Are you considering doing a French language home stay or a residential French intensive course for adults? I hope you are, this is one of the most enriching things you can do and will open up so many doors to you. If you opt to take a DELF exam or an immersion course you have a chance to seriously upgrade your CV and the personal benefits are wonderful. When choosing somewhere to do your French immersion stay it can seem like there is a lot of choice but I want to describe a brilliant quality of coming to the Easy French language School in Montpellier. The position of the city makes it ideal for weekend trips to many beautiful and interesting places and I will highlight a couple of them.
France’s Second Biggest City Just A Few Hours From Your Language School
A soaring powerhouse of Maritime history and multiculturalism lies just an hour and a half to the east; Marseille. France’s second biggest city was founded around 600 B.C by Greek mariners who laid down roots in what is now known as the ‘Vieux Port’. It exchanged hands to the Romans for a time and became a part of France in the 15th century. When the revolution came the people of Marseille welcomed and supported it. They sent 500 soldiers into the cold of the north to defend the capital and as they marched towards death or glory they belted out a rather intense and patriotic chant. You have probably heard it; it’s called ‘La Marseillaise’ and now serves as the national anthem. In 1830 France occupied Algeria and since then migration from north Africa has been common place.
Now this booming, dynamic city is home to over 850,000 people. So it lacks the intimacy and effortless to travel that Montpellier has but that’s what makes it great for weekend visits. There are many iconic places to visit; the most obvious of which is the ‘Basillique Notre Dame de la Garde’ which is perched right at the highest point of the city. You can absorb this beautiful building with a backdrop of a 360 degree view of the city. The basilica was built in the 19th century in a Romano-Byzantine style and is just a 1km walk from the ‘Vieux Port’. The port itself is a big tourist attraction, the commercial port was transferred further along the coast so now it has a very picturesque look and any of the many restaurants and cafés make a good spot for dinner with a sunset view over the Mediterranean. Also nestled here is a museum focusing on the different civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean. The MuCEM is just one of a huge variety of museums and galleries that Marseille holds. So you can learn more than just French you can learn about French and world history, culture and art. The ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’ provides an in depth look into classical art and the ‘Musée d’Art Contemporain’ showcases the modern side of things. There are institutions focusing of African art, archaeology and all things cultural. There is so much to see that will enhance your French studies.
Chateau d’If is also an extraordinary sight, the historic prison island featured in ‘The Count of Montecristo’ by Alexander Dumas. Also mentioned in the novel was the seaside district of ‘Les Catalans’ where the heroine of the story lived. The name was birthed by the arrival of several Catalonian fishermen who arrived in the 17th century.
It’s Not Just France That’s Available To You During Your Language Stay in Montpellier
Speaking of Catalan, another thing that makes Montpellier an amazing place to learn French is that it puts you within a reasonable distance of the capital of this region; Barcelona. Imagine you have access to so many wonderful places in France but you are also just a 3 hour journey from this cultural titan. Home to 1.5 million people it is almost twice the size of Marseille and a weekend trip here between your French studies is very doable. You can explore the unique language, culture and rich artistic heritage.
The architecture is a striking contrast with gothic wonders shadowed by modernist skyscrapers. You can enjoy the incredibly original buildings by Antoni Gaudi including his masterpiece ‘La Sagrada Familia’ which is visited by 2 million tourists every year.
If the marvellous museums of Marseille perked your interest the institutions of Barcelona will engrain it. The ‘Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya’ is a highlight and you also can visit the Columbus monument dedicated to the discoverer of the new world.
Both of these great cities are world renowned for their seafood so if this is your bag both should be on your essential visit list. Combine them with the fantastic fresh fish and ‘fruits de mer’ you have right here in Montpellier and you are set to have your eyes rolled.
So there you go, if you come to learn French in Montpellier you not only have this wonderful city to explore during your language studies but 2 incredible places within reach. Don’t just learn French in France; explore the Mediterranean at the same time.