How was your immersion in France...?

La meilleure formation linguistique que j’ai trouvée est la méthode d’immersion totale. Il y a une semaine je suis partie avec mon mari pour une semaine de formation en immersion française dans la belle Auvergne. Celui-ci a été dirige par l’incroyable Soline Sterbecq de French in Context (

Pendant une semaine nous n’avons parlé que français, cours avec Soline le matin, suivi d’un déjeuner (Soline et son mari Jérôme étaient de très bons cuisiniers), puis l’après-midi découverte de la belle campagne et des villes d’Auvergne, de Vichy au champ de bataille de Gergovia, tout en français et parfois avec des guides locaux. Il y avait en plus l’hospitalité de Soline et Jérôme certains soirs. C’était un travail vraiment dur, mais Soline nous a aidés en grammaire mais surtout en parlant français dans tous les environnements. C’était toujours amusant et notre confiance dans la parole et notre vocabulaire ont tellement augmenté au cours de la semaine. Nous avons couvert un très large éventail de sujets, allant de la politique, de la culture, de l’éducation et de la science. Et nous avons beaucoup ri !

Pat (UK)

We loved the Gite de la Planche! France assigned four stars to the Gite but we would give it five. It has everything one would want for an extended stay, which for us was two weeks while we worked on our French with Soline and her family, all of whom were very gracious during our stay.

We chose to study French with Soline in Volvic because we wanted a teacher with solid credentials in a town where people would not automatically switch into colloquial English whenever we walked into a store or restaurant, or as we just walked around town. We were not disappointed, and quickly settled into a daily routine of French with Soline in the mornings followed by afternoon outings where we of course practiced our French some more. Soline was solicitous in shaping our activities to match my wife’s and my varied interests and proved adept at working our schedule around the vagaries of Volvic’s weather in late March and early April, when one can experience all four seasons in the course of a day. Be sure not to miss going to the top of the Puy de Dome or a visit to Coline’s lava art workshop during your own stay!

When the need arose for a visit to the doctor, Soline arranged an appointment at the local clinic. A very positive experience, and yet another opportunity to practice our French. The village of Volvic had everything we needed. Soline kindly picked us up at the train station and took us back to catch the train to Paris at the end of our stay: no need to rent a car.

This was our second of two, two-week French immersion study sessions. We now feel capable of navigating around and staying anywhere in France where little English is spoken.

Thank you, Soline. A bientot!

Jonathan and Terry (US)

I would highly recommend Soline. I had the full immersion experience with great teaching, wonderful outings, first class accommodations and the pleasure of spending time with her family. I found the small town of Volvic to be very historic and interesting. The waters of Volvic are shipped around the world. This was a first class experience.

Ron (US)

I cannot thank Soline and her lovely family enough for creating such wonderful memories for me in Volvic.The fascinating history of the town, the volcano tours, the water story, the food, art and landscape, not to mention my increasing confidence in the French language, all made for a wonderful stay.
The format of teaching French in an immersive setting is to be highly commended. The extra activities that Soline organised, together with her charm, grace and teaching ability, made my whole French immersion experience great value for money.

Charles (Australia)

What an amazing week! If you want to improve your french and break out of your current plateau, do not hesitate to spend at least one week with Soline. As an intermediate french speaker, I am looking for ways to supplement my classic french lessons, and this is a fantastic way to do this. After one week I was speaking with more fluidity and I had a better comprehension of the trickier french grammar points. It’s so nice to practice french in a natural setting… going for a hike on one of the volcanos, visiting a museum and having a drink in Clermond-Ferrand. So many options! There are endless things that you can do, to make your week and busy as you like it to be. Volvic has everything you need and there are some great walks and places to visit right from your front door. Soline prepared some great lunches and her family is very welcoming and warm. The cherry on the top is the accomadation, very nicely styled and very comfortable. You will not regret a second of your stay with Soline.

Nicole (Canada)

En juillet 2023 je suis revenue pour la deuxième fois pour une semaine d’immersion avec Soline. Comme ma première immersion l’année précédente, c’était une excellente expérience. Soline est une excellente instructrice et une hôte formidable. Elle a fait deux randonnées avec moi dans la magnifique région du Puy-de-Dôme . Je recommande fortement d’étudier avec Soline pour améliorer votre français et pour profiter d’une merveilleuse visite de la région.

Caroline (US)

My husband, 11-year old son and 16-year old nephew spent one week with Soline and her family, improving our French language skills and experiencing life in the lovely village of Volvic. This week was the highlight of our three weeks in France. From the moment Soline picked us up at the train station to when she dropped us off for our car rental, she was encouraging and accommodating. In our formal lessons, she was able to accommodate our very different skill levels by using games and activities that were both fun and challenging. The two members of our group who came with a basic knowledge of French and were hesitant to use it at first gained enough confidence that they spoke French for most of the rest of the trip. There were ample opportunities for casual conversation and for us to ask questions about what we were seeing and experiencing around us.

Lunch was always delicious and featured some classic French cuisine, a variety of local ingredients, vegetables from the garden and interesting discussion. Our afternoon activities varied from a walk and swim in a volcano to the Volvic water and stone museums. One afternoon our boys spent the afternoon with Soline’s boys playing sports while Soline took my husband and I shopping for some necessities. Another evening, the boys hung out together eating pizza and watching a movie, while the adults went out to a local restaurant. Our interactions, both formal and informal, made us feel like we were “at home,” and part of the family.

The accommodations – Gîte de la Planche – were roomy, comfortable and very tastefully decorated. The kitchen was well-stocked with every tool we might need. There were laundry facilities, lots of books and games for us to use, and a lovely terrace where we had our evening meals and some lessons.

I cannot more highly recommend this experience: French immersion lessons, afternoon excursions and comfortable accommodations right beside our host.

Sherry, Jo, Marshall and Evan (Canada)