared Apartment
- Student Residence
For maximum language immersion, we recommend that you stay with a local homestay host during your time in Annecy. All hosts are native French speakers, meaning you’ll be able to continue learning and using French even outside the classroom. Hosts live up to 30 minutes from the school by public transport; they offer private single or twin* bedrooms and access to the home’s communal spaces including the lounge and bathroom(s). Rooms are offered on either a breakfast-included or a half-board basis (half-board includes breakfast and dinner each day). We highly recommend the half-board option as it is not only cost-effective but also gives you guaranteed social time with your host(s) in the evening, thus maximum language exposure and a deeper insight into the French way of life. Whichever option you select, bed linens and towels will be provided by your host(s) and changed regularly; your host(s) will either do your laundry for you or let you use the home’s facilities once a week. Most hosts offer Wi-Fi access, but you should advise us at the time of booking if this a requirement for you. You will have your own key to come and go as you please, but you must respect house rules and schedules. Hosts are able to collect you on arrival at Annecy’s bus or train station for no extra charge, providing you arrive in the city between 10:00 and 20:00.
If you prefer to stay with other international students during your language experience, a shared apartment** is a great option. Apartments are located up to 30 minutes from the school by public transport and offer independence and, at the same time, a highly social experience. Private single or twin* rooms are available on a self-catering basis, giving you the freedom to cook for yourself or sample local restaurants as you prefer. You’ll have access to the apartment’s communal areas including the kitchen, lounge, and bathroom(s). Bed linens are included for stays shorter than one month; for longer stays, you should bring your own. Towels are not included. You can use the apartment’s washing machine or a local laundrette to do your laundry. It is not always possible to guarantee Wi-Fi access with this type of lodging; please let us know at the time of booking if this is a requirement for you. All apartments incur a cash security deposit on arrival - the figure will be confirmed to you in your travel information document and will be returned to you on departure, minus a small cleaning fee, providing your room is left in a suitable condition.
We can also offer student residence** lodging in Annecy. Our school works with a range of partner residences around the city, all located up to 20 minutes by bus from the language centre. These residences offer private single bedrooms; you’ll share the bathroom and kitchen facilities with the other residents on your floor. Private bathroom access may be available on request. All residences have coin-operated laundry facilities and free Wi-Fi. Bed linens are provided but towels are not, so you should bring your own. You’ll be placed based on availability; we therefore cannot guarantee the location of your lodging.
Studio apartments may be available on request. Apartments vary in size and cost - please contact us if you would like to explore this option.
*Twin rooms are only available to students travelling together. If you select a shared room but are travelling alone, you will be swapped to a single room.
**Rooms in a shared apartment or student residence are rented on a monthly basis. The total cost of your stay may vary according the starting date of the course and can differ from the prices mentioned in the price overview.
To complement your language tuition, our school offers a selection of social and cultural activities in the afternoons, evenings, and at weekends. Through these activities you will learn about French history and culture and get hands-on experience of life in Annecy. All activities are held in French so they have the added benefit of maintaining your language immersion and allowing you to put your newly developed skills into practice in real-life scenarios.
Many activities are available free of charge, though some may incur an additional fee to cover entrance and/or transportation costs. The exact schedule changes throughout the year but may include:
- Guided walking tours
- Visits to local attractions like Château Annecy and the CITIA Museum
- Picnics in the park with your class
- Boating or pedalo trips on Lac d’Annecy
- Visits to local street markets
- Trips to cultural and historic sites in the area like Conflas fortress and Montrottier castle
- Hiking in the countryside
- Food- and wine-tasting sessions
- Half- and full-day excursions to local points of interest like Lyon, Chamonix, and Geneva
- Plus seasonal activities available in the city
How to get there
Though Annecy does have its own airport, this is used for domestic flights only so may not be accessible to all students. The closest airport which accepts external flights is Geneva International Airport; this is around a 40-minute drive from Annecy.
From here, you can either make your own way to your lodging or we can arrange an airport transfer service for you for an additional fee. If you select this service, a driver will be waiting for you when you land and will take you directly to your accommodation. If you select this service on departure as well, you will be collected from your accommodation and taken back to the airport in time for your departing flight. Transfer services are also available to/from Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport, which is a 1.5-hour drive from Annecy.
If you have booked homestay lodging, you have the option of being collected on arrival from Annecy’s train station or bus station by your hosts. This service is offered free of charge.
You should arrange to arrive in Annecy on the Sunday before your course starts and to depart on the Saturday after it finishes. We may be able to arrange extra nights on arrival and/or departure for you if needed.
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