Covid has been so hard for us all, putting everything on hold and disrupting genuine human connection as well as our everyday lives in ways we would have never even began to imagine or take seriously only a year ago. I know you’ve suffered, I know you’re still suffering, et je sais exactement how you feel. Because I feel the same. One of the greatest joys de ma vie is to conceive, create, organize, and host my French Immersion Courses. And now it’s all gone. At least temporarily, mais pour combien de temps?
Online? Ce n’est pas possible!
Whenever I lament over this, les gens me disent : “Just do it online!” to which je réponds : “Mais non, tu ne comprends pas! Je ne peux pas! My immersions are all about being here in France! It’s all about physically being, eating, laughing together, walking everywhere, exploring, visiting places, tasting wine, going to French people’s homes, making chocolate bars, crafting organic soap, walking across Parisian parks with a naturopath pointing out the properties of all the native medicinal plants, hiking in the forest, playing accordion with professional musicians, baking macarons, picking des fruits et des légumes dans une ferme bio, etc. and all of this in French! It’s hands-on, it’s tactile, it’s physical! How could we possibly get anywhere near what we had, which truly was astounding! I can’t tell you how many people told me they had had the best week of their entire lives, some of us even cry when we finally have to say au revoir (I always do!), it’s really something else! How could I possibly do it justice online?” (If you can’t quite picture how awesome they were in the past and will be again dans le futur, this link will take you through the last French Immersion Course I was able to host en France.)
This has been ma triste réponse ever since I had to rush back from Seattle to Paris le 21 mars 2020 parce que les aéroports parisiens were about to close down. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been totally bummed out about it. Beyond disappointed. Super déçue, not to mention, angry, bitter, depressed, discouraged, you name it. As I know you are too. Almost all the 2020 French Immersion Courses had to be postponed to 2021 and who knows, they might have to be postponed yet another year? Another six months? We know normal life should resume at some point mais quand? Personne ne sait. Personne n’a de réponse.
The journey from impossible to possible
La vérité est que je sais que je dois trouver une solution depuis mars 2020 but I felt too distraught to even begin to think about la solution parfaite. Voici comment les choses se sont déroulées dans ma tête:
Mars 2020 : Je rentre à Paris et je tente d’ignorer le problème en me laissant fasciner par les rues, les places, les parcs de Paris complètement vides. Vision apocalyptique dotée d’une étrange beauté. Wanna see?
Avril et mai 2020 : Toutes les universités en France sont fermées, je dois donc passer mes examens et écrire mes huit dissertations de philosophie à la maison. Needless to say, that kept mon esprit occupied jusqu’à la fin du mois de mai.
Juin et juillet 2020 : Paris est une ville très chère et les conséquences financières de covid sur French Truly no longer allows me to live dans la capitale, especially since I don’t know how long it will last. Je dois donc déménager, mais pour aller où? Je pars à la découverte de la région parisienne et tombe amoureuse du premier appartement que je visite… à Chartres… the very apartment from which I am writing this blog post aujourd’hui ha!
Août 2020 : Je quitte Paris et m’installe temporairement chez ma mère à Vienne, dans le sud de Lyon. I’m having the worst time and luck with my stupid bank le Crédit Lyonnais whose incompetence almost made me lose mon appartement! After being tired of spending almost every day on the phone avec ces idiots, je décide d’essayer une nouvelle banque, ma nouvelle banque adorée, le Crédit Mutuel, who approve mon dossier in one day! Un miracle! Hallelujah!
Septembre et octobre 2020 : Just because the bank says oui doesn’t mean it’s over. L’expérience avec le notaire n’est pas sans difficultés mais finalement je signe le contrat de vente le 9 octobre et j’emménage à Chartres une semaine plus tard.
Bien sûr, entre mars et maintenant, I continued studying philosophy, writing my book, teaching my private students, creating my blog posts… but when it came to the wretched question “How are you adapting French Truly to this new temporary covid world Virginie?” les réponses n’étaient jamais claires, jamais optimistes, jamais productives, toujours “plus tard, plus tard, I can’t think of this right now. I’ll work on it when I’m finally settled in my new home.”
