Dec 8, 2022

Chapter 1: My First Days in Montpellier

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5 min read

So before I start telling my story, let me introduce myself. My name is Nena, I am 22 years old and  I am a Greek law student at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki this semester I have the pleasure to participate in an Erasmus program at the law department of the University of Montpellier. On my mind, the selection of France was a one-way street because my love for the french language and culture had grown my need to live the French reality. At the same time, taking into consideration that I am at the end of my studies and France is a top destination for my Master’s studies I wanted to examine practically the potential of living here permanently.  So, Montpellier was the best choice for this new life experience as a sunny city in South France with beautiful architecture and warm people.

arrival in montpeller as an erasmus student

Arrival Day

My first day in France started at midnight of a warm autumn night, where after many hours of traveling by plane from Athens airport to Marseille and by Flixbus  to Montpellier I took the tram line 1 and I arrived outside of the university dormitory where I was supposed to stay the next 6 months. I was so hungry and thirsty so I decided to grab a croissant and one bottle of water from the mini-market which was at the corner. However, I wasn’t informed that some shops in France accept cards with a several amount of money so I couldn’t be able to buy what I wanted because I didn’t have cash . The moment that I was ready to leave the assistant called me back and offered me the products by ensuring me that he will cover the cost. It was the moment that I felt so thankful for this pure movement of generosity and kindness. Since that day I met many «French assistants» who tried to help me with pure interest when I was lost practically or mentally.

Tip: To get deep into the daily French manners don’t hesitate to say ‘’bonjour ‘’in the morning and Bonsoir in the evening when you meet someone. People in France really appreciate this small movement of kindness which can make your day!


The next morning I woke up with good energy and curiosity about my new life. I had already received my keys for my 9 cm2 room in the crous dormitory and now I was heading to the administration office to sign the documents and receive some important information. After the inventory control which was also completed without any problem, I had already achieved my first bureaucratic obligation in French -a small victory to the adulthood road in another country.

During the next few days, there was a need to arrange some other bureaucratic issues which were supposed to improve my stay in France. I realized that one of the biggest advantages which France provides is the social mechanism because it provides a special housing allowance to all the uni students who rent an apartment despite the period of their stay. I achieved to take this benefit after coping with some difficulties by following the steps of the LivinFrance site to apply.

Tip: If you are supposed to move to France for a short or longer period of time check the caf service to win this important privilege.

Strolling around the city

Of course, from the first day, my main target was to discover the city center of Montpellier. Indeed that day the ESN Erasmus team of Montpellier organized a city tour at the historical center for the new exchange students. Early in the afternoon, a big team of 60 people from every corner of the world gathered to the «Place de la Comedie », the main square of Montpellier. Having as guides local French students, we walked through the city learning the history of the sightseeing, hidden coffee places, and pubs. I was fulfilled with bliss because I had the chance to walk to a sunny city in South France with picturesque buildings, small streets which will reveal something different every time you will follow them, and a vivid uni-life with the 70%of the population being students. The next day the city was celebrating. In other words, every September French cities organize days of culture where all the cultural places and museums are open to the public by providing free theatrical plays, art exhibitions, and events. We visited many cultural spots and from that day my heart belonged to this city.

montpellier city center

Food tasting

Of course, my love for French cuisine was another important part of my first days in Montpellier, French croissants, cheeses, tarts, and wines were part of my wish list. So, I started visiting many boulangeries at the center of the city with the main purpose to taste everything! The smell of the historic boulangerie which is called «Reve du pain » will always accompany my sweetest first memories in Montpellier.

The place that really stole my heart was the «Chateau des Flaugeures» which I visited during my first weekend’s excursion for food and wine tasting. The winery offered us a guided tour of the vineyards and the factory of wine production by explaining to us the whole process and by offering an excellent wine and cheese tasting session at the end of our visit.

french pastries

My Unilife

The most important sector of this new experience was without a second thought life in the university. So after my first weekend in Montpellier, I visited my new university on Monday where the administrative staff of the Erasmus office welcomed us by providing cute tote bags with small presents inside and by offering a guided tour of the perfect facilities of the Law School which was situated in a medieval neighborhood. At my first lecture, I was really anxious because my whole program was in French. Really soon I achieved to find my personal balance because my professors were very friendly and comprehensive and at the same time  thanks to  the teamwork climate I had the chance to meet French people and practice my french.

Meeting new friends

The most special part of this new life was meeting new people and cultures. From the first moment, I had the chance to meet new friends via the ESN Erasmus events and the welcoming days that my university has organized with whom I shared the same mindsets and life goals. Since then we were a team who traveled, explored, had fun, and dreamed together .

meeting new friends as an erasmus student

Concluding, I would like to say that my first days in France were a small journey of maturity, exploration, anxiety, curiosity, bliss, and joy. If I could turn back the time I wouldn’t change anything,  because these specific details have formed the memories that I have now. Dear readers, I want only to remind you to love your new starts and all the things that you will become through them.You can find my profile on instagram (nenaamanatiadou)to share together more stories and information about France.

Thank you for devoting time to read my personal history. You can help me by clicking Like.

A bientôt !

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