Learn French at Centre St-Louis

Update: It looks like the government got their website back up. Here is a list of places you can learn French for next to nothing. Most of the info is still in French but there's a bit of info for Centre St-Louis in English here.

Perhaps you've heard of a wonderful place called Centre St-Louis where you can learn French for free. Perhaps you've tried looking them up in the phone book or Googling some combination of "learn french montreal centre st-louis saint louis". I know I have and I'm guessing I'm not the only one frustrated at the lack of information out there. So for those of you who are interested in French lessons, here is the deal.

Centre St-Louis is located at 4285 Drolet, Montreal on the 3rd floor. They can be contacted by phone at 596-5800. This phone is seldom answered and acts more as a voice mailbox than anything else. In case you're trying to learn French because you don't speak French (hmm...), the first message basically says, "If you know the extension of the person you are trying to reach, enter it now. Otherwise press '0' to reach someone immediately." Press '0' to get to the second message, which will be given once in French and again in English. Don't be shy about leaving them a message; they will get back to you.

As far as I know, you must be a Canadian citizen (or perhaps a permanent resident) to take lessons at Centre St-Louis. This is because the lessons are very heavily subsidized by the government. They cost $10 for one course which pays for the photocopied course book. There is an additional $40 administration fee when you sign up for your first course. The courses are two months long, starting at the beginning of each odd month. There are three options in terms of time: 8:30-12:45, 8:30-15:45, and 18:00-22:15. The classes are every weekday except for the evening courses which are only Monday-Thursday.

Registration for a course generally goes on for two days a couple of weeks before the course starts. I've heard the courses can fill up, so I would advise showing up at the beginning of the registration period. It takes about half an hour, mostly for paperwork but also for a brief interview to determine what level you'll start at. As of the time of writing this I haven't taken a course there yet (my first one starts in just a few days though). From what I've heard the classes are exclusively in French and are mostly conversational.