One place you absolutely have to visit during your French immersion stay in Montpellier is ‘le jardin des plantes’ (botanical gardens). It’s a really lovely place to pass an hour or two, especially if you want to relax in some nature after a day of French classes at the Easy French language school.
Where Is It? Near The Residence For the Easy French Language School
The first thing that makes this a great place to visit with your friends from the Easy French language school is its location. It’s situated right in the heart of the historic centre and practically faces the Arc de triomphe. I went there with a Columbian friend of mine called Marianna who is doing the DALF preparation course, we didn’t have far to go as the gardens are just a 10-minute walk from the language school. So, after our intensive French course in France for adults in the morning we went for a relaxing stroll around this gorgeous garden of greenery.
Marianna has been giving me an insight into the standard and structure of the DALF lessons as I am considering doing it further down the line. I have been just doing the intensive French immersion classes so far and would like to go for the big one and she has been great at preparing me and helping me decide which level I should do.
We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the garden is completely free to go into and is open every day except Mondays. What I didn’t know about the garden is that it is France’s oldest botanical garden and served as a model for the ‘jardin des plantes de Paris’ as well. It was established at the end of the 16th century and it was subsequently added to over the decades.
It is also facing one of the last remaining structures from when Montpellier was surrounded by a wall in the middle ages and there is a park there as well called ‘Square de La Tour des Pins’. So, all in all it’s one of the most beautiful places I found in Montpellier since starting my intensive French course here and a perfect place to wind down after a day of language classes.
The first thing we noticed was that amongst the grand trees and colourful plants were quite a few cats lounging around, they were very friendly and loved a good scratch. We learnt that they were rescued cats who now lived an idyllic life in the garden and acted as pest controllers.
The gardens themselves were really gorgeous and it was informative too. There were many distinct species of tree; some fat, some tall and each one had a placard in front of it which listed the species, the origin and average maximum age. It was great to learn about these historic sentinels that had been towering over my home for learning French for hundreds of years.
The stone structures that had been built were very cool too and were intertwined perfectly with the vegetation to create a very magical looking place. Marianna and I found some great spots to take a few pictures which we were planning to show to the other students at the Easy French Language School in Montpellier and it felt like we were walking through some sort of maze or enchanted forest from a fantasy novel.
Not so magical but still cool was the greenhouse in the far corner which was brimming with cacti from all over the world. It was extremely exotic looking and a few mischievous locals had carved love messages in the hard trunks of some of them. There were several couples sitting on the benches having picnics and chatting and I thought this would be a very romantic place to bring someone.
After we had had our fill of this leafy paradise we made our way back to the exit and felt relaxed and ready for the afternoon. Marianna’s DALF exam preparation was soon to start and I had a fair bit of work for my intensive French course to work on but we felt refreshed and prepared after our tranquil walk through the oldest botanical garden in France. Another addition to the list of what makes Montpellier such a great place to learn French in France.