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The Best Pub Quiz for Students Learning French in Montpellier

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The Best Pub Quiz for Students Learning French in Montpellier

The idea is simple, do a quiz in a pub. Since I started learning French in Montpellier I have noticed that this simple idea has not quite taken hold here as it has in my home country. I was surprised when I was talking to the other students at the ILA French Immersion School that it wasn’t very well known in other countries either. Back home almost every pub or bar has one a week and there are near professional teams that will hop from pub to pub throughout the week to put the average person to shame with their knowledge of any subject. When I heard that they ran a weekly one at the ‘Shakespeare’ pub that is just down the road from my French language school it was exciting news. So in order to educate my international friends on an institution of British culture I invited some of them on my immersion course and we cobble together a fairly big team. We met outside our French language school and headed of towards the pub.

My Team of Internationals Studying French in Montpellier

So who is we? There was a huge group of us for the quiz. I’d underestimated how interested people were going to be in it. For the sake of brevity I’ll just list names nationalities and which French courses the students are doing at the language school. Mille; Danish, B1. Robert; Belgian B1. Gille; Belgian B1. Maude; Dutch, Business French. Hanah; Swedish, DELF preparation. Malin; German, DELF Preparation. Dominque; Swiss, French Intensive immersion course. I was hoping with such a big group of intelligent people we stood a chance of not losing. That wasn’t all though, we had some French cavalry. The host family I stayed with previously was a mother and son and the son came to join us with several of his friends. So we had an enormous team.

We had to get there a bit early as we had been tipped off that the pub fills up really quick towards the start time and that the serious teams had someone camp out in the pub for a while in order to save the tables. We got there an hour in advance and there were no tables! We were saved however, we had the opportunity to practice our French and asked a couple of the people if they were staying for the quiz and they said no so they kindly said they would tell us when they are leaving so we could swoop in.

So the quiz started up and we were welcomed and the organiser told us it was the 16th birthday of the ‘Shakespeare’ pub and that being the case the theme would be all about William Shakespeare himself or the pub.

There were 4 rounds: Pictures, music, film and general knowledge. The picture round wasn’t very easy and the other French students and I struggled but the film and music rounds gave us some more hope. The pictures were combinations of images from which you could derive the name of a play or some relation to 1616 the official year that Shakespeare died. This was another recurring theme; all the parts had some relation to the number 1616, 160 or 16 etc. There were a few science questions relation to the period table involving these numbers. We luckily had a couple of chemistry graduates at the table who were desperately trying to remember their third year theses.

Many of the teams struggled because they didn’t have the starting point of knowing when Shakespeare died. I was quite lucky as last year was the 400th anniversary and lots of things were happening commemorating the date. I’d actually gone to see quite a few plays that year as it was my last year of the under 25 discount at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, Shakespeare’s resting place. I didn’t tell anyone that though, I just let them believe I was just clever, shhhhhhh.

The results were announced and we had 4th! So we were pretty pleased with ourselves although it must be said we had the biggest team by a long way. It seemed the other people from the French language school had a really good time and that they had learned a bit in the process which is the beauty of the pub quiz. I felt like the rest of my time learning French in France would involve a weekly visit to this pub with the other students at the language immersion school.