Coming to Montpellier to study an immersive French language course is a great way to improve your French and while the classes are excellent, additional study is crucial to get the absolute most out of your stay. Obviously, the benefits of being in France whilst studying French include the practice in coffee shops, restaurants and public transport. These real-life situations are indispensable for practicing your new found knowledge and language skills. However, taking just an hour out of your day to revise vocabulary, grammar, do your homework or prepare for the next day’s class will help you to improve your French much faster. Here are some of my favorite study spots. And remember, you can always study in a group so you aren’t missing out on any very important socializing!
Montpellier’s Jardin de Plantes
The Jardin de Plantes was founded in 1593 by Henry IV and is very close to the l’Arc de Triumph. This beautiful garden is the ideal place for some peace and provides a beautiful location for studying. Furthermore, thanks to Montpellier’s incredible weather working outside is absolutely possible especially during summer. Although there is no wifi to help support your study you are surrounded by a huge variety of beautiful plants, ranging from cactuses to bamboo. This serene garden is the perfect retreat from your fun and hectic summer French course in France. There are loads of benches and seats to choose from, shady areas and sun traps. Wonderful sculptures and the beautiful architecture of the two main greenhouses provide a nice distraction to look at if the French subjunctive becomes too challenging! The garden has a lovely calm environment and this can be maintained if everyone respects the area.
The Commute to your French Course in France
For the fully immersive experience try to absorb as much French as possible during your language stay in Montpellier. A great opportunity to do this is when you are walking or taking the tram or bus to ILA French language School. Listen to podcasts, radio stations, audio books and documentaries in French. Or make a playlist of your favourite French songs and artists. Music is a great way to pick up a language and will hugely help your listening skills. And when you leave your immersive French course and return to your country, you will have a playlist that will always remind you of your fabulous summer French language course in Montpellier! If you are travelling on the tram then look out for the free newspapers that are provided, reading these will not only improve your French and teach you new vocabulary but also provide an insight into French culture. Keeping up with current affairs and exploring French culture is a super fun way to improve your knowledge of French but also of the whole country.
This second park is another great place to study French. Situated at the heart of Montpellier, a couple of minutes’ walk from the ILA Rue Joffre building and next to the Place de la Comedie, this large green space allows you to live the Montpellier student life. The park is full of students from Montpellier and is the ideal place to hang out with your new international friends after your French language course. The lively and relaxed atmosphere makes it perfect for practicing French, getting to know people and also asking any questions you might have about the French language. Sitting on the grass soaking up the sun, surrounded by other students in Montpellier also allows you to practice your French listening skills as you can hear snatches of people’s conversations. This is an ideal way of improving your colloquial French. The Esplanade also has free public toilets and water fountains so you can spend the whole afternoon in the centre of Montpellier. There also several parakeets! Listen out for their distinctive call and the flashes of bright green among the tree branches.
Learn French in Coffee Shops
Montpellier is full of wonderful coffee shops, simply turn down one of the side streets and you are bound to stumble on one. Many have gorgeous interiors and the perfect chill vibe to productively get some revision done. Of course, there is also amazing coffee to keep you fueled! From rich espressos to fancy hot chocolates to delicious iced drinks you are never short of a choice. Whatever you would like is available. Look out for the iconic French pastries to snack on whilst you study. Many of these cafes have wifi and there is both seating indoors and outdoors depending on your preference. The coffee shop also provides a perfect opportunity to bring your French into practical use, order your drink, ask the barista a question, perhaps what is there most popular drink? Or their personal recommendation? For a cosy chilled out afternoon look out for a coffee shop – you might become a regular!
French Immersion with your Host Family
Another great place to study French at home is with in your host family’s house. This is a great environment for focusing and any questions you might have you can ask your host family. Practicing French by chatting to your host family is also another great way to get daily French language practice and will help to create a truly immersive stay. Your host family might also have lots of French cultural materials that you can study, for example books, newspapers, leaflets and TV shows that they can recommend to you so you can practice your French even more.