So, I have been learning French in Montpellier for 6 months now and I have been stomping around trying different cafés all around the city. For me it’s a great way to keep my work-rate up after my French immersion course has finished, if I head home, even with the intention of getting a lot done, I’ll most likely end up taking a nap within 30 minutes of being home. In a café however, with the people working, books all around me and a hot coffee by my side carrying on with my French work seems effortless. I love the café culture in Montpellier and France in general and each one I have been too had its own atmosphere. For the last couple of weeks though I have found it nearly impossible to go anywhere else than ‘Le Gazette Café’ and I would like to tell you why.
First striking thing about the gazette café is that it is huge. As you approach from the outside you can see a little lounge like area full of comfy armchairs and sofas in which happy readers are snuggled engrossed in their books of choice. Then as you enter you will see the main set of tables and chairs on one side and a long line of bar stools on the other side under a high table looking up to some very interesting and quirky modern art. There is an open plan upper level that houses the extensive library and overlooks the stage area. Yes, there is a stage area and a big one for a café; this is where they put on all their events that I discuss in another article. The main collection of tables is neighboured by the open kitchen so you can see all the chefs create the wonderful food right in front of you.
French Cuisine and Wine To Enjoy Whilst You Practice Your French
It’s a unique style that holds on to that café cosiness I love despite being an enormous place. It’s a very attractive interior but the atmosphere is really what brings me in. There is an air of intelligence without the snootiness that often accompanies it, there will undoubtedly be students working away in front of their computers and some obscenely thick books. There will be entrepreneurs and artistic types working on projects alongside jovial groups sipping wine and eating tapas around the little tree in the centre of the room and I love this. I can come to ‘Le Gazette’ when I want to work or when I want to relax.
The things they serve are great and cater to all. You can get a simple coffee for a little over a euro which is what I normally do when cracking on with my work for my French immersion course. Also, they do wine by the glass for a great price too, if you want to step things up a bit though they have a great selection of more complex wines and beers. The tapas platters here are very popular and they are huge! You can get a selection of meats, cheeses, veggies or all of it together and the single plates they do are sophisticated but not stingy. It’s not the cheapest place to eat whilst learning French in Montpellier but it certainly makes for a good reward after a hard week grafting at the French language school. All of the drinks are marked as organic and I have discovered a new term here; locavore, which is used to describe eaters of ingredients from local sources which is another great attribute of Gazette.
This place really has it all and I haven’t even got to the performances and events they put on. Gazette definitely makes you feel like you are in the heart of French culture. The food, the drink, music, atmosphere and people are all wonderful and I’m going to find it hard to find a better café in Montpellier. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from the ILA French Immersion School and has become my fellow students’ and my second home during our language stay in France. Come join us for a glass of wine and a friendly French conversation.