Chatter, coffee and croissants are in abundance on Thursday mornings in Aldwick.
For 90 minutes every week, Chez Moi in Aldwick Road is the venue for a group of residents to come together and learn to speak French, or if they already know it, speak it better.
Member of the group, Colin Crouch, said: “Abilities vary widely, with some of us just having school French, and others coming from their holiday homes across the English Channel, where the friendships they have made with their neighbours have already put them on the road to fluency.
“But there is no hierarchy, no streaming. If you can’t find a word, someone will help out, or in extremity, Nathalie will put down her coffee and, with warmth and wisdom, convince us that it was on the tip of our tongue and that we just had to find it.”
“From 10am-11am, everyone is welcome. We contribute £3.50 each, which surely doesn’t cover the cost of coffee and a croissant fresh from the oven, but no one seems to care.”
The group was created thanks to Nathalie Newton-Young, who along with chef Michael Newton-Young, encourages the members to embrace their French fascination.
With years of culinary history under his belt, Michael and Nathalie settled in Bognor Regis to bring up their three children after marrying in 1992.
In 2015, they chose a sunny spot by Bognor pier to set up coffee house, Coffee Corner, and two years later they took over what had been the Dutch Pancake House in Aldwick, renamed it Chez Moi, and dedicated it to fine French cuisine and fine French wines.
Meanwhile, Nathalie had combined mothering the children with supporting Michael’s enterprises, working with Bognor Regis Rugby Club and fostering the French language.
She holds formal classes in structure, grammar and vocabulary, but Thursday mornings in Chez Moi are just opportunities for chatter, coffee, and one of Michael’s freshly baked croissants.