Europe, with all its cultural and human wealth, is full of surprises. With France, it could not be different, and perhaps this is one of the reasons why it is today the most visited country in the world, with almost 89 million tourists in 2017. Paris, of course, remains the most visited destination both by tourists and by students who decide to spend a season to learn French, as I did years ago. No doubt this is one of the best ways to get to know a country. But France has much more to offer, and among some of its lesser-known gems we find the city of Montpellier.
Imagine a university town full of young people, with pleasant weather all year round, where the marks of a medieval past in wonderful constructions coexist with a lot of art and modernism, located between green mountains with vineyards and a few kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea. Such is Montpellier, a city in the state of Occitania in the south of France. This city is a perfect place for anyone who wants to learn French and at the same time enjoy life and a quiet but also lively lifestyle with many interesting things to do.
The educational tradition of the city comes from afar, since the University of Montpellier, founded in 1289, is one of the oldest and most respected in the world and is the main creator of the student environment that attracts people of different nationalities. There they studied famous personalities like the writer Francesco Petrarca or the visionary Nostradamus, so well-known by his prophecies.
Along with this university (which in 1968 was divided into 3 universities with different teaching areas), there are several specialized schools in technical and business areas, and many French-speaking private schools, with many years of experience. Among these French schools, the Institut Européen de Français (IEF) receives hundreds of foreign students each year from dozens of different countries. In spite of being a relatively young school – founded in 2002 – it already has international prestige due to the importance it gives to each individual student, as the center of its entire teaching structure, and the support of the school network.
IEF captivates its students mainly for its friendly and familiar environment, which takes advantage of the various leisure and cultural options that Montpellier offers to make everyone who comes out with a good language baggage and also with a multitude of experiences that their students remember forever. Moreover, being part of the TANDEM International language schools network allows IEF to share successful methods and experiences with other language schools worldwide,
Living in Montpellier for studies may be a good idea also because of the lower cost of living compared to Paris. There are round-trip flights from several Brazilian cities for less than 900 euros, lodging from 150 euros per week. Depending on the length of stay, a French course can cost from 120 euros per week. With the advantage of being able to catch a train and get to know Paris while you are studying French.
So if you want to learn French in France and are looking for an alternative to Paris, Montpellier could surely be a great choice.