In my last article I spoke about how cool the big things about Montpellier were – but it was a lot of fun spending time exploring this amazing city, meeting new people and just generally living like the French!
Exploring the city by walking tour
The first Monday that we had in Montpellier we spent touring the city, taking in the incredible sights of this truly incredible town. The old town has the most amazing architecture, like so many things on this trip – it has to be seen to be believed. My words simply do not do justice to the scenery. Montpellier is just amazing, and the fastest growing city in France for good reason. Enjoy some of my photos from my time here – simply breathtaking.
Tour de France
Its no secret that I love sport – and as luck would have it Montpellier was a stop for La Tour this year. It was an unmissable event – with a small group I ventured out to watch the closing sprints on the evening, followed by the start early the next morning. I was amazed to learn that the cyclists in the peloton can reach speeds of up to 70km/h during sprints – a truly remarkable feat.
Spending time with French locals
While I was in Vietnam I was lucky to meet a few French people living in Montpellier one of them – Lou – was in town while I was studying and I got a chance, once again to spend a couple of evenings out with French people. By now you know how much fun I have with locals, and it is amazing in France, despite our differences in language we are able to communicate and it is a very awesome feeling to be able to speak well enough (or close to) so that I can make friends in a different language. Special props to Lou and her friends for making those nights great!
A night out with our lecturers
One of the best nights I had out in Montpellier was drinking with all of the teachers and a few of the students as well. A special shout out to Romain and Emmanuelle (and Fabian of course) for putting this together, having a few drinks with some really cool people. There were only a few of us students, and mostly lecturers but it was a great night out. Also had a special appearance from a friend Mitch I met back in Poland – a crazy coincidence that he was in Montpellier at the same time.
Montpellier has a booming cultural scene and nothing screams French culture like wine and fine food in the gardens near Place de la Comedie – what a great way to spend the evening, relaxing, good times with friends and enjoying the ambience.
14th of July Fireworks
Another special moment on this trip was being able to celebrate the 14th of July in France. This National Holiday marks the day that the political prisoners were freed from Bastille Prison, and the start of the French revolution. There was a spectacular display of fireworks in the city. Unfortunately upon arriving home we were greeted with the news that there had been a terrible attack in Nice, only 3 hours away – also a sobering reminder of the threats in the world today, and the need to work together to solve them, rather than needlessly tearing countries apart.
Day trip to Carcossone
Carcossonne is about 2 hours south of Montpellier towards Spain, when you get there you are rewarded with one of the most amazing castles I have ever seen, inside the walled fortress is a beautiful city that has origins dating back as far as 3500 BCE with the region gaining significance as a trading place in the 6th century.
The views of the castle, from the castle and atop the walls make it a very worthwhile day trip and the history of the romans in this part of the country tells a fascinating story.
Day trip to St Guilham le Desert
This quaint little town is about as provincial French as it comes – an amazing old city that has not lost any of its charm over the years. With friends, Laura, Grace and Jonathon we ventured out by car (thanks Jonathon) to explore this amazing city, and the beautifully refreshing beaches. Despite forgetting swimming gear this was still one that I could enjoy – it was such a great day.
All in all Montpellier was an amazing highlight of the trip – and one that I am told really helped my French – all that hard work in class really paid off!