It’s comical that the Brits love learning French above any other language, whilst claiming to be not so keen about its country of origin. And there’s no love lost on the part of the French either. They don’t claim to be GB’s biggest fans. The underwhelm is mutual.

In fact, Wikipedia sums up the so-called ‘historic rivalry’ between the English and French, referencing how “French author José-Alain Fralon characterised the relationship between the countries by describing the British as “our most dear enemies”. 

Thankfully, English:French relations are blissfully amicable here at La Academia. Our phenomenal French teacher Elisabeth Diamantidis makes learning French une promenade dans le parc for our fabulous students every year.  And it was great to grab Elisabeth for a quick chat recently, about her enduring histoire d’amour with her homeland.


Q. It’s so nice to catch up with you, Elisabeth. So, let’s go right back to the beginning. Whereabouts in France did you grow up?

A. When I was a little girl, I used to live in Haute Savoie, just at the foot of the Mont Blanc. Then I moved to Lyon, which is located just a couple of hours from the sea and from the mountains… I mean, it’s such a beautiful country. You have so many varied landscapes. Just happiness!

One of my favourite things still is to spend a morning in an outdoor market, enjoying the smells of fruits, flowers, spices, absorbing the colours, and soaking in the sun.


Q. You’re painting a very attractive picture. Do you still manage to get back to France much these days?

A. Not as much as I would like during the last few years, the same as everybody else who has been unable to travel. But I’m going back this summer! And I can’t wait.


Q. So, what are you most looking forward to?

A. Where do I start? I like the spontaneity and l’art de vivre à la française. I think people like to take their time and enjoy the little things.

For example, on Sundays, the supermarkets and shops are closed, which is, in fact, quite nice.  It’s time that’s specifically allocated for relaxation and enjoyment. It’s the same for lunch breaks. In primary schools, the children have between an hour and a half to two hours to eat.


Q. Moving on to the French language, what impact has it had on your career?

A. I’ve been teaching French for a few years now, here in the UK, and also to people from all over the world, thanks to online lessons, (even before it became the norm during the pandemic pandemic).

Helping people learning French and getting something from the experience, it’s so enriching. And I also enjoy meeting so many people from different cultures and languages. Each student is unique, not only because of their original country, but because of their experience, needs… It’s rewarding to adjust the teaching and find special solutions for each one.

My goal is really to do my best and to hand-hold my students and make sure learning French always has a positive impact on their lives.


Q. And outside of the school, what do you enjoy doing when you’ve got time to yourself?

A. Nowadays my favourite thing to do in my free time is to play with my son. And I like to read, I like cinema, the theatre, and also gardening. There’s something very relaxing to have your hands in the soil!


At La Academia, Elisabeth and her colleagues in the French Department are committed to providing you with the very best experience of learning French your way. Get in touch for more details about public courses and 1:1 tutoring options.

France–United Kingdom relations, Wikipedia