Classes will resume in October but my time is up. I have now done three years at the top level.
Friends and relatives often express surprise when I tell them I go to a French class. “But surely your French is very good now after all these years in France?” they query. Well, yes, my spoken French is pretty good but it never hurts to practise.
And it hasn’t cost me a centime. A two-hour class once a week for a year costs just 45 euros for a local resident, 90 euros for someone not living in the borough and, here was the clincher for me, nothing, zip, 0 euros if you are unemployed. And I am.
I’ve blogged several times about my French classes over the past three years. My first teacher was Francis, an inspired and interesting guy, a retired headmaster. We would ramble on at length about poetry and history and politics. I think some of the younger members of class got slightly bored with this.
He quit after the first year – he had issues with the council and, perhaps, it with him.
For my second and third year my teacher was a woman called Annie, who is also retired. In introducing herself to the class, she informed us she was 61 years old, divorced, no children but has a dog.
Unlike Francis, Annie liked to do lots of written work and grammar. Not as entertaining as Francis but probably more educational.
Annie often asked me if the lessons were too simple for me, which I took as a compliment; the standard in the class varied quite a bit but it’s the top class so there was nowhere else for me to go.
Anyway, last night was the final lesson. The previous week there had been an end-of-year party for all three levels of French classes but I couldn’t attend. After tackling tricky French grammar and the like, Annie decided that for the last half an hour we should drink and make merry. There were only seven of us in all but Annie had thoughtfully brought in wine and orange juice and cakes and biscuits.
The class was very much a united nations affair: Two men – an Englishman and a fellow journalist from Colombia; four women – from Romania, Spain, Algeria and Macedonia. Plus Annie, the French teacher.
The class had dwindled in size over the year from a high of about 15 or so. Other nationalities attending over the year included Italian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Russian etc.
And then it was goodbye bisous from everyone and we all walked out into the night and our separate lives.
I shall miss my weekly Tuesday French class.