Many students at the EasyFrench School in Montpellier are eager to get to know the wines of the region while they are here learning French in France and I wanted to share some of the great places I have found here during my language stay.
L’Acolyte – Beautiful Wine Down the Road from the French School in Montpellier
I’ll start with a wine bar that I had heard a few of the students in my DALF preparation class describing as their favourite hangout when they want to relax after a week of grafting on their intensive French immersion courses. L’Acolyte is a wine bar right up the road from the Easy French language school. It’s also right next door to the musée Fabre and the Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle so there are plenty of things you can tie in with this visit. You could go for a lovely day of culture and see the exhibits at the Fabre and then with all your new art any history appreciation you can head of to this wine bar and then afterwards have a lovely little walk around the park in the warm southern French night air. Hmmmmmmmm.
The few people on my intensive French language course who have made this a regular destination while they have been learning French in Montpellier praise its simplicity in particular. You will receive a warm welcome and help choosing from the easy to understand wine selection. I often find when I go to a wine bar in France the huge amount of choice is over-whelming. Here the choice is wide but it’s very easy to decide and you can tell the staff the kind of thing you are interested in or normally drink and they will give you a few to decide from that will fit the bill. You can also go in with what you want to eat in mind and then they will recommend the best choices at a range of prices based on that. They have a range of food available in the normal set-up; starters, mains etc. but the portions are not huge and quite expensive. The little taster platters however a good value for money and do really accentuate the flavour of whatever it is you are drinking so this is where they are strongest in my opinion.
With a couple of friends splitting the price of a bottle with some fine cured meats or fish you will really give your taste buds a thrill for not that much money and as with so many of the places in Montpellier the staff really make it what it is.
Les Caves de Trinque Fourgasse – An Institution For Southern French Wine
This company have set up two locations around Montpellier so it’s clear that they have become a bit of a staple for the lovers of fine food and wine here. There is a North and south restaurant and each has its’ own style with a shared undertone. Unless you are placed with a French host family to the north of the city the southern version is probably going to be more attractive to you. The south restaurant is closer to the city centre and easier to get to by public transport from the Easy French School residence, also it’s close to the river so it can be paired with a lovely walk before or after. I recommend doing it before because I imagine you will find it hard to do any physical exertion of any kind after wards.
This place really has a wonderful atmosphere. One of the walls is completely lined with oak shelves and showcases many, but not all of the incredible wines they have available, and the wines are incredible. They are a very well-established business, focus hard on the wines of the region and seem have a lot of exclusive relationships with producers. If you are interested in their wines you can even sign up to their delivery service for people who live in Montpellier and have any of their wines delivered for free the same day.
At the restaurant, however you can have a little tasting at one of their specialist horse-shoe shaped bars and decide on a wine you love. After that you have to get one of the sharing platters, they are amazing quality and huge! Particularly the meat selection platters are exquisite and the generous portion will leave you feeling well satisfied.
If you are looking to get a real sense of the wine culture in southern France while you are learning French in Montpellier either of these places will be just what you are looking for. With some restraint, you don’t have to spend that much and you will remember it for a long time so I recommend you take advantage whilst you are studying at the Easy French Language School and head on over with some friends from your immersion course.