I suppose I should update again really; things have moved rather fast! And I've been rather busy. Little things like exams, working (although I have now quit my job), and going on holiday.
So, my place on the language course was confirmed towards the end of May. The course is from the 21st of August until the 1st of September, so two weeks of intensive French. Although I originally applied to stay in the newer accommodation (with ensuite), it turns out that you have to pay for that by the month not the night, so I would have to move out for the 1st of September. Not so good. So now I'm staying in the traditional residences (sink in the room, shared shower, toilet and kitchen).
The letter confirming my place at UJF arrived early in June - I think before the tenth, though I can't now remember for sure. It had all the information about accommodation, and a form to fill in to apply for it. So I have applied for the newer residences again, and hopefully will get a room there, but we will see. Term apparently starts "from" the 1st of September (no specific date there ... that's helpful), and I had to email Peter Fletcher (not too sure what his role or job title is, but he's very helpful and replies promptly to emails) to ask when the academic year ends. Answer: I should count on leaving France in mid or late June.
So today I booked my flights and coach. I'm leaving on August 20th, on the 0220 coach; there is a flight from Stansted to Grenoble at 0655. There appears to only be one flight a day, and it's with RyanAir. No, I'm not thrilled at the idea of flying with a budget airline (or of flying at all, actually - sorry, Earth). However, taking the trains would be impractical - half an hour to get to Norwich, two hours to get to London, nearly three hours to get to Paris, and then two hours from Paris to Grenoble. And four changes, with luggage ... hm, no. Cheaper to go by air too.