7 Intensive French Courses in France for Total Cultural Immersion
Intensive French courses in France are probably the best way to learn French effectively and efficiently.
In an intensive course, you could be in the classroom anywhere from three to, say, nine hours per day. This means you’re maximizing your time spent learning French but over a shorter period of time.
Outside the classroom, you’ll be galavanting around France partaking in French culture and making friends with locals and fellow French learners.
Sound doable? Here are the seven best intensive French courses you can attend in France.
1. Institut Linguistique Adenet in Montpellier
Cost: $245 to $356/week, depending on duration chosen
Institut Linguistique Adenet (Linguistic Institute of Adenet) offers standard year-round French courses that allow students to take 20 classes per week.
The official “intensive program,” consisting of 30 classes per week, at 45 minutes per class, is available only in the summer.
This program may be intense, but the staff believes it’s important to balance classroom learning with cultural activities around Montpellier. The wide range of cultural options for students is what makes Institut Linguistique Adenet unique.
You can choose from local wine tastings, visits to historical spots in Montpellier, sporting events and excursions outside city limits.
Montpellier is a vibrant city located in the South of France. It’s a popular area among young people, particularly young professionals.
The city is known for being sunny and full of activities. If you enroll in the summer intensive course, you’re bound to spend plenty of time outside!
And if you want to explore other areas, most of their excursions to nearby cities are moderately priced at $42.
2. LSF French Language School in Montpellier
Cost: $279 to $312/week, depending on duration chosen
The LSF French Language School offers three types of French courses: Essential, Standard and Intensive.
The Intensive course includes 15 group classes of 45 minutes each plus ten group workgroups, also lasting 45 minutes. This means a total of 25 classes and almost 19 hours of class per week.
You’ll study the essential French grammar and vocabulary with an emphasis on oral expression and comprehension. The goal is to help you communicate about everyday topics as well as current affairs and social issues.
Using French media such as videos and radio broadcasts, you’ll discuss and debate with your classmates and teacher to help you develop fluency and fluidity when expressing yourself.
You can choose the number of weeks to attend, or go for a whole semester of 15 or 30 weeks.
This program is also located in the gorgeous Montpellier. LSF places less emphasis on cultural immersion than ILA. However, one perk is that you can attend the school year-round, thus allowing you to experience Montpellier in various seasons.
3. Alpine French School in the French Alps
Cost: $290-$345/week for summer course (3h/day) | $233 (2h/day) or $436-$451 (4h/day) for winter course
Alpine French School has two intensive French programs in the summer and winter. Both programs focus heavily on conversational French and learning how to use the language in real-life situations.
Summer courses include 15 hours of classes, three hours per day for five days a week. With the winter package, you can choose between 10 and 20 hours per week, either two or four hours daily.
The summer course runs during July and August and the winter course is from January to April.
They also run 15-hour French Intensive Courses in June or November, subject to demand.
The French Alps are the ideal location if you have a passion for French and the outdoors. When you aren’t in the classroom, you’ll probably be engaging in some incredible outdoor activities.
In the summer, you can hike, mountain bike, trail run, go white-water rafting and so much more. Winter sports abound, especially skiing and snowboarding. In fact, you can sign up for Alpine’s Learn French and Skiing program, which gives you designated times in the classroom and on the slopes!
4. Institut de Français in the French Riviera
Cost: $3227 for 2 weeks | $4840 for 3 weeks | $6454 for the full 4-week session
Talk about intense! Institut de Français (The French Institute) offers an intensive program with classes for eight and a half hours per day, five days per week.
You can enroll for two to four weeks. The upside of this timetable is that you won’t be in the program long enough to burn out on such an extreme schedule.
But don’t worry, these hours won’t be filled with boring lectures. The school is serious about taking a “Total Approach,” meaning the day is filled with a variety of activities and numerous aspects of the French language.
The programs also include two meals and one snack every school day, plus evening outings and one excursion.
The French Riviera’s great for beach lovers. Yes, you spend 42.5 hours per week studying French, but on weekends, you can relax on gorgeous beaches along the Mediterranean Sea.