And now what?
Well, guess what?! Me voilà installée dans ma nouvelle maison, dans mon nouveau chez moi, dans ma nouvelle vie, which means the wretched question a besoin d’une réponse! I owed it to my self and I owed it to you. So I sat down at my desk feeling scared but déterminée, quand soudainement, un ange m’a soufflé une idée de génie… how about contacting the wonderful business coach Kaya Singer and ask her if we can work together again? I first met Kaya back in 2011 when I lived in Seattle and she lived in Portland. Mes amis let me tell you, if you love French Truly, you should definitely thank her because she made it happen! She kicked my butt and pushed me out of my comfort zones like no one else. I followed her every advice, I did everything she said, I worked my (kicked) butt off, et le 1er juin 2013 not only French Truly was born but also super healthy & popular from day 1.
Online French Immersion Courses… à Chartres
Like you, I so wish we could just do this in person like we used to. I went through my feeling-sorry-for-myself phase and am still disappointed for all of us, yet I am now looking for solutions and things WE CAN DO RIGHT NOW. Le futur? We don’t know. Le présent? We know. So instead of focusing on what I can’t do (making me feel both depressed and angry) I am now determined to focus on what I can do, what WE can do together. And I promise you that I’m going to do my best to bring you into the magic of my new home. Of course the format will have to be different…
What’s the new format?
When covid is over, you’ll be joining me ici en France pour une semaine complète comme avant. But in the meantime, we can’t exactly spend a whole week glued to our computer screens! So here’s what we are going to do :
-Create a series of 4 modules
-Spread out over 4 week-ends
-Each module will last between 2.5 to 3 hours
-Each module will concentrate on one particular topic directly linked to Chartres, and for each topic a special guest will join us to represent it.
Here are some topics I want to cover:
La cathédrale – Chartres is the home of an internationally famous cathedral that people come to visit from all over the world.
La restauration – Chartres est une petite ville très touristique and therefore counts about 100 restaurants. I will choose one and introduce you to le propriétaire.
Le vitrail – Stained glass is a major activité artistique à Chartres. Let us explore together one of the prestigious ateliers du vitrail and meet les artisans.
L’agriculture biologique – Organic farmers sont de plus en plus populaires dans la région de Chartres and I’d love for you to meet them!
La littérature – La librairie de Chartres se trouve dans un bâtiment de la Renaissance often visited by famous writers from all over the world.
La pâtisserie – Mmm Chartres n’est pas idéale if you’re on a diet parce qu’il y a des pâtisseries et des chocolateries très chic et appétissantes partout! We even have une petite spécialité chocolatée ici qui s’appelle Mentchikoff. I tried those pour la première fois hier… oh la la c’est délicieux!
L’artisanat – You know I love supporting local artisans and creative small businesses!
Oui, oui, je sais compter so I am fully aware I gave you more than 4 topics here. Mais ce sont toutes mes idées, alors feel free to share your préférées avec moi! I actually have other ideas but let’s begin by exploring these!
What will the modules look like?
I want to follow the general layout I have created for my in person French Immersion Courses because they work really well and all the participants love them.
STEP 1 – We’ll begin with a French class filled with vocabulary, grammar, conjugation, expressions, conversation FOCUSED ON THE TOPIC OF THE DAY so you feel strong and confident with steps 2 & 3.
STEP 2 – Our special guest will join us and present his / her activity, passion, work.
STEP 3 – Conversation + Q & A session between you and our special guest. Of course I’ll be here to help clarify anything that needs clarification and to make sure all participants get an equal share of the conversation.
How many participants?
Just like for my in person French Immersion Courses, I will keep each group small so that every participant has plenty of time and opportunities to practice their French and express themselves, but also so that we can all build a genuine and intimate connection. I guess the beauty of having to meet online right now is that, if you hate wearing a mask as much as I do for all sorts of reasons (so uncomfortable, hard to breath, can’t see people’s face, hard to understand what everyone says because you can’t see their mouths, not to mention, what about my pretty rouges à lèvres going to waste ha?!) online we don’t have to, and we can actually smile at each other!!!
