I had the pleasure of spending the past week in Montpellier, France and participating in an introductory French class taught by Véronique Forgemont. I have always wanted to be able to speak this beautiful language, and the class provided the perfect way to begin learning. As a professional educator myself, I was thoroughly impressed with the way Véronique taught the class. She used the very best instructional methods, including modeling, multi-sensory learning, experiential learning, and ample opportunities for students to practice the language in authentic contexts. In addition, her teaching materials were all focused and well-organized. The class, which was designed specifically for the needs of our group of university students, was primarily conversational, with just enough conjugation of verbs to help us understand the phrases we learned. Véronique is a warm, supportive, patient, and accomplished teacher who clearly values every student and supports them throughout the process. This class has made me eager to continue learning French, and I sincerely appreciate the opportunity I had to begin this journey through the Institut de Français.
The setting for the institute is the city of Montpellier in the south of France, where the skies are crystal clear most days, and the people are warm and welcoming. During the month of May, when we were there, the daytime temperatures were in the 70’s (F) during the day and 40’s/50’s at night, with low humidity. In many ways, Montpellier is similar to Paris, but with a more relaxed and casual atmosphere. There are two distinct areas – the ancient and the modern, with both offering spectacular architecture to delight and amaze visitors.
Public transportation in this region is dependable, efficient, and affordable, making it very easy to travel around the city or to other destinations, such as Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, Arles, or Aux-en-Provence. My group stayed in a residence hotel about a half block from the train station, Gare Saint-Roch, and four tram lines were located just outside our hotel. We were able to walk to dozens of shops, restaurants, museums, and markets. We also walked to one of my favorite parts of Montpellier, the famous Place de la Comedie, an exceptionally lively and beautiful gathering place where you can always find local citizens and visitors eating, drinking, laughing, shopping, riding skate boards or scooters, pushing strollers, listening to live music, or just relaxing in the sun. In addition, Montpellier is only about 10 kilometers from the beautiful Mediterranean coast, which can be accessed by car, bicycle, or public transportation.
In summary, I am exceptionally glad that I was able to participate in one of the workshops offered by the Institut de Français in Montpellier. It has been a learning experience that I will never forget, and I highly recommend it to businesses or educational groups who are interested in learning about French language and culture.