Total Article : 82
About Me:Hi I’m Nadege and I study French at the University of Leeds, and I have just completed my third year abroad in Montpellier studying literature and enjoying the sunshine! I love art; painting and being creative, as well as photography and baking. Travelling is my favourite hobby at the moment; experiencing the French language and culture. I hope you enjoy reading some of my articles!
I realised that I should probably write an article informing you about the city which I was lucky enough to be placed in for my year abroad. There were many choices available for choosing which University to study at on your year abroad in France, and you had to pick a top three. Montpellier Université Paul Valéry was my top choice, with Lyon second and Bordeaux third. I chose Montpellier simply because it was in the South of France, near the beach, and after studying at the University of Leeds, where it always seems to rain, I figured I deserved a bit of sunshine! I have also been lucky enough to be able to travel freely across France during weekends, half terms and holidays and I have therefore visited Lyon and Bordeaux which I both really like and I could picture myself studying in those cities as well! What I particularly like about Bordeaux and Lyon is that the cities are a lot bigger, with many more sites to visit, and they both have huge town centres, with large high-streets. Bordeaux’s high-street is actually famously known for being one of the longest shopping streets in Europe; the road Saint-Catherine being 1.2km long, for pedestrians only. Additionally, Bordeaux and Lyon both have rivers running through, which I find is a great way to break up a city, and is the perfect location to relax.
However, Montpellier, which is nevertheless a large city; the 8th largest in France, has a completely different set-up. There is no typical shopping street, no huge river (apart from the river Lez which is more tucked away) and the main centre is simply a square called Place de la Comédie. Consequently, at first it was a bit tricky knowing where to visit and what there is to do, because there are no big tourist sites where you could spend the day. Having said this, I have grown to love Montpellier for its relaxing atmostphere. I could sit outside all day at the bars and restaurants people-watching, soaking up the sun! Also, its beautiful and narrow streets have bunting and lanterns hanging up, particularly in the old part of the town. Even after having nearly spent 10 months here, there are still so many streets, shops and restaurants I have not visited yet. What I love is wandering aimlessly around the streets, and it is then that you come across squares tucked away, and small boutiques you could never find anywhere else.
If I were to list the main attractions in Montpellier, they would be; the main square – Place de la Comédie, Le Parc Zoologique (a free zoo), la Porte de Peyrou (an imitation of the Arc de Triomphe), the Montpellier Cathedral, the aquarium, an ice-skating rink, the Jardin des plantes (gardens) and recently I have discovered that not far away is the Lac le Crès (a lake which you can sunbathe at or even swim in if you fancy it!).
Being the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, as well as of the Hérault department, Montpellier is not a typical city, but instead you learn to love what Montpellier is all about; individual cafés, shops, bars and restaurants. You will get lost wandering the narrow cobble stone streets, and if you can picture what a typical French street looks like; with balconies, elegant designs, lanterns and beautiful architecture, you will not be disappointed. Montpellier is deifinitely a charming holiday destination! To add to this, the beach is just a short tram ride away! And you are able to sunbathe between the months of May – October!
IMAGE 1 - personal image, near the Place de la Comédie
IMAGE 2 - personal image, the Porte de Peyrou