Please say someone lives in Amboise!

I realised my lifetime dream and bought an old house in Amboise six months ago. I am sort of enjoying doing it up but am very isolated. Not in crisis, I can always sell and move back to the UK but will give it a full year. My main problem is that my French is very basic. I have just paid £300 for a seven week online Course because my local language school charges 500 euros for two weeks. Can one really learn French in 20 lessons? I need a translator. Any out there?

Hello Pamela,

I am Bernadette, Bernie and I hope you have managed to sort out a few things by now. I just wanted you to know that I am a French native person who got back to living in France last year after 25 years spent in Britain at living, teaching and studying. Today, I am an auto-entrepreneur in Tarn et Garonne and I work on line mostly through Skype and emails. I could help you with improving your fluency in French online, I teach English as a Foreign Language the same way, from where you live and I can of course help you with any translation that you would need. You can contact me on my mobile: 0675593642 or by email : I wish you good luck for the future and a very good year in 2016. Bernie.x

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Hi we live in the next town, Montrichard 41400 (30 mins leisurely drive) and I (usually) attend the Sunday Market in Amboise. MY WIFE TEACHES FRENCH (and English to French people)! Sorry she is not here, she is out teaching right now! Please have a look at my market stall page.

In truth, I am worried that I can't get my pizza trailer out of the garden at the moment, so I am not sure if I can do the markets while the rain persists and my garden is a mud bath (pizza trailer will get stuck in the mud - I need a 4x4, but I have a Vaux Vivaro!)

As far as I can see, we are the closest to you. Get in touch. Anthony & Sharon. 09 62 22 14 03.

I live in Romorantin, about an hour away, if you'd like to meet up. If you need any help with translations, I'll be happy to help (I've been in France for 27 years!)

I have a French friend who speaks better English than I do, who does not live very far from you. I am ill at the moment and I do not have email connections for her but when I feel well, I'll write and ask her if she'd like an English friend. If she says yes, I 'll get back to you but it might not be until the end of the month or early January.

Hi Pamela,

A lot of good advice, here.

Another pleasant way of training to French language is to watch French movies with subtitles on DVD. First, you watch the movie with English subtitles : you make sure to understand the story and you pay attention to the dialogues. Then, you watch it again (the next day, for example) with French subtitles (if available) or without looking at the English subtitles. This exercise helps you understand "what these people are f...g saying !" ;) ...and how they say it.
Inconvenience : sometimes, the characters don't articulate or have an accent. Some movies are more useful than others.

But, as Elaine suggested, the best training is to practice with real people.

I'd be glad to help, as a neighbor would, but I don't live in Tours anymore. So, we wouldn't be able to meet very often. Anyway, I can give you my telephone number and e-mail address in case you need an explanation or a short translation, to the extent that I'm capable of doing so.

Also, I think you should be aware that it takes time to brake the natural resistance of the mind to a cultural (and language) change. Generally, when you've been abroad for several months, you get to a point where you simply can't stand anything. Because everything is difficult in your the everyday life and the people, the customs and the whole country look stupid and unbearable to you. This is when you'll feel the urge to leave and go back to where things are simply normal/usual. But this is also the point you need to go past for things to go better. :)

Bon courage !

To support your language learning and boost your vocabulary try an app called Memrise. Its free in the lower levels. You do online tasks every day, reading, writing and listening.

Hi Pamela, I too live in indre, 122k,s south of you in the brenne parc regional. Love it here …my french is basic but getting stronger since I joined a choir and my delightful french neighbours have decided to support my language efforts…we meet for coffee every week to translate a song or paper. This week they gave me a children’s book to read. I also use duolingo and attend a weekly class at a nearby media centre/library which is only €3 and is a drop in so check with your local mairie what’s available. I also go zumba (not really my thing more a yoga girl)but I meet local ladies and its fun…many ways to learn …post it tickets on objects around the house is my next move… Bonne chance -)

Watch French tv only you will be surprised how much you will pick up.

