If you are considering coming to learn French in France you are probably going to want to get the absolute most out of your French language immersion stay. So you are probably going to want to venture out from wherever you choose to see the surrounding areas. After all you’re not just taking an intensive French course for adults but learning about France as a country and the different cultures within it too. This is why you should choose Montpellier as the destination of your French language stay. It is situated in an ideal position in the south of France. The city itself has so much to explore but when you combine that with the places you can reach easily in the region you can start to see why this city is one of the best places to learn French in France. Here I will be focusing on the towns closest to Montpellier.
Rustic French Towns You Can Visit During Your French Immersion Stay
There are two towns northeast of Montpellier that are super accessible and are rich with culture and that distinct French style. There are a lot of beautiful things to be seen and a lot of interesting stuff to be learnt so for French language students who want to get a deeper understanding of the country they are a great place to start.
First of all Nîmes. The roman foundations of this town provide some of beautiful architecture and ruins for people to enjoy and the classic French influence adds to this to create a place that feels like a walk through history. There is a huge roman arena as well as ancient swimming baths and temples. For those who are taking an intensive French course in Montpellier this trip through the ages is so accessible, it’s just a 30 minute train ride away and they come and go regularly. Which is a good thing as there is a lot to see so getting a couple of trips in will give you a chance to really get to know the town. The town is beautiful just to explore and most people just spend a lot of time strolling around and venturing down the stone streets. There are wonderful markets to be explored too where you can buy incredible quality food and there are many local specialities like the olives; of which they have an unbelievable range of choice. There is a wonderful museum the ‘Musée du Vieux Nimes’ which has a section dedicated to a fabric the town is very famous for. It was a hard wearing fabric that manual workers wore a lot but some time in the 20th century it became an essential element of our wardrobes; you probably know it as denim.
If you are doing your French language stay in May you are one of the lucky ones. The ‘Feria Pentecost’ festival is a wonderful event full of art and culture and in this setting it truly is a spectacle. The roman arena will be filled with various events throughout including ancient roman games where you can dress up as a citizen of the ancient empire. The pinnacle of the sights though has to be the Pont du Gard; an enormous viaduct which the romans built and you will probably have seen in travel magazines or on postcards etc. and it’s not far from the town and transport is easy to arrange.
Next up is Avignon nestled on the banks of the Rhone river. This town has an intense medieval feel. It enjoyed an almost unlimited supply of wealth when it was capital of the Christian faith in the 14th century and the popes of the time weren’t lacking in gold or taste. The place is full to the brim with gorgeous architecture. A highlight is the ‘Palais des Papes’ which is a UNESCO heritage site but it’s just one of many including the beautiful bridge which is a lot older than some of the other buildings. It’s not just old stuff here though and there are some cool contemporary art spaces. The wine producing power house of Châteauneuf-du-pape is very close to the town too so if you’re a wine lover you can lose yourself in the blooming vineyards and sip some of the countries’ finest varieties.
Bike tours are an amazing way to see this area and you can get a taste of the town and the countryside but if you want to travel for free there is a regular ferry service you can use and relax as you drift down the Rhone.
So there you have a taste of just two of the amazing places you have right at your feet if you come to do a French immersion stay in Montpellier. You can enjoy the city life during your language studies and hop on a train back in time to either of these historic towns whenever you want. It’s a great way to get a deeper sense of this amazing region and adds to the reasons why you should come study French in Montpellier.