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How to choose the right accommodation for a language stay in France?

destinations tips | organizing trips
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It is not easy to choose the right accommodation for a language study holiday, with the different accommodation options, and the multiple offers. Each traveller profile has its priorities and its mode of travel.  Comfort, immersion, sociability, economy, duration, alone or in a group… so many criteria which influence the choice of accommodation.

Here is a very useful article in which your specialist travel agent Vacances Actives Linguistiques gives you the keys to choosing the roof that suits you!

The most immersive language stay accommodation: the host family

The best option for language immersion

château fort Blandy-les-Tours

Nothing like living with a French family to accelerate one’s learning of Molière’s language! Accommodation in a host family is the preferred option to soak up the language of everyday life, habits and customs of the natives, from morning to night.

It is the principle of  language immersion that is applied: its aim is to recreate the conditions for learning a mother tongue. As soon as he gets up, the learning traveller is conditioned in a French-speaking environment. No more mental translation reflexes (“I think in English, I translate into French”): he thinks directly in French and spontaneously adapts his oral expression by mobilizing the vocabulary at his disposal. It is an excellent exercise to gain confidence and acquire good language reflexes in French. 

What does accommodation with a host family involve?

A host family for foreign travellers must be a reliable partner, selected according to many criteria: safety, comfort, hygiene but also availability and friendship!

All the recruitment criteria for host families are detailed on our dedicated page.

chateau-vaux-le-vicomte-dome
chateau-vaux-le-vicomte-dome

A family generally accommodates 2 or 3 travellers depending on the size of their home. These are often parents whose children have left the family home and left their room free. Travellers therefore have one bed per person, with 2 or 3 beds per room.

For adults, families also offer single rooms, as they are keen to maintain the privacy and comfort of older travellers, at a slightly higher cost.

The family is required to provide breakfast and dinner at least throughout the week. These moments of sharing are privileged opportunities for travellers to exchange views and talk about everyday life with native French people. In immersion, they can discover the habits of life, the French customs (social, gastronomic) and the idiomatic expressions of the locals! 

Accommodation for young or adult travellers, and long-term stays

Language accommodation with a host family is the best option for young people and adults who want efficient and rapid learning. Language immersion is the best solution to improve the expression and oral comprehension of the French language. What is more, the bonds with the host family can become lasting: an excellent way to maintain long-term quality contact with French-speaking people. 

This accommodation solution is certainly not the most economical, compared to a youth hostel for example. But for an adult as for a child, this option guarantees a unique personal enrichment. It is also suitable for language or cultural long-term stays: families undertake to welcome travellers sometimes for several weeks in a row.

The most comfortable and independent language study holiday accommodation: the hotel

An accommodation rather geared towards adult travellers

As an adult traveller, it is natural to desire a minimum of freedom and independence in meal times, outings, etc. . . This is why the hotel option seems more suitable for adults wishing to have complete freedom of movement and choice in their schedule. This accommodation solution also offers the privacy and tranquillity sought by people travelling in a group. Everyone returns to their hotel after an active and busy day spent with a group of learners and guides.

Comfort and independence above all

In language study trips, hotel accommodation can be booked in single or double, twin or classic rooms, half-board or single breakfast included. Everyone is therefore autonomous and free to manage meals and outing times as they wish.

It is important to choose the right hotel also according to its geographical location in relation to city centres, places of visit and outings, to limit the duration of transport and the obstacles to social life. 

The Vacances Actives Linguistiques team works primarily with 3 or 4 star hotel service providers, whose quality of service is checked regularly. 

The hotel: A higher cost of accommodation

When choosing hotel accommodation, you must take into account the costs that this implies, i.e. a rate 20 to 30% higher compared to accommodation with a host family, for example.  

This housing solution is therefore much more suitable for an adult, more affluent, clientele. 

However, while hotel accommodation offers maximum freedom, it is not the most optimal for learning the language. By being cut off from the group of travellers and teachers, the learner returns to his world, and breaks with the language immersion of the day. It is a rest for the brain but also a loss of opportunity to be in permanent interaction with French speakers. It is then up to him to motivate himself to create a social bond with the natives and spontaneously speak the French language outside of the courses and cultural activities organized with the group. 

The most economical accommodation: the youth hostel

The cheapest solution

Here is an accommodation solution that perfectly suits small budgets ! Hostels are designed to accommodate groups of travellers in dormitories with shared bathrooms and toilets. This solution is ideal for school groups or students for example, both for short and long trips.

Sharing accommodation, sharing cultures

The youth hostel is the perfect example of a sharing solution, because they are open to the world by welcoming travellers from all over the world. This is an opportunity for residents to meet new cultures. By speaking French or any other language, it is an opportunity to exchange and share unusual cultural and social experiences. The hostel becomes a melting pot.  

However, sharing does not mean discomfort. It is necessary to verify that the youth hostels (as selected by VAL) guarantee quality in terms of equipment, central geographical location, and accommodation capacity. For example, it is preferable that shared rooms do not exceed 6 beds. 

A more comfortable alternative: the hotel residence

Accommodation in a hotel residence is a judicious alternative for groups of young college or high school students. But this accommodation is intended for a specific clientele of travellers, school groups or students. The facilities are generally perfectly suited to the needs of young foreign travellers, where they find their bearings like on campus! To be able to benefit from such accommodation, it is better to call on a travel agent who will have forged partnerships with ad hoc structures and institutions.

Choosing the right accommodation for a language trip is essential: it even guarantees a successful stay! Each traveller profile has an adapted accommodation, according to his priorities. Travelling at a lower cost or devoting your budget to activities and outings? Focus on comfort and freedom? Aim for 100% immersion and the supervision of a host family?

The Vacances Actives Linguistiques team remains your best advisor to organize your French as a Foreign Language stay from departure to arrival!

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