Tag Archives: learning French

Learn French in Montpellier!

This student city in the South of France is one of the country’s best kept secrets. One of the few in the sunny South without a Roman or Greek foundation, Montpellier is the 8th largest city in France and the fastest growing over the past 25 years. Home to the University of Montpellier, one of the oldest in the world, the metropolis also boasts a handful of Grands-Écoles in science and business.

Water Tower, Promenade du Peyrou, jessicasfranglais.com

Water Tower, Promenade du Peyrou, jessicasfranglais.com

Last summer my husband and I vacationed here while attending a wedding and visiting family. We loved walking through the lively medieval streets and finding all kinds of little independent restaurants and bars. There may be a lot of students here, but you won’t be hearing English everywhere like you do in Paris. In Montpellier, most people are French, European or North African.


Les Trois Graces, jessicasfranglais.com

The central area of the city, Place de la Comédie, dates back to 1755. Here you will find la sculpture des Trois Grâces created by Etienne d’Antoine in 1790. This is a great people-watching or meeting place. If you enjoy art, the musée Fabre hosts a vast array of European paintings from the 15th century through the 20th, and also includes sculptures and ceramics.

Place de la Comedie, jessicasfranglais.com

Place de la Comedie, jessicasfranglais.com

If nature is your pleasure, visit the Botanical Gardens, one of the oldest in Europe, created by Henri IV in 1593. If you prefer the beach, you can take a bus to enjoy the warm Mediterranean waters at Carnon Plage, Palavas les Flots or La Grande Motte.

A great way to discover all of this is to come here as a student in a French language program. No matter your age, Montpellier is home to 16 language schools which accommodate all levels and learning styles. Maybe it’s the weather or the laid-back atmosphere, but 15,000 people come to study French here every year! The language schools work in conjunction with the Montpellier Office de Tourisme in order to help visitors and students alike enjoy their stay. Here is a special clip about this:

TV5 Destination Francophonie: Montpellier

Below you will find links to some of the top rated schools as well as a break-down comparison of costs and offerings:

Ecole Klesse


Institut Européen de Français:


LSF Learn French Montpellier


Comparison of Montpellier French Language Schools:


As a former study abroad student myself (I studied in la ville rose, Toulouse, another gem in the South of France) I can’t recommend the experience enough. What better way to dive into the language and culture than to stay in the country itself?

Et vous, where did you study abroad or learn French?

Montpellier Danse! jessicasfranglais.com

Montpellier Danse! jessicasfranglais.com

© Jessica’s Franglais 2015

Passing Down French in the Family: Merci Grand-mère

Evelyn (Evridiki) Pasa, Greek passport photo 1951, 22 years old

Frère Jacques

Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques

Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?

Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines

Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping,

Brother John, brother John?

Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing

Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

This is the first song my grandma taught me when I was a little girl. I memorized the sounds, but I had no idea what I was saying. I grew up in California speaking English with American parents, but my paternal grandparents spoke French. My grandmother was born to Greek parents in Casablanca, Morocco, which was at the time a French colony. I’m sure my grandmother learned this song from her mother, and now she was passing it down to me.

I speak French now, but only because I learned it in high school. My grandparents stopped speaking French with their children (my father and his brothers) early on because the teachers told them it would interfere with their ability to learn English. I can hear the language teachers groaning (including me) because in fact, quite the opposite is true. As we now know, speaking more than one language has many cognitive benefits, including better problem solving and listening skills, an increased ability to focus and delaying the onset of dementia.

Once my grandparents found out I had decided to take French (the only person in my family, by the way) they simultaneously launched into explanations of feminine and masculine articles while perusing through my entire textbook. I was intimidated at first, but I stuck with French throughout all four years of high school, and then college (eventually switching over to French from an English major once I decided to be honest with myself), studying abroad in Toulouse, getting a masters degree in French, living for a year in Paris and finally teaching French to adults and high school students.

la fameuse tarte aux pommes à l'américaine/Grandma's famous apple pie

La fameuse tarte aux pommes à l’américaine/Grandma’s famous apple pie

Each visit to my grandparents inevitably involved making a giant apple pie with apples from the tree in their yard. In between peeling apples for the pie and my grandmother telling her favorite stories about me as a small child running around naked (that one never gets old), my grandparents and I would speak in French and no one else would understand us (well, they might have caught a few words). I think it’s safe to say that they were proud of me, and it all started with a simple song: Frère Jacques.

Mes grands-parents

Mes grands-parents


Evelyn (Evridiki) Pasa, August 5, 1929- March 23, 2015

Merci Grand-mère. Tu me manques beaucoup. Thank you Grandma. I miss you so much.

© 2015 Jessica’s Franglais