Every year we arrange an inspection visit to Montpellier for language teachers. These trips offer the opportunity to learn more about both our language study trips, and the city of Montpellier itself.
Montpellier is one of our most popular destinations for school French trips – and our inspection visits are your opportunity to discover why that is.
Here, our Rachael explains what this year’s contingent of teachers got up to when we took them to Montpellier.
After a very early start, we were on our flight from Gatwick armed with breakfast snacks and willing the cabin crew to come round with the coffee as soon as possible.
On arrival in Montpellier we were met with glorious morning sunshine and the smiling face of Andrew, the director of our partner language school in the city, LSF Montpellier.
We had just enough time for brief introductions – and Montpellier’s traditional three kisses on the cheek, a surprise for anyone who hadn’t been to the area before! – and then transferred to the hotel. The airport’s only a short drive from the city centre, so it didn’t take long at all.
As it was still quite early, the rooms weren’t quite ready for us when we arrived at the hotel, so we set up shop in one of the conference rooms and started to talk about all that Montpellier has to offer, as well as the kind of trips that are available.
A short while later we set off for the language school, taking in the atmosphere of this lively city while we walked.
LSF have several different sites for lessons, with groups primarily being based at the Barnabé centre. Depending on the time of year and how many students there are at the time, lessons may take place at the Préfecture centre, or in the main adult centre on rue Foch, by the impressive Arc de Triomphe.
No matter where your lessons are, the classrooms and staff are perfectly prepared to provide your students with a fantastic learning experience.
We took a break from walking in the sun to learn more about LSF and their relationship with us at Halsbury – from lessons to host families and the various activities available in and around the local area.
It was a great opportunity to discuss everything available in a bit more detail, and to ask any questions in a relaxed environment.
We then split up for lunch, before regrouping for a guided city tour. On this occasion it was provided by the Montpellier Tourist Office, which is located right on the Place de la Comédie, the central hub of activity in the city.
Our guide was very knowledgeable and talked a lot about the city’s history and its patron saint, Saint Roch.
Our tour finished at the Arc de Triomphe and we were able to climb up to the top. It was a bit windier and we lost count of how many steps it was, but the views were phenomenal!
We had a couple of hours until dinner, and so some of the party chose to pop back to the hotel to relax a bit first, but the rest of us hopped on a tram to the Odysseum – Montpellier’s open-air shopping centre and leisure complex.
While we didn’t have time to experience the climbing wall, aquarium or trampoline centre, we had the chance to see how short the journey time was and the different activities it has to offer students of all ages and preferences for an afternoon.
That evening, we went for dinner in a great restaurant right in the heart of the older part of the city, not too far from the Saint Roch church. It’s a bustling area, full of restaurants, cafes and boutiques, and is pedestrianised. The meal was a great opportunity to wind down after a busy day, though it wasn’t too late a night!
Everyone felt well-rested in the morning and tucked in to a varied breakfast. Teachers often choose to stay at this hotel when they come to Montpellier with their groups, so it was good to see what the facilities were like.
Unfortunately, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was overcast and damp. But that didn’t stop our group from taking a morning walk to the local market, before picking up a few snacks at Monoprix!
We then headed to the nearby coast (a journey that can be arranged as a private transfer or by public transport), ready for lunch at a restaurant on the beach. The restaurant itself is very much right on the sand, although thankfully the walls were sturdy enough to protect us from the wind. The buffet-style lunch had options for every taste and the staff members were very friendly and helpful.
After lunch, we headed back to the city, and made full use of our afternoon by walking around the rest of the city to take a look at some of the other points of interest that hadn’t been included on the tour yesterday. The Jardin des Plantes, Faculté de Médecine and the cathedral were particular highlights of our adventures. We also managed to fit in a well-deserved coffee to help us warm up!
With heavy hearts – and tired feet – we headed back to the airport, full of ideas on what Montpellier had to offer and hoping to have a little nap on the plane!