The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Issue No. 12

Sensational cities to tiny villages, food and wine, culture and heritage. Champagne, an aristocratic saffron grower, Anger, Montparnasse, Morzeine, Carol Drinkwater shares her passion for France. Gorgeous photos and fabulous features will transport you to the heart of France in this brilliant, free magazine...

Photo: Morzine Tourist

Photo: Morzine Tourist Office/Jarry Tripelon The Portes du Soleil area is one of the largest ski areas in the world. It includes thirteen resorts (both Swiss and French) and roughly 650 km of marked ski and snowboard runs. There are fourteen valleys and nearly all of the runs are connected. With a back drop of Mont Blanc and not far from Lake Geneva, it’s not hard to believe there is skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports here for every possible level and ability, from the black run “The Wall” to the nursery. But there’s more to a snowy sojourn in this mountain paradise as I found out when I went to learn French in between ski sessions. How often have you promised yourself that this is the year you will learn or improve your French? And then somehow never quite got round to it? Perhaps just not sure how to begin or was it just time that you ran out of? Good news for would be French speakers Well the good news is that you can actually make it happen in a way that is easy, memorable and dare I say fun? Yes fun! Because there’s a French language school in a little town called Morzine and after a week with them, you’ll not just be talking in French, you may even be thinking in French and you’ll have had a fantastic alpine holiday too, packed with memories and fresh mountain air. Morzine is a delightful mountain town in the Haute Savoie region of the Rhones Alpes about an hour from Geneva and tucked away in a part of the Alps known as the Portes du Soleil. Strict planning rules mean traditional wooden chalets and shops in the centre of the town have kept a distinctly alpine style and charm. And whatever your preferred holiday pleasure, this is a great place to be based.

Let’s start with improving your French Even if you’ve visited Morzine before, you may not have noticed the busy little Alpine French School tucked just off the main road not far from the tourist office. It comes equipped with a super friendly team of teachers and staff who can and do speak English if you need them to and the atmosphere when you enter is instantly relaxed and welcoming. There’s a handful of well-equipped classrooms, a multimedia room and common room for you to take advantage of and a whole smorgasbord of classes and courses to choose from. I opted for an intensive week of 3 ½ hour classes at beginner’s level each afternoon. You’re allocated a class according to your ability before you arrive and there is nothing more reassuring as you sit down for your first lesson than realising that you are learning with people at roughly the same level as you. Our teacher Lucille spoke almost entirely in French throughout but it was clear and easy to understand and the format of the lessons had you talking in French straightaway. The lessons are a combination of theory and practical learning, with games, written French and lots of conversation. It’s a long time since I’ve been in a classroom, and my fellow pupils came from all walks of life. There was a young Swiss soldier and a Russian girl who’s been living in Australia. And then there was Anthony from the UK whose determination to get to grips with this language was nothing short of inspirational. I’m ever so slightly addicted to learning and it was great to be in a room full of fellow addicts all enthusiastically lapping up our “pronoms”, “passé composé” and “structure infinitives”. Long since forgotten French which we’d all learnt way back when came rushing back and our afternoon classes flew by. We were all speaking French with each other even after the class by the end of day one, not least as it was our only common language, and my confidence, which has taken more than a few knocks over the last two decades, came gradually flowing back. left: in the classroom; above Lucy enjoying afterschool skiing; right: gourmet fun in the alps Photo: Morzine Tourist Office/Jarry Tripelon

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