Elaine and Sheldon 2016



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.