It’s not a substitute
This is not a substitute for in person French Immersion Courses here in France. These will happen in the future mais le problème c’est que personne ne sait quand. So until we can meet in person again, let’s enjoy each other’s company over a few week-ends and practice our French together while discovering amazing Chartrains (that’s what people who live in Chartres are called) and widening our knowledge of the beautiful French culture! Like I said before, I will do my absolute best to make sure we can all have the best possible time together and share the magic of my new adored French home : the dreamy Chartres!
Learn French online with Virginie
Join French Truly’s online school, either by buying the French online course(s) of your choice or by becoming a monthly member. See more details about the membership at the bottom of this page
Each French online course is packed with video & audio files along with written material, to make it as fun, easy, and user friendly as possible for you! Come and learn French online with me!
French online course #1: 600 WORDS
In this course, you will find 15 videos (+ 10 bonus ones) to help & accompany you every step of the way through the course + for each word, each sentence, each expression, each conjugated verb, I have created an audio file of my voice, slow and slightly faster speed. Your French language learning experience has never been so easy, fun, and fruitful. You can learn French online and benefit from the flexibility working at your own pace offers, while having me with you the whole time.
Did you know…
You can converse (speak + understand) in French with only 600 WORDS?
The average French person only uses between 300 & 3,000 WORDS?
This means that if you can master a relatively short list of words, you’ll be able to express yourself like the average French person! Plus you’re much more likely to understand the French when they talk back to you!
This course will teach you…
1- How to speak French
2- How to pronounce French
3- How to make French sentences
4- How to conjugate all the most common French verbs
5- How to polish your results
6- How to self evaluate your French
More info HERE
- It should take you about 30 hours to complete this course, which is made up of 10 lessons
- This course is designed for a beginner / intermediate level. If you are intermediate but feel like you could really reinforce your foundations, you will love it.
- You can join whenever, either by buying the course or by becoming a monthly member giving you access to my French online courses from $10 / month. See more details about the membership at the bottom of this page
Online course # 2: PERFECT PRONUNCIATION
In this course you will find 11 videos + 150 audio files + 92 pages PDF format to help & accompany you every step of the way throughout the course. In some parts of the videos, my face will appear close up and profile so you can easily see how I make these sounds with my mouth. The 150 audio files are composed of the 100 most popular French words and the 50 most common French phrases. They are recordings of my voice, speaking slowly enough so you can easily grasp every syllable. Your French language learning experience has never been so easy, fun, and fruitful. You can learn French online and benefit from the flexibility working at your own pace offers, while having me with you the whole time.
NB: if you are the proud owner of my previous French online course 600 WORDS, don’t worry, this is not a repeat as we are now exploring 1 letter words and up, whereas in 600 WORDS we began at 4 letter words and up.
Combine knowledge with confidence…
For you to be able to have a pleasant and efficient conversation with a French person, one thing is key… can you guess what it is? Confidence! How well do you think you will communicate in French if you don’t feel confident about your accent? If you are scared that people won’t understand you? Or even worse if you think someone might make fun of you? Without a minimum of confidence there is no room for communication. Yet if you feel confident, you can afford to make a few mistakes here and there because people will still understand you. What prevents a conversation from happening isn’t just a lack of knowledge, it’s also a lack of confidence. You need to have both to make it work, not to mention, to make it fun!
This course will teach you…
1- How to pronounce every letter of the alphabet
2- How to pronounce every digraph & trigraph
3- How to make every French sentence flow
4- How to pronounce the 100 most popular French words
5- How to pronounce the 50 most popular French phrases
6- How to avoid the pronunciation mistakes everyone makes
More info HERE
- It should take you about 20 to 2 hours to complete this course, which is made up of 11 lessons
- This course is designed for a beginner level. If you are intermediate but lack confidence when it comes to talking and feel like you could really benefit from focusing on pronunciation, you will love it.
