Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My first week in Montpellier I didn’t have any classes, instead we had a couple days of orientation into the program where learned more about the school system, signed up for classes, and had a tour of the city. During the week we also had some free time to ourselves to explore the city. So, I thought I would share the different activities I’ve done so far.

The weekend I arrived, my “dad”, “brother”, and I drove to the beach. My brother needed to practice driving, since he will be taking his drivers test soon (they can’t take it until they are 18!). We are super close to the Mediterranean Sea, so the drive was very short and on the way I saw the big rugby stadium and flamingos. It was cloudy and windy when we went but I was still content. I felt the water, and being from MN, it actually didn’t feel that cold. I can’t wait to go swimming as soon as it warms up a little more, even though the natives will think I’m crazy!

As I mentioned in my first post the sales are going on right now, and I’ve been to both of the malls in Montpellier multiple times already. There is the Polygone in the centre ville and the Odysseum, which is just a short tram ride away (I bought a tram/bus pass good for 31 days). Odysseum is really cool because it’s a large outdoor complex with lots of retail shops, cafés, a grocery store, a movie theatre, an Ikea, and a sports center. There is also plenty of retail stores crammed into the small medieval streets of the centre ville.

Tram stop at odysseum

Our program got us a historical tour of the centre ville through the office of tourism in Montpellier. Montpellier isn’t as old as some of the Roman cities that are near by, but it still has a rich medieval history. For example, it has the oldest medical school in France.
La fontaine des trois graces is right in the center of the city or the place de la comedie, so it's a great meeting spot.

Saint Roch and his dog can been seen a lot in Montpellier. This is actually part of a larger mural.
Here is their Arche de Triomphe. Since, we were with an official tour guide we got to go on top of it!
This is a bad picture, but it is another thing we got to visit with a tour guide. It's an old jewish bath for purifications. With special permission from the city you can actually still use it.

My host family is very nice and likes to include me in their activates. One evening, I went with my mom and dad to their health club. We didn’t use the fitness part of the facility but instead enjoyed the pool, hot tub, sauna, and steam room. After a long day at work my host parents like to take some time to relax.

Finally, we come to the nightlife of the city. Since, Montpellier is one-third students there is a lot to do at night-lots of bars and night clubs for dancing. My host brother was super nice and took me out Saturday night with a few of his friends to one of the dance clubs called Panama. It was fun because they played a lot of American music that my friends and I knew…and it’s funny to see French people singing along to American songs even though for the most part they don’t know what the lyrics means. In general, there is a lot of American influence in their radio songs and television shows, which was interesting for me to learn because we never listen to French music or watch French television shows in the states.

In my next post I'll be talking about the program excursion to the ancient Roman city of Nimes and the Pont du Gard.

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