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Learn French in Rouen

Medieval street in Rouen, France

Lucy Harfield

One week
French course
in July.
Rouen, France


I only had a week to refresh my French, but I’d used CESA Languages before so decided to check out their website for a short course.  I didn’t want to go south, but Paris didn’t appeal – too big, I just couldn’t face the endless commuting for just a one week trip.  So I chose Rouen – as I’d not been there before and had always wanted to see the Cathedral.

I felt very comfortable in the French language school in Rouen and found the atmosphere very welcoming.  The staff were always very kind and helpful, whenever I had a question.  The school was located on the Rive Gauche which was outside the centre of the city, where my hosts lived, but the daily commute was short.

The language lessons were excellent – always well presented by an experienced teacher (all of the teachers at the college were French native speakers).  There were only 5 students in my class, which I was delighted with.  The official maximum was only 10 to a class in any case – which in comparison with some colleges is still amazingly small!  The teacher taught the lessons really well and got the level and subject matter just right for our group.  Small class groups are always worth searching out as they ensure plenty of opportunity for each person to speak.  I always find that large classes feel as though the teacher is aiming for crowd control, rather than French tuition (and had a bad experience with this on an AE class a few years back).

The other students were very friendly and sociable, mainly in their 20’s and 30’s and European – which suited me.

The only thing I regret is that I decided to go for the Standard not the Intensive course.  If I’d been out there for 4 weeks or longer, the Standard course (15 lessons) would have been ideal – but on reflection for a one week course I should have gone for the Intensive (30 lessons) option.   However that was my choice at the time, as I also wanted to take the opportunity to explore Rouen – I guess there is only so much you can cram into a one week trip.

The French school arrange my accommodation with a local French couple – and this worked incredibly well for me.  I was delighted to find they were a very welcoming people, with a wonderful flat in the centre of Rouen.  They were truly kind and understanding and helped me with my French.  I’d definitely recommend host accommodation to other students – as on a short course this is really the only opportunity you get to talk French out of class time.

Rouen is a fabulous place to study.  There is plenty to do and see and I felt very safe there – which is an important consideration for any female (or I guess any student) travelling on their own.

Given more time and more money I’d jump at the chance to do another course in the future.  I’d recommend everyone attended a language course like this – for as long as your circumstance and budget will allow!  You won’t regret it and it’s the most enjoyable way to learn a language that I’ve found to date – though I haven’t tried marrying a Frenchman as yet!!    : )