Julie 2017

Julie

 

I recently spent nearly two weeks in the company of Michel Denance in stunning Belle- Ile-en-Mer where I focused on perfecting my French and learning about this lovely island.

If you are an advanced student, serious about taking your knowledge of French to the next level, this is the professor and location for you! Our program, tailored to my needs, consisted of daily lessons from 1000-1230, followed by a delicious lunch prepared by Michel and an outing to a nearby site every few days.

Michel assigned short stories by both French and Québecois writers and that generated lively conversation for us. Although I have a Masters in French, I was challenged by Michel to learn the finer points of French grammar and encouraged to speak as much as possible to enhance my fluency.

He included intriguing articles from internet sites and newspapers and provided songs that illustrated points of grammar and pronunciation particular to me.

While I have studied French for over 40 years with more than 20 teachers/ professors, I have never been more pleased with the attention and talent of an instructor.

I look forward to returning for another immersion next year with Michel.

Tony and Gretel 2017

This was our first French immersion experience, and in spite of our apprehension we were made very welcome by Michel.

 

Tony_and_Gretel

 

Soon after our arrival we were into the study, Michel quickly grasped our strengths and weaknesses, and we agreed on a program for the two weeks of our stay.

The location of the cottage was beautiful, and we soon got into our French routine of going through our homework over breakfast before heading off next door for our morning lesson. Lunch and walking the gardens or down the country lanes surrounding the hamlet during the afternoon before homework. Some afternoons Michel’s smiling face would appear with a baguette to help us through our afternoon study which was always very welcome. We had lots of opportunities for long exploring walks, even a walk into LocMaria, and then back for an evening meal with Michel.

We enjoyed ventures out with Michel to the movies or to tour local highlights, including his friends’ beautiful gardens. This allowed us to practice our french, and torture Michel and his friends with our attempts, but Michel was always encouraging us to continue to try to speak.

Michel is a good and patient teacher, and keen to ensure we learnt correctly. He cares greatly about giving his students a good experience, and has a great sense of humour.

We really enjoyed our time with Michel and he helped us greatly on our onward journey through the French language.

Our thanks Michel from your ‘chouchoux’

Kai 2017

Kai

 

Highly recommendable! Michel is an exquisite cook, excellent pedagogue, friendly, jolly and considerate.

Belle-ile offers fantastic outdoor experiences and a nice climate from mid february to november. An experience for a lifetime!

Fantastiskt och effektivt intensivt franskt språkbad.
Tehokad ranskan intensiivi kielikurssi ja kielikylpy.
Effektiv Intensivsprachkurs in Französisch – besser als im besten Hotel!

Rebecca 2016

This was my second immersion course with Michel Denance. Once again, I feel he has helped me enormously.

 

Rebecca

 

My challenge was to recover the French I had studied all through school which had become dormant after 30 years of speaking only Spanish.

Last year, after a week’s work, I still spoke in a contorted mixture of French and Spanish, though I was able to read French better and (sort of) comprehend the spoken language.

After this second visit, however, thanks to his attentive instruction, I can now speak much more fluidly, write more clearly and understand a good deal of what is said. All of this has given me much more confidence to speak spontaneously.

As a teacher, he is both adaptable, willing to vary his teaching to the student’s needs, as well as inventive, quick to suggest readings and excursions that might be of interest.

The cozy student living quarters, located in a former stable beside his house, are completely separate with a small kitchen and bath. The arrangement offers both privacy and easy contact.

I found that both the privacy and the isolated location in a tiny village in the center of the island were quite conducive to serious immersion.

Although telephone coverage is sketchy, the internet is fast and reliable and texting is easy via apps like Whatsapp.

Pat 2016

French immersion in Belle-Île-en-mer with Michel is the perfect setting to improve your French language skills.

 

I recently spent a week there and found that as soon as I disembarked the ferry in Le Palais, I felt the noise and stress in life being left behind and replaced with the peacefulness and tranquility of the island. Perfect to get the mind focused for the days ahead.

Good thing because its not long after you unpack that you have your first lesson! Michel quickly identified the nuts and bolts of the language I have difficulty with and put together a learning plan for the week.

There is not much I can add to the outstanding reviews written here by others about their French immersion experience other than I can confirm it is all true.

Michel is a patient and sensitive teacher with a great sense of humor. In no time you will feel “comme a la maison!”

Michel, Borchudan and Belle-Île are the perfect blend to move your French skills forward. Vraiment. It’s real France. Vas-y!

Elaine and Sheldon 2016

Elaine_and_Sheldon

 

I spent one week with Michel on Belle Ile en Mer in early September, 2016. I was nervous, as I am sure everyone is. One feels so exposed and vulnerable learning a language.

Michel and Belle Ile were perfect antidotes to my anxiety. Michel was warm and welcoming. He was endlessly patient; I am often afraid I am boring someone as I struggle to say what I want to say in French but Michel was encouraging and always positive and gentle. He is an excellent teacher, letting go what is not important and focusing on what he feels is important for the level one is at. He is also interested in language and we had interesting conversations about language and the learning of language.

The accommodation right next door to Michel’s house was perfect for quiet study and reflection. And Belle Ile is a beautiful island, calm, quiet, interesting and very scenic. The setting was ideal for learning French.

The schedule was flexible but we quickly settled into a routine that was very comfortable for me: during the morning lesson we reviewed homework, had wide- ranging conversations in French, and I gave a précis of something I had read the evening before (usually a Guy de Maupassant story) and then we talked about the story. Michel also helped me with pronunciation, introduced me to phonetics which I found quite helpful, and generally boosted my confidence. I had the afternoon off and then the three of us had dinner in Michel’s home, always a delicious meal prepared by Michel who is an excellent cook.

