What better destination than a city nicknamed “The gifted” to welcome travellers learning French?
Montpellier is a favourite destination because it enchants with its Mediterranean atmosphere, its dynamism, and its artistic and cultural richness. With the oldest faculty of medicine in the world, Montpellier is a metropolis full of life (student life, in particular), softened by the proximity of the sea. Everything is there for a perfect language stay!
4 good reasons to go on a language stay to Montpellier
- The sun and the sea: a safe bet to guarantee good weather and fun for travellers.
- Student life: 115,000 students in 2019 in Montpellier, energy and festive atmosphere guaranteed!
- Cultural richness: from medieval streets to the new district of modern architecture by Ricardo Bofill, there is something for everyone.
- The hinterland of Cévennes: mountain and lake landscapes are breathtaking. An ideal setting for a beautiful hike!
Montpellier: city of history, art and science
Strolling between the large squares and charming alleys
Walking through Montpellier is a real pleasure: from the large squares and esplanades to the charming medieval streets, we cross history through different architectures. Start with the Place de la Comédie, the most popular in Montpellier, and one of the largest pedestrian squares in Europe. There is the Opéra Comédie and the emblem of the city: the Fountain of the Three Graces.
At the end of the day, in the setting sun, visitors will love strolling around Place Royale de Peyrou, with its Triumphal Arch, the monumental statue of Louis XIV and its unobstructed view of the sea and Cévennes.
With our guide, our students and learners will enjoy walking through the medieval district of l’Ecusson. The narrow, arched streets paved with polished white marble are home to chic boutiques and artisans: the ideal place to bring back unique souvenirs! The historic heart is home to well-kept secrets that only guides can reveal. They have access to courtyards, patios, monumental sculpted stone staircases in private mansions and beautiful homes of noble families in Montpellier.
Montpellier, the stronghold of doctors and botanists
The Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier, the oldest University in the world, celebrated its 800th anniversary! There is no shortage of activities and discoveries to satisfy the curiosity of our foreign students and learners! Our guides turn into wizards to introduce them to two spectacular museums:
- The Anatomy Museum has a nickname that speaks for itself: “The Museum of Horrors”. All the quirks and components of the body are there! An unusual and entertaining activity to master the vocabulary of anatomy!
- The medical examination continues at the Atger Museum: in the heart of the Faculty of Medicine, the oldest museum in the city contains an exceptional collection of drawings and prints from the greatest artistic schools in Europe. You can observe the works of Rubens, Van Dick, Tiepolo, Donatello, Carrache and Fragonard… A memorable experience against the backdrop of creaking floors and doors!
- Guaranteed escape at the Botanists’ paradise: the Jardin des Plantes in Montpellier, the oldest in France (1593 !!!) is a sublime and impressive space with its bicentennial trees and rare species.
- Tip for lovers on a trip: it is customary to leave a little message to the lover of your heart in the gnarled trunk of a 16th century Phillyrea Latifolia, which serves as a letterbox …
Montpellier appeals to contemporary art lovers
The Fabre Museum is a must: this splendid 18th century private mansion is one of the largest Fine Arts museums in France and has the largest collection of French paintings outside Paris.
Montpellier is a gold mine in terms of culture and art, especially for the contemporary period. The city is the playground for many world famous architects. Even its trams, which parade like fashion prints, (some of which were designed by Christian Lacroix!) have been described as “the sexiest” trams in the world!
Our partner guides introduce students and learners of French to cultural spaces full of life and creativity, such as:
- Le Carré Saint Anne, an exhibition space housed in a former 19th century church.
- La Panacea, in a former Royal College of Medicine, houses the Centre for Contemporary Culture of the City of Montpellier and a university residence.
- A tour of the Antigone district gives the impression of being in another town, as the architecture is so different! It is partly the work of Ricardo Bofill and it will delight fans of postmodern architecture.
Gastronomic trip in Montpellier : taste the Meditrerranean diet
Discovering local gastronomy is part of any linguistic and cultural stay!
Montpellier’s cuisine is inspired by the Mediterranean Sea and dishes based on fish. So, after a morning of French lessons, it will be good to taste a Brasucade de Moules. This typical and very convivial dish made from shellfish is traditionally cooked over a fire from vine stumps. It should be remembered that the Occitanie region is the leading wine region in the world! Seafood dishes and other fish stews will be accompanied by a little white wine, to be taken in moderation, of course!
Finally, travellers can take a box of Grisettes in their luggage. These little honey and licorice candies have been made in Montpellier since medieval times!
A food tour in the new Halles Laissac will satisfy the greediest visitors: you can even cook fish and meat on site! An ideal moment of sharing to speak French with the locals!
Visit the surroundings of Montpellier
Sports and fun activities on the program!
In a superb landscaped setting, seaside or land side, you will never get bored in the Montpellier region!
Here are some of Vacances Actives’ suggestions:
Take a boat trip
From a marina like Palavas Les Flots or La Grande Motte, our guides accompany our young visitors on a boat trip and to sunbathe on the water!
Take a hike in Cévennes
Objective: Pic Saint-Loup! 20 km north of Montpellier, our team offers a hike to tackle a mountain in the middle of cliffs and vineyards. This is the opportunity to discover a magnificent and protected nature away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Discover the picturesque villages of the hinterland
Not far from there, villages and picturesque places are essential stops: Saint Guilhem le Désert, one of the most beautiful villages in France, the Pont du Diable in the middle of the Gorges, or even Saint Jean de Fos, to make a pottery workshop!
Venturing into Camargue
About fifty kilometres from Montpellier, Camargue is a fascinating destination. Travellers will be able to soak up this enchanting landscape and the family traditions of the herds, these bull and horse farms. A unique spectacle in the heart of the marshes, which certainly marks all minds.
Montpellier, with its unusual museums, its nightlife, its creativity, its cultural dynamism promises beautiful hours of discovery and adventure in the city or in the hinterland. With our French teachers and our overexcited guides, students and learners will undoubtedly leave in true “gifted” in French!