Although I have been to nearby Toulouse and Carcassonne in past travels, in 2014, I wanted to see what Montpellier was like. I wanted to try out the French Language school, Accent Francais, which has gotten rave reviews and Montpellier is close to Sete, which is a port town renowned for it’s beauty.
Well, neither Montpellier nor Sete disappointed.
Getting Into Montpellier From The Airport
Depending when you arrive, you might be able to get the shuttle bus from the airport to Place de la Europe. Unfortunately, it does not run frequently and during my trip, I joined three other travellers in a cab to Place de la Europe. The cost was 6 Euros each. It beat waiting an hour for the next shuttle. The tram is relatively cheap (1.5 Euros) and takes you into the heart of the city. I went to Place de la Comedie and took the Number 1 tram with the end point “Mosson”. You buy your ticket from a machine at the stop. Don’t forget to validate it on the tram.
Travelling Into Montpellier From The Train Station
Montpellier’s train station is Montpellier Saint-Roch and it is a major stop coming from all directions in France. It is also located in the south part of the city and only a 5-10 minute walk to Place de la Comedie.
Travelling In Montpellier
Montpellier is a city that is so convenient for walking….everywhere. However, for those who want to take the tram, there are 4 lines and the designs on the trams were created by French fashion designer, Christian Lacroix.
I rented an apartment through HomeAway and it was located in the Place aux Marche des Fleurs, just north (5 minutes) of the Place de la Comedie, the main square of the entire city. The location was great, except for the Friday and Saturday revelers who were boisterous into the early (ie. 4:00 am) morning hours. The apartment was near everything one could want—many boulangeries, a grocery store (Monoprix in Place de la Comedie is only 5 minutes away and has a great grocery section), a market, and many cafes and restaurants.
The language school did not disappoint. While the online test was done back in Toronto, the oral test took place Monday morning at 8:30. After a short orientation about the school, we were placed in appropriate-level classes. There were just 8 other students from all parts of the globe: Africa, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Canada. We had 2 teachers in the morning, from 10:00-1:15 pm and the lessons and activities were enjoyable. Most of the students were taking Accent Francais classes for 2 weeks or more and were staying with families in the area. I was very impressed with this school and would highly rate it to anyone interested in improving their French.
Montpellier is only 20 minutes away by train to Sete, a seaside resort that is picture-perfect canals. A return train ride from Montpellier’s Saint-Roch station is only 12 Euros (discount times) and when you arrive in Sete, it is only a short walk to the centre of town. One of the recommended excursions is a hike up to Mont St-Clair, which offers wonderful panoramic views of Sete and its harbour. I went on a Sunday and the town was quiet but it was also a great time to go. Not too crowded and touristy-busy. I recommend checking out the Paul Valery museum.
When I visited, a Joan Miro exhibit was on display. It is a small museum, however it often has some wonderful, well-known exhibitions. At the end of your visit, I also recommend sitting by one of the canals and sipping on a glass of wine.