- You can join whenever, either by buying the course or by becoming a monthly member giving you access to my French online courses from $10 / month. See more details about the membership below
Online course # 3: FRENCH DICTÉES
In the FRENCH DICTÉES online course you will find 20 videos + 10 audio files to help & accompany you every step of the way throughout the course. Why 20 videos? Because there are 10 dictées in total, each focusing on one particular topic, and for each dictée I have prepared 2 videos. Let’s say the video focuses on both French past tenses called imparfait & passé composé. The first video will go though the grammar, the conjugation, and all the tips on these two past tenses to help you understand and remember how and when to use them. The second video will be the actual dictée, a short story written by me, describing everyday life situations conveniently packed with imparfait and passé composé verbs! Boom! Efficient! The dictée will also be read by me, slowly first and then a little faster, with a close up on my face so you can more easily recognize the words and copy the shapes I make to improve your own pronunciation.
Become a French language expert
How do you become an expert at anything? By focusing on one thing at a time.
I’ve made sure to categorize and isolate either a verb tense, a verb group, a grammar or vocabulary topic per dictée, so you can effectively focus and interiorize concepts separately, which makes it a lot easier to remember them.
Here’s what you’re going to learn
What grammar & conjugation points will each dictée focus on?
Dictée # 1: Present tense
Dictée # 2: Past tenses – imparfait & passé composé
Dictée # 3: Future tenses – futur proche & futur simple
Dictée # 4: Conditional, imparfait, asking questions
Dictée # 5: Imperative form
Dictée # 6: First group verbs all tenses
Dictée # 7: Second group verbs all tenses
Dictée # 8: Third group verbs all tenses
Dictée # 9: Numbers
Dictée # 10: Prepositions
Each dictée is a short story written by me about practical everyday life situations. This means that not only do you get to work on conjugation & grammar drills, but you also improve your conversational skills at the same time: a magic combination for your next trip to France!
Grow your confidence talking about practical everyday topics
The dictées will refer to common topics that you are very likely to hear or very likely to use to express yourself such as:
-Traveling to France
-Everyday life routines
-How to express your ideas, opinions, and dreams
Two videos per dictée
First video: key grammar and conjugation reminders explained very clearly so you feel prepared and confident entering each dictée.
Second video: the actual dictée. I’ve made sure to categorize and isolate either a verb tense, a verb group, a grammar or vocabulary topic, so you can effectively focus and interiorize concepts separately, which makes it a lot easier to remember them.
And for you challenge lovers over-achievers?
Yes I have prepared something just for you! I have also made 10 audio files, 1 per dictée, so that if you wish to, if you want it extra difficult, if you want to test yourself more deeply, you can solely rely on sound. Indeed there are many occasions in life where we hear a language but we don’t see it: speaking to someone on the phone or listening to the radio for instance.
20 videos? 10 audio files? What else?
This new FRENCH DICTÉES online course also comes with written files with both the French text along with the English translation, so that you can evaluate yourself when you’re done taking notes.
To summarize, you’ll be able to use video, audio, and written material.
Dictées worked for me, they’ll work for you!
Let me tell you, I LOVE dictées because THEY WORK. And clearly you realize this too and that is smart of you. So now let’s see how something as simple as a dictée can truly help you become a little bit French! Your French language learning experience has never been so easy, fun, and fruitful. You can learn French online and benefit from the flexibility working at your own pace offers, while having me with you the whole time.
Become a monthly member!
My goal is to transform your French language learning experience. This is why I’ve decided to offer you a new way to learn French online and gain access to the French Truly Online School! Actually, more than 1 new way, you’ll have 3 plans to choose from so come and learn French online with me!
Bonjour Virginie! You’re a trouper. In spite of all your trials, you still come up with wonderful blogs. How on earth do you travel with that giant valise? I would like
to see you swap it for a handbag.
I asked a lady to name me a French woman poet. She came up with Marguerite de Navarre. Do you have someone more modern?
Merci Malcolm. The giant valise se trouve à l’intérieur de moi 😉 j’ai trouvé ce site qui t’intéressera peut-être? https://femmes-de-lettres.com/category/poetesse-francaise/
Virginie, please pat yourself on the back for coming up with a great idée for an interim solution! Online Immersion sounds like it definitely has potential. Je crois que tous vos sujets seraient intéressants, mais, pour moi, the most interesting topics would be:
– La cathédrale – because the Chartres cathedral isn’t “just another cathedral” – it has some truly unique aspects that I would love to learn more about (such as the two very-different spires)
– Le vitrail – because stained glass is so much a part of the identity of Chartres (it is apparently the stained-glass capital of the world) This could also fulfill one of your other topics, L’artisanat, if you also showcase some local stained-glass artisans.
