Description:Paris People - Interview with Isabelle, owner of French in Paris
Regular users of Guide2Paris will know that we often undertake interviews with people and business owners living in Paris to give a flavour of what it is like to live and work here. Today, we speak to Isabelle, the owner of French in Paris, a company which specialises in bespoke French lessons either in Paris or remotely.
Have you always lived in Paris? If not, what were your reasons for coming?
No, I have not always lived in Paris. I was born not far from Lyon and I came to Paris to study and work.
What made you decide to start your business, French in Paris?
I have always been attracted by foreign cultures. When I was quite young, I was lucky enough to go to England, a country that I adore and where I studied and worked. Back in France and after different professional experiences in private schools, I realised that the courses students were proposed were standardised and that students had to adapt to them. As a result, I quickly decided to create French In Paris so as to offer tailor-made lessons.
How long have you been a French teacher?
I have been teaching for more than 20 years. It is a very enriching and exciting profession.
What services do you provide for people wanting to learn French?
Most of my students are business people. Given their busy schedule, I adapt to their specific requirements, their personality and the aims they have set themselves.
Here are the different tailor-made lessons I offer:
- French conversation
- Lessons at your office or home
- French In Paris (lessons during which I go out with my pupils. We can discover places, go to a café, a market or a museum while speaking French at the same time. These lessons are a very good way of learning in context)
- Spouse or partner program (these lessons adapt to the different situations one can face when living in France)
- Crash courses (for people who want to learn a lot in a minimum of time)
- Skype lessons (if you live far from Paris or if you don't have much availability to attend a face to face lesson)
- Customized phonetic lessons on MP3 (these lessons are made according to each pupil's phonetic problems and then sent via email for you to work by yourself)
- French for children (adapted games and role plays for children)
Can you provide lessons remotely?
I provide lessons on Skype for people living abroad or too busy to have a face to face lesson. I also offer lessons via emails
What are the assets of your courses?
The most important thing is that my lessons are tailor-made and that I adapt to each person I work with. Thus, each lesson is different. Moreover, I also explain my pupils how France functions from an economical, political or intellectual point of view.
Have you had any difficulties with the French administrative system?
The French administrative system is harsh, even for the French. It would need to be more flexible.
Would you do anything differently in hindsight?
No, I wouldn't. I love my work.
What advice would you give others wanting to start a business in Paris?
I would advise them to be patient. The French administration is not easy to deal with and sometimes can be a deterrent.
What advice would you give others thinking of moving to Paris?
I would advise them to learn a little bit of French before coming over and also to read about French culture and cultural codes. They are things that you don't learn in books and, sometimes, they can be tough to experience if you have no first-hand knowledge of them. I would also advise them to find explanations on how to rent/buy a flat/house in France beforehand as it requires a lot of paper work.
What do you like most about living in Paris?
Paris is a beautiful city. It's full of people from all over the world and makes it a real melting pot.
What do you least like about living in Paris?
The fact that there aren't real big parks inside the city like in New York or London.
Describe your experience of living in Paris in 3 words.
Cosmopolitan - Lively - Poetic
Any other comments / advice?
First of all, it is important for people who are looking for a tutor to ensure what their aims are. Even if learning French can prove difficult, never lose hope. The French are very nice people and will be very happy and helpful as soon as they will see you can speak French "un peu"...
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : www.french-in-paris.com
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