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Culture

Modern Art Gallery to Visit During Your French Language Stay in Montpellier

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Modern Art Gallery to Visit During Your French Language Stay in Montpellier

I have been saying to myself that I want to visit more art galleries for a while now but still haven’t made much effort to do so. I figured that whilst I’m here learning French in Montpellier it’s the perfect opportunity to kick start a habit of going and seeing some real art and not just through the screen of my laptop. Also I want to learn more about French culture and the art scene seems extremely vibrant to me in Montpellier. So one of the girls at the ILA French language school and I decided to visit one. We had looked online and there were lots of galleries that looked pretty traditional but there was one that stood out. It had a more urban, cartoony style in most of the paintings we could see on the website and it got us interested so we decided to go check it out.

Who is we? The other part of the ‘we’ for today was Sveta a Russian girl from Moscow who was on the same French immersion course as me, unusually we were in both the standard and the business French courses so we had been spending a lot of time together recently and grown quite close. I’m also eyeing up Russian as a language I might like to learn in the future so I was fascinated by all her insight into their culture. Also as you can imagine, students studying French in Montpellier spend a lot of time discussing languages in general so what she had to say about the differences between Russian, French and English had me absolutely hooked.

Two French Students in the AD Gallery in Montpellier

After our French immersion courses had finished Sveta and I strolled down to the gallery which was the opposite side of town from the language school. The building itself has a completely glass front so as we approached we could already see some of the artwork on display. The most striking thing was the colours. The current exhibition was mostly from one artist who we would meet later. He definitely favoured working with bright, almost florescent colours. We went in and there was a guy sat behind a desk at the end of the hall beaming at us and welcomed us in. He was lovely and so friendly but he did that thing I have often experienced since coming to learn French in France and it is where you only say ‘Bonjour’ and the native you are talking to immediately switches to English! It makes you wonder just how bad your accent it. I was with a resilient Russian though and she just plough on with the French and the sweet man read our signals and the rest of the conversation was in French so we had plenty of opportunity to practice what we had been learning on our immersion course.

We had a look round and absorbed the art, it was quite captivating and as we had the place to ourselves it was lovely to just lose yourself in the paintings. They were extremely full paintings with lots of different cartoony characters scattered over the canvas. After an initial walk round we were interested int he artists style so went to speak to the receptionist again to find out some details. Sveta and I were discussing whether the artist had any influence from the nickelodeon Cartoon Network because something in the works just reminded us both of it. This was when the receptionist told us they were actually his paintings, and he made no mention of nickelodeon at all.

It was great to speak to the actual artist of the paintings we had just been enjoying and discussing unaware that the artist was sitting just round the corner. So we had made the connection the French art scene even more directly than we had hoped and got to practice what we had learnt on our language immersion course with a professional artist. It was a successful day and we were looking forward to talking about it in our French classes the next day.