My husband who speaks no French (except sacrébleu) spent his mornings riding one of Michel’s bicycles and hiking on the coastal path. Michel drove us to some very old villages and some of the other interesting sights on the island.

All in all, a perfect week. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Mary and Mark 2016

Mary_and_Mark2016

 

Another splendid, relaxing visit to Belle Île! Michel has become part of our French habit. This was our 4th visit in 4 years.

I can’t think of anything better than coming to Belle Île for a week of learning and utter peace and quiet to kick start my french and to kick off a trip to France.

Merci Michel et à la prochaine !

Suz and Dick 2016

Suz_and_Dick

 

Over the past few years, I have become more serious about improving my French. This has led me to taking classes at our local Alliance Francaise, taking a 2-week immersion class in Paris last year and, early this summer, spending a week learning French with Michel on Belle-Île-en-Mer.

I can say without any hesitation that taking classes with Michel was not only the most productive of these approaches, but also the most fun. And Belle-Île is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

My husband, a fluent French speaker, accompanied me, and we stayed in Michel’s small and cozy apartment attached to his house. It was very comfortable for the two of us, and it made us feel that we, too, belonged on this tiny lane in Borchuran, one of the 4 villages on Belle-Île.

Here’s a typical day: 2.5 hours of lessons in the morning tailored around my objectives and needs. I am at an intermediate level and the lesson always started with a warm-up discussion, then we would turn to my homework, which usually included work in a book of grammar, a reading that Michel assigned and a composition. This triad worked well and the 2.5 hours passed by very quickly. There was always homework and it usually took me at a couple of hours to complete.

Adding to the entire experience, Michel took us on a tour of the island one day and arranged for a visit to Le Jardin de la Boulay. It is not to be missed if you like gardens and nature. He also arranged for me to join a tour of the garden of a well-known botanist on the island. All trips added to my vocabulary and my pleasure.

Dinner with Michel—and he is a fabulous cook—was a daily highlight for my husband and me. As much as we enjoyed the food, we enjoyed the discussions even more.

Michel is a great host and raconteur and I can easily imagine that he would make any level student comfortable.

Finally, the island is magnificent. If you like the outdoors at all, there is ample opportunity to walk (right out your door), hike the island on an 80 km trail, kayak, and bike (Michel has bikes to lend). See all the other reviews for more on this.

I found the experience to have been a great kick-start for “upping my French game” and have kept at it since returning to the US. That’s been a significant outcome of the experience. Bottom line, if I had to rate the experience overall, it is a definite 10 out of 10. In fact, we already have plans to return next year.

Richard 2016

Richard

 

In late May 2016, I had my first French language immersion program, and it was a great! I traveled to Belle-Île from Paris and spent 5 days at the home of Michel Denance. I have a few comments I’d like to share about my experience, and why I recommend the French immersion program on Belle-Île with Michel.

First, Michel is an excellent French professor (in fact, the best that I’ve had). He is able to discern readily your level of proficiency in speaking, comprehension, reading and writing French. Together, the two of you decide on a program focused on your particular needs and goals. Each day, you spend a couple of hours in an informal classroom setting with lessons, class work, and conversation. There is homework, but just enough to keep you engaged, interested, and motivated to learn. I enjoyed particularly reading short works from French literature in the evenings and discussing them the next day. Casual conversation over dinner is a wonderful bonus.

The lodging is first-rate. Michel has a two-level apartment adjacent to his country farmhouse. The apartment is fully furnished with a comfortable bed and cozy furniture. There is a small kitchen with most anything you need for a short visit, and after a brief trip to the grocery store, fresh produce (and maybe a bottle of wine) to enjoy at your leisure. Michel has a large garden with beautiful flowers, trees, and herbs that you can explore.

Michel is a gracious host and an outstanding chef. Daily, he prepares a delicious meal that you share at his dining table. The food is fresh, local, and seasoned well, and the conversation over meals is delightful. Michel has a great sense of humor and a charming manner that puts you at ease quickly. He’s knowledgeable about a great many things and you soon find common interests. Michel enjoys the company of others, and wherever we went, everyone knew him.

Last, Belle-Île is truly a beautiful island. The countryside, the beaches, the small villages, and the ocean are gorgeous, where you can take some time to sit, relax, and bask in them (and take some impressive pictures). I took breaks from homework in the afternoon to explore the island by bicycle and on foot. There were flowers blooming everywhere, along roadsides and paths and in small gardens. One afternoon Michel took me on a grand tour of the island, from one end to the other, and it was clear why Belle-Île is a favorite vacation destination.

Karen and Don 2016

Karen_and_Don

 

Don and I are a couple in our sixties. We have studied French language for several years, but were looking for a program where we could have conversations with an expert teacher who would help us with grammar and pronunciations.
We have travelled to France many times so we were delighted to find Michel, who lives in an area of France that we were interested in exploring.

How lucky we were to stay with Michel, a teacher of exceptional ability, passionate about the island of Belle Isle, with an amazing wit and intellect. We loved every

minute of our lessons, we were so motivated to do our homework every afternoon. Our walks around the coastline were fantastic. Then in the evenings, back to Michel’s for more laughs, lively conversations and delicious meals.
Our french has improved, we have a much better idea of what we need to study (the basics) and we’re more motivated than ever to continue our quest to learn french. Many thanks to Michel, who has given us such happy memories to cherish for the rest of our lives.