– La restauration – because who doesn’t love restaurants! Surtout les restaurants locaux dans les villes françaises! Do you suppose this could include a short segment about La pâtisserie – plus précisément le Mentchikoff?
Kathy, you are a genius! Merci pour toutes ces super idées, je les note! Et merci pour the pat on the back aussi 🙂
I was SOOO HAPPY and excited to read about your online idea! I have been so depressed that Covid ruined the immersion course in Pélussin (AND my study abroad this summer in Lyon :(), and it looks unlikely to occur in spring 2021. I’ve been resigned to the fact that I’d have to wait until 2022 to meet you in person and explore your beautiful new village. In the meantime, I think that this sounds like a fabulous idea, and something to look forward to until our trip finally happens:) I love your blog and it has helped me to imagine how fun our future immersion course WILL be. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and industriousness!
I would be happy to learn about any of your suggested topics, but if I had to choose four, I would pick la cathédrale, le vitrail, l’artisanat et la restauration. So excited to hear more!
Merci mille fois Christina pour ton magnifique enthousiasme malgré notre immense frustration à tous! I might indeed swap Pélussin for Chartres… en 2022. Like you I am growing less & less confident about 2021… poop! J’ai bien noté tes préférences mon amie, merci encore! Can’t wait to meet you en personne 🙂
J’adore ton idee d’avoir virtual weekend immersion classes a Chartre! Tu es un
inexhaustible source d’idees creatif !!! C’est merveilleux que je n’ai pas besoin d’attendre to see ta belle ville!!
D’accord, je veux te donner mes tois choix preferes…
Le vitrail: Oh la la, j’adore stained glass! Quand j’ai demenager dans le desert j’ai achete two pieces to bring color and delight a mon porche d’entree 🙂
La cathédrale: J’adorerais apprendre l’histoire, et focusing on this will take me to a nice place dan moi-meme.
La pâtisserie – especially le chocolatée qui s’appelle Mentchikoff car, comme toi, j’adore le chocolate !
Alors, j’aime beaucoup tous tes idees, Virginie. Merci, merci, car maintenant j’ai quelque chose special to look forward to.
Grand bisous !!
Angel Sharon, bonjour! Merci beaucoup pour tes compliments 🙂 j’ai lu une citation d’Albert Einstein qui m’a marquée il y a quelques jours : “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” J’ADORE! Et j’ai bien noté tes préférences aussi! Gros bisous et salut à l’Oregon!
Merci pour ton idée géniale. C’est parfait pour nous surtout ceux qui ont déjà assisté au cours à Seattle. Je me réjouis d’apprendre les sujets : la cathédrale, la végétation bio, le vitrail, l’artisinat et la littérature ta spécialité, bien sûr .
A bientôt !
Myrtle bonjour à toi et comment va la vie en AL en ce moment? Je te remercie pour cette réponse enthousiaste et pour avoir partagé tes préférences avec moi 🙂 mais aussi pour avoir souligné que la littérature était ma spécialité 😉 qu’est-ce que tu lis en ce moment?
C’est une bonne idée, l’immersion virtuel . J’y suis ! J’étais l’animateur de quelques évènements virtuel cet été, par exemple, une retrouvaille de lycée après 50 années. Ils pouvaient être meilleure qu’en direct !
Sujets que j’aimerais beaucoup :
* L’agriculture biologique (et « free-range » et « fair trade ») –
* La littérature –
* L’artisanat –
* Les Evènements Courants (News and Events in France)
Merci, et à bientôt on espère !
Salut Gary! Wow, vraiment!!? Meilleur qu’en personne? De quelle manière, je suis curieuse? 🙂 et j’ai noté tes préférences aussi, merci beaucoup et OUI on espère à très bientôt!