Small city in France to spend my year abroad?

I'd really like to spend the year in France, preferably studying, but want to avoid the big cities (Paris, Marseille, Lyon etc.) as they seem quite impersonal and might be quite difficult to meet people. I want to find a much smaller city with friendly locals and an opportunity to get to know the WHOLE of the city really well! Any ideas?

This question was asked on 26th July 2014 and has been read 1771 times.

  • Alexandra Kershaw · 4 years ago

    Hello

    I did my year abroad studying in Aix-en-Provence, just north of Marseille and though it is a city (i think!) it's small and so homely and just like no where else I've ever been. It's easy to interact with the locals if you continue using the same places - bakeries etc. and it's such a wonderful place. It's also great for if you want to travel to smaller places as it's near so many quaint towns as well as big cities. 

    If you want to ask anything else don't hesitate to message me here or email me alexandra (dot) kershaw (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk

  • Georgie Rice · 4 years ago

    Have you thought about Montpellier? I've just spent 5 weeks here to round off my year abroad and polish up my French and have completely fallen in love with the city. It's big enough to have plenty going on both day and night, but it's not a big dirty city that's packed with tourists or busy roads. There are hundreds of tiny independent bars and tapas places and cafés so it's really easy to meet people and get chatting. There aren't huge amounts of tourists and unlike the bigger cities not everyone here speaks English so there's plenty of opportunity to practice your French. The city itself is beautiful and you can spend a whole afternoon just wandering the tiny back streets (preferably with an ice cream!). Hope this helps - I'd really recommend looking into it! 

  • Anonymous Answer · 4 years ago

    Grenoble is a great place to study if you want somewhere a bit smaller! It's a really good place in terms of student experience aswell. There are about 60,000 students so loads of things are organised to get involved inand there's an international students organisatio  that does trips/nights out etc. I got involved with some uni sport and I was the only foreign person there so my French got loads better and I had so much fun. Grenoble is surrounded by mountains so it's really beautiful and you can even ski for uni credit! I had a great time there and it's easier to intergrate with locals than it is in some of the bigger cities. Well worth considering!

  • Matt Funge · 4 years ago

    The best year of my life was on my year abroad in Avignon, about an hour directly north of Marseille. I couldn't recommend it enough - beautiful small city with so much history and culture. Transport links can take you anywhere too so you're never without options to visit the likes of Montpellier/Lyon/Aix/Marseille :) 

  • Rosie Paul · 4 years ago

    Second vote for Grenoble! I spent 2 years there doing a French degree and I love the place! As they say above, you can ski for uni credit, you end up knowing lots of people and so will regularly bump into them on nights out, on the slopes and around campus. Grenoble is also a campus university - there is always lots going on and a really student-y feel about it, something you don't get in lots of the bigger French cities. The French students are always up for making international friends so as long as you make a little effort, you'll end up finding tons of people to practice your French with. They also have the country's biggest (I think!) international student association (IntEGre) who organise weekends away, local tasting evenings, parties etc. I'm currently on my year abroad in the US and I can't wait to go back to Grenoble next year!

  • Bogi Szabo · 4 years ago

    I personally did my Year Abroad in Chambéry, which is a town in the department of Savoie, in southeast France. I love the outdoors so I had the best time as there are plenty of outdoor activities, a beautiful lake just a bike ride away, and skiing in the winter as it's right in the foot of the Alps! Plus it is close to Lyon and Annecy, both beautiful places in their own right and if you're looking for nightlife, Lyon is definitely the place to go!

  • Bogi Szabo · 4 years ago

    I personally did my Year Abroad in Chambéry, which is a town in the department of Savoie, in southeast France. I love the outdoors so I had the best time as there are plenty of outdoor activities, a beautiful lake just a bike ride away, and skiing in the winter as it's right in the foot of the Alps! Plus it is close to Lyon and Annecy, both beautiful places in their own right and if you're looking for nightlife, Lyon is definitely the place to visit for a weekend!

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