This area’s in Southeast France, so you can also spend your free time traveling to Marseille, Nice or Cannes.
5. Centre International d’Antibes in Antibes
Cost: $462 for 1 week | $440/week for 2-4 weeks | $317/week for 5+ weeks
Centre International d’Antibes (The International Center of Antibes) has an intensive program that includes 30 classes per week, each lasting 45 minutes.
Morning courses are in a typical classroom setting and focus on general spoken and written French. Afternoon classes divide students into small groups to work specifically on oral French and comprehension.
These two methods give you the perfect balance of taking in new information and learning, then encouraging you to speak and hone your skills in small groups.
Courses are held year-round and class size is capped at 12 students.
Antibes isn’t a household name among French cities, but it’s actually the second-largest city on the French Riviera. Plenty of gorgeous beaches are at your disposal.
You can catch a train to Cannes, Nice, Italy or Monaco every half-hour. Because you don’t spend as much time in the classroom here as at the Institut de Français, you can spend more time enjoying the beach during the week and taking trains to new locations on weekends.
6. Accord Ecole de Langues in Paris
Cost: From $356/week for Course A | From $523/week for Course E
Accord Ecole de Langues (Agreement School of Languages) in Paris offers five intensive programs. The school refers to them as Courses A through E.
Course A is compromised of 26 lessons per week, Course B is 30 lessons, Course C is 34 lessons, Course D is 38 lessons and Course E is 42 lessons. Each lesson lasts 45 minutes.
Courses A, B and C also offer the Intensive PLUS option, which includes the aforementioned group lessons, plus five to 20 hours of one-on-one sessions.
You can attend for just one week if you want, but there are only certain days you can start. Check the website for each course’s start dates.
What do I really need to say to convince you of how amazing Paris is?
I’ll just say five things: The Eiffel Tower. The Arc of Triumph. Notre Dame Cathedral. Crepes. Pastries.
No, I don’t think I need to say anything else.
7. Alliance Française de Lyon in Lyon
Cost: $554 for 2 weeks | $819/month for 1-2 months | $783/month for 3 months | $726/month for 4+ months
Alliance Française de Lyon (French Alliance of Lyon) offers intensive courses with 20 hours of class per week for learners at the A1 to C1 level.
Classes are offered from 9am to 1pm, but your class schedule will depend on your level and the availability of courses.
Classes are no larger than 18 students, and you’ll get to learn from two different teachers who rotate during the week.
The course helps you acquire the skills described by the CEFR and will get you ready for official certifications. It helps you develop and improve 5 general language skills: listening, reading, writing, speaking and oral interaction.
The school also offers all-inclusive summer packages with the option to stay with a host family or at a hotel.
Lyon is the third-largest city in France, the first two being Paris and Marseille.
The city’s known as the gastronomic capital of the world. You might think the best place to get French cuisine is in Paris—but, nope, it’s Lyon! This city turned me into a foodie during the two months I spent there in college.
What Are the Benefits of Enrolling in an Intensive Course?
- You work language study into your schedule. For one reason or another, you may not have time to take French classes regularly all year. Well, you can study French intensively for one week, one month or more! Work things around your schedule, all while experiencing France.
- You don’t have time to forget material. We’ve all been there: You go to French class in school on Monday, and by Wednesday, you’ve forgotten half the material. When you go to French class five days a week, though, your brain doesn’t have time to lose all that new information.
- You experience immersion. Outside the classroom, all your free time is spent around French people. You go to local restaurants, stay with a host family and see French films in the cinema. Most programs intentionally immerse students in the local culture with organized outings and cultural classes.
- You advance faster. If you study French multiple hours per day, five days a week, you move through material much faster than if you study just an hour or two here and there. The more material you cover, the sooner you can move up to the next level, since you’re using the time more efficiently.
An intensive course can be demanding, but you won’t regret it!
While it may feel intimidating at first, remember that you’ll be attending the course with other students just like you—passionate and dedicated to learning French.
If you’re not quite ready for the intensive route but you still want to study in France, consider learning French in Nice, Lille or Lyon!