In your search for a place for a French immersion, you have probably thought of Montpellier and the South of France. Montpellier is known for having many different sides to its personality… young, vibrant, open, friendly…now add athletic to your picture! Did you know that in 2012, Montpellier was awarded the title “ville la plus sportive de France”? This was the first time this prize had been given by the French Academie des Sports to a community. As a well-deserved break from your French course, give your new-found language skills a workout while taking in a sporting event in one of the most sports oriented cities in Europe.
“I came here at the age of 15, from Versailles, and I immediately felt the potential impact that sports can have”, says the footballer Bruno Carotti, who wore the colors of MHSC (Montpellier Herault Sports Club) for fourteen years before becoming its sporting director. “There is a culture of sports that is found in the levels of society, health and values, and offers both a validation and recognition. This is what allows this unique mix between the elite level of sport and the base.”
“Sports is not considered a luxury, but a necessity.” says a former world champion handball player Joel Abati.”
Sport attraction you can enjoy during you French immersion in Montpellier
One of the most attended events is the FISE World Montpellier (International Extreme Sports Festival).
The month of May brings more than 500,000 energetic fans and death defying athletes together for the always interesting athletic event. The largest annual freestyle sports competition in Europe features rollerblading, skating, BMX, mountain biking, and wakeboarding amongst its events. You can even challenge yourself to try a new sport with the free introductory lessons that include surfing, bodyboarding, or stand-up paddle board. Energetic music provided by DJs, a big sports village offering equipment and cool street-wear, and so much more.
Here is a list some of the favorite sports teams in Montpellier. Not only can you learn French in Montpellier, you can also discover a new favorite sports team!!
b) Montpellier Herault Sports Club (MHSC)
MHSC is a team known for cultivating young unknown players – many from the local football clubs around Montpellier. There is a strong and well-developed football community in Herault. MHSC won the League 1 title in the season 2011-12. The League 1 season runs from August to May. Most of the matches are on weekends – perfect break from your French course. If you go to a match in Montpellier, you will experience a true French immersion! The energy, the fan base that is known for its obsession for the team, all give an incredible glimpse of the Montpellier sport culture.
MHSC plays at the Stade de la Mosson on Avenue Heidelberg.
Tram: Line 1 direction Mosson. Stop: Stade de la Mosson.
Or Line 3 direction Juvignac. Stop – Mosson
c) Montpellier Herault Rugby (MHR)
If you are in the south of France to learn French in Montpellier, there is no better way to take in the culture of the south of France than by going to a rugby match. Rugby rules! If you are from North America, Rugby may be a completely foreign sport to you, but it is gaining popularity around the world.
The season for the MHR runs from August to May.
You can spice up your French course by learning some of the French vocabulary for the game before taking in a match.
MHR plays at the Altar Stadium
500 Avenue de Vanieres
Tram 2: Direction Sabines-St. Jean de Vedas Stop : Sabines. Either walk the remaining 800 metres to the stdium or there are shuttles that will take you directly there.
d) Montpellier Handball (MHB)
Here is a sport that is very popular in France, but not widely followed in other parts of the world…France’s men’s handball team is highly regarded as the best national team in the history of the sport. They won the World Championship in 2016 and a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic games held in Rio. Six of the players chosen for the national team in Rio were from the MHB team. MHB is the most titled handball team in France with 39 national and international titles to their record.
If you decide to take in one of these fast paced and exciting matches during your French immersion, you can find the basics of the game at this link. The players may only use their hands, but can only hold the ball for three seconds at a time. They cannot touch the ball with their feet and can only take three steps if they are holding the ball. It is known to be a very physical game and seems like a mix between basketball and soccer.
MHB plays at the Palais des Sports René Bougnol
1000 Avenue du Val de Montferrand
e) Montpellier Vipers Ice Hockey Team
The Vipers are a fairly recently organized hockey team that plays in the Division 2 league in France.
Their season runs from September to April.
The Vipers play at the ice rink Vegapolis at Odysseum
1 Place de France
Tram line 1 direction Odysseum stop: Place de France
No matter what sport you are into, you will find it during your French immersion in Montpellier. Sports are truly an integral part of the culture and life of Montpellier. In addition to our list of sporting events, you will discover many more. Enjoy your French language course and support the local sport teams – a great experience is waiting for you in Montpellier!