You have decided to do a French immersion homestay in Montpellier during the winter rather than in the summer? That is great. In reality what matters is that you are doing a French immersion homestay, whether it is in the summer or the winter. One of the advantages of doing a French immersion homestay in the winter is it is cheaper. The airplane tickets, accommodation and other prices become affordable thanks to the drop in prices during the off season. However, during Christmas, due the holiday rush, prices can rise again.
Another advantage of doing a French immersion homestay in the winter in Montpellier is that it is less crowded by tourists making it more agreeable to visit and enjoy the city.
The cold or the cloudy weather should not hinder you to enjoy your French immersion homestay. So here are 5 things you can do to make it more enjoyable:
Visit the Christmas market
This is a must do. From the beginning of December to mid-January all major cities, including Montpellier, in France organize a Christmas market in the city center. The Christmas market is full of tiny shops selling gourmet food products, regional specialties, hot wines, chocolates, sweets and original gifts made by local artisans. The decoration and illumination makes it look like a town center from a fairy tale. Do not miss also the sound and light show if you are lucky to be at Montpellier when it takes place, during 3 nights end of November or beginning of December each year. You will be in awe and admiration of the Christmas market.
Go skiing and participate in a raclette dinner
If you are an avid skier, Montpellier is not far from the ski slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains. During ski trips to the mountains the French enjoy organizing a raclette dinner! Now what on earth is a raclette? Raclette is originally a type of cheese created in Switzerland. A raclette dish is indigenous to some parts of France and Switzerland, especially near the Alps region. It is a dish consisting of a variety of thinly sliced meat and cheese which are grilled on a small heated girl in the middle of the dining table. They are consumed along with some salad and boiled potatoes. It is really a delicious French dish! So even if you are not a skier you should definitely enjoy a nice and cosy raclette dinner party.
Participate in a French réveillon party
A réveillon is a long dinner party organized the evening preceding Christmas Day and the New Year’s Day. The word réveillon comes from the word réveil (which means waking) because participation involves staying awake until midnight and beyond. The réveillon dinner party is an authentic French tradition where they slowly take their time to have the starters, the main course, a variety of cheese and desert, while at the same time sipping champagne! The food often consumed is luxurious and exceptional in quality.
Visit the museums
All major French cities are full of renowned museums. When the winter is harsh and the sun is hiding behind the cloud, museums are a great place to hang out. During the winter many museums organize expositions on specific topics and themes. Some of them organize conferences and seminars on art, science or literature followed by a typical French apéro. So museums are not only a great place to learn about French culture, but also make new friends and practice your French during your French immersion homestay.
Go to the beach
Last but not the least; you can always go to the beach in Montpellier thanks to its year round sunshine. You might not swim as the water will be cold, but you can have a walk or cycle along the sea. You can wine and dine on one of the restaurants or bars by the sea while enjoying the sunset!
The 12 months of regular sunshine in the south of France will make your French immersion homestay in Montpellier agreeable and fun!