During my time learning French in France I have been lucky enough to experience a few of the great festivals that Montpellier has to offer. Most recently I went to the wine festival with Malin a German girl from my French immersion school and it was fantastic, an experience I recommend to anyone considering coming to study French in Montpellier. This week was time for the heart of the city in lights festival ‘Coeur de Ville en lumières’ which was in keeping with the festive spirit but with a slightly more artistic theme to it. It was running from Thursday to Saturday the last week of November so it welcomed in the new month perfectly. If anyone who is also studying French in Montpellier wasn’t catapulted into the festive spirit by the street lights, the wine festival or the Christmas market then the festival of lights will definitely finish the job.
The Festival is an artistic light show that uses projectors, music and other equipment to display sequences onto the historic buildings around the city. Yes buildingsssss, plural. When I first heard about it I assumed it would be a little show in ‘Place de la Comedie’ but while I have been here studying French in Montpellier I have discovered the people here don’t serve things half cooked. The display took place at 11 different sites encircling the centre of town. Whilst I was practicing what I had learnt on my French immersion course by speaking to one of the staff I learnt that a common thing people do is move from site to site. The displays are slightly staggered so it works quite well. It ran until 22:00 each night and if you needed any information you could speak to one of the staff like the woman I was speaking to. You can’t miss them they had massive luminous spheres on sticks strapped to their backs so they can be spotted over the crowds.
Montpellier is Awash with Light So Why Not Enjoy After Your Immersion Course?
Me and a few other students from the French language school decided to go on Saturday night as we had heard a lot about it in our various classes. There were separate displays at the ‘Arc de Triomph’, Peyrou, ‘Cathédrale Saint-Pierre’, ‘Église Saint-Roch’ and which were places we knew well but also fantastic shows on buildings we hadn’t even heard of before. That was another good thing to this wonderful experience it gave us a circular tour of the whole city, introduced us to more and more of the beautiful architecture of Montpellier and generally just gave us a much needed geography lesson.
After we had been to a few of the sites a naturally winner became to emerge. We had started at the Peyrou show was it was right next to the residence for our French language school and where most of us were living so we could just roll out a few minutes before everything started and enjoy the night. So this was quite cool as it was our first point of reference but then we got to the Musée Fabre site and were just blown away. The gorgeous building was one of the biggest site and looked just stunning. We arrived just as another run was kicking off and watched as thousands of people just fell stony silent for the 10 minute sequence and then erupted in cheers and applause after snapping back out of their hypnosis.
We had been expecting this though as Julie my French teacher had said she thought it was the best and always went with her kids but saved it for last as it was a hard act to follow.
An Amazing Evening Experiencing French Culture in Montpellier
After enjoying several of the shows we started to get a little hungry so some of the group headed off to the Christmas market and some headed off to our favourite crepe vendor to get something sweet and chocolaty. When you are here learning French in France it is so worthwhile to get involved in events like this. There are opportunities to practice what you have learnt on your French immersion course and get to know the other students. On top of that it is just incredibly entertaining and gets you very in the festive mood. Before Christmas comes around though there are plenty more classes to enjoy at the language school.