If you’re coming to learn French in France you are probably going to be leaving your friends behind for the time being and looking to establish to new networks. You will still be able to keep in regular contact with those back home during your French immersion course but you are probably looking to capitalise on this chance to meet native people and people from all over the world. This is so easy in the Montpellier; the best city to learn French in France. Here are some of the many options to give you a helping hand but keep your ear close to the ground because things are always changing and evolving. In this article I will focus on a couple of things you can do to meet people outside of the Easy French Immersion School to develop a strong, fun filled network of locals within Montpellier; an awesome place to learn French in France.
French – English Language Exchanges are Everywhere in Montpellier
This is the most obvious event you just have to check out if you are wanting to connect with natives while you are studying French in France. Montpellier has a particularly high concentration of language exchanges too as it is a university city that attracts students from all over the world so there is a higher demand than in other cities.
These events have various formats that each have their own advantages. For example at the weekly Fitzpatick’s language exchange everyone in the room talks for the first hour in French or English and the second in the other and you’re free to walk around as you please.
The bi-weekly French exchange at the Australian bar is more of a speed dating dynamic; 16 mins with each person, 8 minutes in one language and 8 minutes in the other. This means you get to meet more people so from a networking perspective it’s great and you can always continue the conversation after the event.
There is also one run by the ‘Le Bookshop’ which is a great English language themed bookstore on a historic little street in central Montpellier which I recommend more generally for people trying to learn French in France. Here the attendees normally have a shared passion in reading so it makes for a great central subject to orbit around as you share recommendations, learn about French authors both current and historic and discuss what you are reading now.
There somewhat of a circuit at these events so you will see a lot of the same faces repeatedly which is great as you will get to avoid the trap of continuously having only introductory conversations again and again. Also you can form ties with these people, exchange information and meet up in some other fashion. The great thing about this is that you are in the same position. The people you are talking to are learning English and understand that it can be tricky and talking in a certain way is more understandable and avoiding expressions or things like that is helpful. They have insight into your position and you into theirs.
A brilliantly simple idea for those of us who are here learning French in France. You might want to explore every café Montpellier has to offer and I understand there are so many lovely ones. I do have a recommendation though and that is visit one a little more often than the rest. I think being a regular in a café is a great untapped gem to forging a French connection. First and foremost you can get to know the staff a little who is invariably interested in the people who come to their city. You can practice what you have learnt on your intensive French course whilst ordering and exchange some pleasantries but over time you will get to know them more. I have been recommended many events and clubs by staff at cafés who I have told about my interests.
This leads me on nicely to the fact that promoters of all sorts of different events understand the importance of the café to the French. So where do they head first when they have flyers to try and get into the hands of the masses? That’s right straight into the café where you are stood asking Elsa at French Coffee where she is from originally (Avignon). So this is where the whole having your ear to the ground thing pays off. Keep your eyes and ears open and who knows what new innovative and fun way to meet people is waiting around the corner?
For those taking a French immersion course at the Easy French Language School these simple things are great ways to inject yourself into the beautiful city of Montpellier; the best place to learn French in France!