The extra-curriculum activities at ILA
I hope you had such a wonderful weekend as I did!? As part of our entertainment and cultural program, the ILA French language school offers all along the year a weekly attractive activity program in and around Montpellier including a minimum of 4 weekly social or cultural activities, as well as excursions. In my free time I try to participate in as many activities as possible to get to know lots of people and of course the region and culture here in the South of France. The ILA program offers several guided tours of Montpellier, cultural visits to museums and theaters, wine and cheese tasting, social evenings, welcome and farewell get together’s, student parties, language exchange evenings with French students, as well as excursions to UNESCO sites and the highlights of the region (e.g. Avignon, Pont du Gard, Carcassonne, Nîmes, Sète, Camargue, Provence.
Last Saturday, about 45 other ILA French language immersion students from around the world went to Uzes, Avignon and the famous Pont du Gard. I had been looking forward to this excursion for a long time – three wonderful destinations in one trip! At 8:45 we went together from the school to the bus station, where a private bus was waiting for us.
Our first destination was the historic town of Uzes. This town is a geographically in the triangle between the cities of Nimes, Arles and Avignon and is known for its numerous historical legacies and their huge market. The market takes place every Saturday and occupies almost the entire small streets and squares in the city center! With its really typical French flair and many, many stalls, we spent an excellent morning there. I tried many different nougat as well as local cheeses. The market is also a great place to buy souvenirs for friends and family at home.
Then we went by bus to the famous Pont du Gard. This Roman aqueduct is one of the UNESCO World Heritage and one of the best preserved examples of Roman ingenuity. It is more than 2000 years old and indeed the biggest roman viaduct ever built. Today it is a popular tourist attraction and we took advantage of our stay to take pictures and enjoy a picnic by the river in the sunshine.
After the picnic we took the road to our last stop in Avignon. We visited of course the well-known bridge from the song “Pont d’Avignon” and the huge Palais des Papes. Coincidentally, that Saturday the Festival de la Musique in Avignon took place, so there were street musicians everywhere ensuring a vibrant atmosphere. It was already 32° Celsius and time to taste the best ice cream in Avignon. Afterwards we had some free time to explore the city with its many small alleys and art works.
All in all, this was a wonderful day trip! I gained many new impressions of French culture and met many very nice new French language students from around the world. This is a great aspect of the ILA activity program: You always meet like-minded people with whom you often end up spending the rest of the weekend! Some of them even become great friends. I look forward to seeing you at some of the many exciting excursions coming up this summer and autumn at the ILA French immersion school.
Take care and see you soon.