During my language stay in France, I promised myself that I would take every opportunity to meet and be around other French students. The first step that I took was to find a neighborhood café where I could meet local university students. I was so fortunate to quickly make a varied and interesting group of French friends from the local universities. I was invited to dinners and parties at their apartments as well as family gatherings. My status as a foreigner who spoke French opened many doors and the other students were so patient with my accent and school way of speaking French. The experiences were so important to my French immersion stay and pushed my French to a higher level faster. I gained confidence as well as an invaluable source for the slang and way that local students speak. In my French courses, I was able to share my experiences with other students and I would often invite other students to join our group. The more the merrier!!
If there is one activity that defines life in France, it would be meeting up with friends in a café. Soon after you arrive for your language stay in Montpellier, you will quickly discover that after school everyone heads for their favorite spot to hang out and relax. To really push yourself to profit from your French immersion, search out the cafes that the Montpellier university students flock to. You will enjoy watching how they hang out and approach the café life.
My all-time top suggestion for students during their language stay in Montpellier would be to search out a café that suits your interests and make it your go-to place. It takes no time at all to become a real regular. You will see the same faces there and if you go out of your way to meet locals, you will soon have new friends to practice your new found vocabulary from your French course. The confidence you find will help push you further in your French immersion courses.
The cafés preferred by the local university students tend to be off in the nooks and crannies of old Montpellier and away from the touristy areas. Not only does this give the cafés a local air, but you will find that the prices to be much more reasonable.
Whether you are up for a coffee or a coca, glass of the house wine or a beer, the atmosphere and lively energy that is brought by the students will help you to connect with the culture of Montpellier and give you a richer experience during your language stay in Montpellier.
To help you kick start your French immersion adventure, here is a list of some of the cafes preferred by high school and university students who know Montpellier well.
Café des Arts
la place castéllane
3 rue saint guilhem
Situated in the heart of the historic old center of Montpellier in Place Castéllane, Café des Arts has outdoor seating shaded by the typical Mediterranean pine trees in addition to two air conditioned rooms. The varied offerings of food and drinks as well as the nonstop service attracts the university students.
Café de la Panacee
14 rue de l’école de la pharmacie
Located in the hip Centre de Culture Contemporaine, a great all around café… meet to study, get a drink, or liven up your weekend nights. Cool ambiance and well loved by Lycée and university students alike. The architecture is a work of art in itself.
Le Petit Nice
1 Place Jean Jaures
Place Jean Jaures is one of the most popular places for students to hang. Just up from Place Comedie, it is much less touristy and less expensive. Fabulous people watching and super convenient to meet up with friends. It is THE after school place to be. Students prefer it because it is NOT in place Comedie and has more locals.
5 Place Jean Jaures
Another choice in Place Jean Jaures. A lively bar scene popular on the weekends especially. Maybe a great topic of conversation in your French immersion courses would be how many ways do you know to order a drink?
Just to the left of the Prefecture on a tiny island place, Esprit Vin is known for its wines – affordable and good quality. Off in its own little world, you feel miles away from the noise and crowds of Montpellier. The servers are approachable and willing to help you with choosing your new favorite wine. A great place to learn and practice and add to the vocabulary that you learned in your French courses.
Café JO (Café Joseph)
3 Place Jean Jaures
Another favorite for terrace sitting and people watching on Place Jean Jaures. Food is not their strong point, but a great place to sit and visit with your new French friends!
Have you chosen your newest home away from home from the list above? What are you waiting for? As soon as you land in France for your language stay in Montpellier, claim a table and meet your new best French friends! Who knows… you may find that a French course in café life is just what you needed to up your language skills.