The Cultural Enrichment and Activities programs ensure that whenever students are not in class they have a wide range of opportunities available through which to further immerse themselves in local life and culture. From museum tours to choral concerts, sports and movie-nights, students have multiple options every day to satisfy their creative, intellectual, and gastronomic ambitions. The Activities Directors transform the program sites into laboratories in which students can actively, and safely, engage with their exciting surroundings.
Activities & Sports
Our Activities Directors organize daily outings to concerts, recitals, plays, opera and dance performances, and local film festivals as well as visits to the many local attractions, including parks (where students can picnic), the zoo, and the expansive flea market. All activities are conducted in French.
Montpellier regularly welcomes the end of a stage of the world's greatest bike race, the Tour de France, and hosts a major musical festival, le Festival de Radio France, every year during our stay. Evening activities include a talent show, a quiz night, and regular movie nights and dances, plus a special night out in a restaurant with the Major class.
For physical activity, students can do laps at the Olympic swimming pool in the center of town, take a jog through the Jardin du Peyrou or along the Lez River, or join others for a game of soccer, dodgeball, or volleyball. Other options include a visit to the nearby ice skating rink or a round of pétanque, an ancient game native to the South of France. Our staff also accompany students to the local beaches so that they can enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean climate.
These activities and cultural events enable students to make friends and discover shared interests, all while improving their language skills and becoming more confident in a French-speaking environment. The certainty that they are in a secure and comfortable environment, as well as part of a supportive peer group, encourages our students to take advantage of the new experiences our program provides.
With its big city sophistication and small town feel, Montpellier is an ideal setting in which to get a sense for French life. Every day, guided tours and activities are organized so that students become familiar with their surroundings and they have as many opportunities as possible to practice their French in a variety of contexts. Teachers and guides lead them through the city's maze of winding streets and the picturesque, large open squares and boulevards. Many of these tree-lined squares are centered around distinctive fountains, lending Montpellier its nickname, 'City of 100 Fountains.' Students can enjoy the pleasant cafés and observe public life in a typical Mediterranean town, where the focus is traditionally turned away from the home and into the streets, the parks, and the local markets.
Montpellier's cultural resources are extensive: the Musée Fabre houses one of France's most important public collections of art and welcomes internationally significant exhibitions such as the recent ones on American Impressionism, Gustave Courbet, and Alphonse Mucha; the Musée Languedocien contains treasures of the Languedoc region from prehistory to the present; the Opéra Berlioz is renowned for its acoustics and its national orchestra. Despite the fact that much of the city was destroyed by the Wars of Religion, the striking Saint-Pierre Cathedral dates back to the 14th-century, and a 12th-century crypt has been restored to house the Museum of the City of Montpellier. Other landmarks include two of the original towers from the medieval fortified city, a late 17th-century Arc de Triomphe dedicated to Louis XIV, and an imposing stone aqueduct modeled on the Pont du Gard.
On days with no Minor class, students participate in elective ateliers that they sign up for each week. This provides an additional opportunity to speak French while doing fun things like learning traditional French dances, writing and performing skits, singing French songs, and other creative projects.