If you are looking for a place to take an intensive French course for adults with access to lots of cool places then you have to consider the Easy French Language School in Montpellier. Montpellier is a fantastic city and attracts lots of visitors throughout the year but it is also well within reach of some other excellent places that are quite diverse. In this article I will be writing about just a couple of them. Quite a contrast as well as we will be discussing the modern city of Toulouse and the medieval fortress town of Carcassonne. The variety of places that you can easily visit for a day or a weekend is one of the many factors that make Montpellier such an amazing place to do a French language stay.
Enjoy a French Forstress and Sip Some French Wine
Carcassonne is a picture perfect fortified town in the Aude department of the Occitanie region. It lies between historic trade routes that linked the seas and mountain ranges in days gone by. It was very strategically important and became the rope in a tug of war between the old powers, notably the romans and then the Visigoths (a Germanic tribe of nomads) in the 5th century who technically founded the city. Many of the later rulers added to the fortifications which lead to the structure you can see today. The centre piece is the medieval fortress ‘Cité de Carcassonne’ which was restored in the 19th century and made the grade to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourism is a huge part of their economy so they are ready and waiting to show you an amazing time.
The main attraction is the architecture and it is pretty awe inspiring. It’s very other worldly and simply exploring the streets soaking up the towers, turrets and temples will leave a lasting impression. There are several private mansions and religious buildings where you can lose yourself in the ornate work but there is also an ancient market which has apparently been going since the 18th century.
Guided tours are frequent and competitively priced and can often be combined with another big part of the local economy; wine. Many companies include wine tastings on their programs but you can also go to the vineyards in the surrounding areas very easily. There are tons of companies that provide English speaking tours and tastings but as you are coming to learn French I suggested being brave and going for the native option. A brilliant way to see the area is with a river cruise along the Canal du Midi which is itself UNESCO-listed. Sunset is a whole new level and a great way to see out a day in this historic area.
Discover ‘La Ville Rose’ During Your French Immersion Stay
Toulouse is something quite different. It is the capital of the department of Haute-Garonne in the region of Occitanie and the fourth largest city in France. It lies on the river Garonne and is home to over 460,000 inhabitants making it a similar size to Montpellier. Contrasting with the taste of history you get from Carcassonne you get to see into the future in Toulouse. In terms of style it’s not exactly futuristic but the area is the centre of the European aerospace industry. Many companies at the edge of this field are based here and also there is the Toulouse Space Centre which is the largest of its kind in Europe. You can get involved at the ‘Cité de l’Espace’ which is an innovative museum that even has a shuttle flight simulator if you want to play astronaut.
The architecture is truly unique here with widespread use of pink terracotta bricks which has endowed the city with the nickname ‘la Ville Rose’ (The pink city). The city also houses 2 UNESCO sites: the ‘Canal du Midi’ and the ‘Basilica of St. Sernin’. The narrow streets in the centre make it a lovely city to walk around in the pleasant pinkish haze and the old part of town is truly gorgeous. There are several authentic markets where you can peruse local produce and speaking of food you have to try a cassoulet from Toulouse as it’s the regions speciality.
If you are lucky enough to be around in May or June the Toulouse International Art Festival is a month long event that is known around the world. The art scene here is thriving and is nicely balanced between contemporary and traditional. If you want to take in some of the older artworks the ‘Musée des Augustins’ has a cool mixture of Renaissance and Gothic pieces.
The Garonne is an important part of the feel of Toulouse and the green banks are great places to picnic or to pick up something from one of the many vendors that settle there. Cheap river cruises are available here too. The large student population has had a similar impact here as it has in Montpellier making the nightlife fun and interesting with a particularly strong following of jazz, techno and rock.
This polar pair of places is so easily accessible for those studying French in Montpellier and close enough that you can go for a day at the weekend between your language immersion courses. They add to the long list of reasons as to why you should consider Montpellier as your choice for where to study French in France.