I thought I had died and gone to heaven!
Our adventure began with the French dinner with wine pairings on the Sunday evening of our arrival. The dinner was a preview of what was going to unfold during the week. An incredible dinner was prepared by Mélie, the resident French chef and sommelier, along with local wines specifically chosen for each course. During this demonstration of gastronomical virtuosity, we were introduced to our hosts who personified the French welcome “Enchantée”! It was a good omen for the week ahead.
After dinner, we retired to our newly remodeled apartment located amongst the nearby charming French villages that looked upon the beautiful countryside. We looked forward to the next day.
The next day, and every other day after that (...) après le petit déjeuner, we were immersed in three hours of French with Marion. Mais pas de soucis, with Marion’s teaching skills and techniques, warm, friendly personality and her sense of humor, it is time for déjeuner before you can say “déjà”.
Déjeuner is another opportunity to gain weight with French cuisine prepared by Marion along with local cheeses, fruits, desserts and fine regional French wines. During lunch, Mélie shares her expansive knowledge and describes the subtleties of French wine and how to fully appreciate them, All the while you are practicing your conversation with Marion, and other guests who might be at the table, while gazing upon a beautiful French countryside. On n’est pas bien la?
Followed by a short, but necessary break, or nap, needed to regain a sense of equilibrium, the afternoon was filled with country walks while practicing French conversation - a necessity after over indulging at breakfast and lunch. If not walking, we were on an excursion to one of the many surrounding historical sites or, peut être, a French market. Et bien sûr, we were practicing listening and conversing in French all the while being guided by Marion and Mélie.
We took the course with wine experience option. Before the course, you could color me “skeptic”. I thought most discussion about wine color, bouquet, and so on … were for those that just wanted to sound pretentious. Well, I was mistaken. The desgustations lead by Mélie, along with trips to the local wineries changed all that. Mélie has an encyclopedic knowledge of the regional wines and can share how to really understand, taste and appreciate the wines. I am now a believer and inspired to continue my wine experience!
The week with Marion and Mélie was truly an unforgettable experience. For a week, my wife and I were totally immersed in French with masters of the most effective teaching tools ever created: joy, passion, patience and love. Without realizing it and as if by magic, our French and confidence improved daily, along with a greater love and appreciation for the French people and culture. My only regret is that we only enrolled for a week. I won’t make that mistake again!
Merci beaucoup Marion et Mélie!!