There is an association 'La Cle' in our little town which helps french and foreigners with literacy and learning french generally. It is run using volunteers who come and work with students one to one or in pairs. They use it is run from a meeting room in the Mairie and is often pretty lively but makes a good way to meet local people. Your Mairie should have a list of all associations in the commune. Annual membership is a symbolic 5€ and a few packets of biscuits. They use workbooks from Cle International which are great for building vocab from beginner to advanced level - in fact I am going to pull mine out again to bring myself up to speed with current spoken french ;))

Have you tried Duolingo or Lingvist? I like them both and have learned a great deal of French from them although they're not a replacement for having a native speaker correct your pronunciation but they're free!

I can only second Andrew's comment: Give it a try and be realistic, it may take longer than 6-12 months to fully integrate. From personal experience I recall that it was more a 2 year thing for me to feel i could speak well in english when I relocated in Australia. The first year can be the 'toughest' and visiting english online forums ain't the best way forward ;) Try to go in some french forums, force yourself to speak/write in french, take a big immersion, any means at your disposal...

Good luck :)

I think you need to be realistic about the time it takes to learn French, then again it also depends what level you aim to achieve. Many people never get to true fluency after years of trying, others manage it in a relatively short time - a few years. I'm talking about adults, kids thrown into school here become bilingual in a matter of months but that's a completely different situation to most adult expats. I've been talking English to my kids for 8 and 6 years respectively but they still can't string together a proper sentence because they simply don't need to and always come back at me in French.

Don't hide away and wait for it to happen, try getting involved in local associations, accept that it'll be difficult to begin with but you'll make progress and get to meet people. There are loads of on-line resources for free, you don't need to pay a fortune but many people find that nothing beats face to face tuition.

Courage et bonne chance ! ;-)

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Hello Karen - hope this gets to you - apparently SFN has a few Karen Phillips! Please accept my apologies for tardiness and thank you so much for replying. When I get back to Amboise I will get in touch. I was so depressed in France I came back to the UK. However, absence makes the heart and all that, I am going to give it another go in May. Thank you again. Good wishes pamela

Bonjour Roger. Thank you for your kind words. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying. I was so depressed in France I returned to the UK but, absence making the heart grow fonder as they say, I am returning in May to give it another go. I am, as you suggested, watching French DVDs. I bought Etre et Avoir – loved it. The Well Digger’s Daughter – loved it. La Gloire de Mon Pere – did not love it. Still to watch Le Chateau de ma mere, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources. RE the best training is to practice with real people. Hard to overcome not shyness, self-consciousness. Best wishes and thank you again Pamela

Hello Elaine. Apologies for tardiness. Thank you so much for replying.I have looked at memrise. Thank you. It looks good. Will have a go. I did Duolingo but was not impressed. I am now doing Comme Une Francaise online. I was so depressed in France I came back to the UK. However, absence makes the heart and all that I am going to give it another go in May. Thank you again and best wishes Pamela

Hello Elaine. Apologies for tardiness. Thank you so much for replying. I was so depressed in France I came back to the UK. However, absence makes the heart and all that, am going back to give it another go in May. I would love to join a choir and an art class. Will find out if there are any in Amboise. I bought some children’s books too such as Tin Tin and Enid Blyton in translation. Staff at my local Mairie is to put it mildly awful, no help there. Thank you again. Best wishes Pamela

Hello John. Thank you for your reply. Apologies for tardiness. I was so depressed in France I came back to the UK. However, absence makes the heart and all that I am going to give it another go in May. I will gird my loins, contact the ghastly Orange and, as you suggest, get French TV. Besat wishes and thanks again Pamela

Hello Helen as you will see from my other replies I am back to the UK. I have heard of 'La Cle' but there is not one near me. There is AVF for French newcomers which is not of much help. In fact there is NO help here for foreigners. My Mairie might indeed have a list of all associations in the commune but if it does it is keeping it close to its chest. They are absolutely AWFUL. Hostile even. Thanks for kind word best wishes Pamela

Hello Grant - apologies for latenes of my thanks. I tried Duolingo but am not impressed. I had not heard of Lingvist but will give it a go. it looks good. Best wishes