Quick! Help my niece! She's bored in Montpellier, France!

My teenage niece is spending three weeks in Montpellier, France, staying with the family of last year’s French exchange student. Apparently there is a whole passel of teens there, both American and French, and they are bored. Really bored. So bored that Niece sent her dad an imploring e-mail, begging him for suggestions. He has already googled and sent them links to the various Montpellier city and tourism websites, but fears that may not be enough for their limited teenage attention spans (she said with just a teensy :rolleyes: ). So he has sent out a desperate emergency e-mail to the family in general, asking if anyone has any suggestions.

So I throw it open to the Dope. Help my niece and her ad hoc posse find something to do in the South of France that isn’t boring.

…yeah, I know, I went “huh?” with a medium-sized rolleyes, too–plop me down in the South of France, I’d find plenty to do, you betcha. Only about 6,000 years of history to explore. But, alas, I am not there. I am here. Blast.

Thanks in advance, to anyone.

ETA: the only car they have available is the one belonging to the Host Dad, who is understandably reluctant to ferry groups of teens around at random whims. They have gone on a couple of organized outings, but they have to schedule their car needs to coincide with Mom and Dad’s. Strange concept, that. :smiley:

I believe the traditional thing to do would be to obtain a couple of jugs of cheap red wine, perhaps a few baguettes and some cheese/ham/saucisson (if they feel like being sensible :rolleyes: ) and then go for an afternoons loitering/flirting/picnic.

I believe the traditional act at this point is to don a backpack and figure out how to use the local bus and train system… than head for Paris/Morocco/Croatia. :slight_smile:

Chère Maman? Je suis arrivèe á Paris. Can you send me money?

Would they be interested in cultural stuff? Nimes, just an hour down the train line, has a Roman Colleseum and other buildings, as well as an adorable and very frenchy-french Old Town.

Heck, why not go to the Riviera? losts of things for bored teens to do there!

Get themselves thrown in jail and experience a whole new area of France that just loooves foreigners.

They’re all under 18. I don’t think the “experience the prison system” outing is going to go over big with the Parental Units on either side of the pond. And I have the impression that the “spend the afternoon flirting with jugs of wine” won’t go over big, either. My brother already sent them tons of links about local historical attractions; I guess I was hoping the Dope would know about some sort of undiscovered, unheralded Stuff To Do thereabouts.

The legal drinking age in France is 16, or 18 for spirits.

If someone can drive, they’re not that far from the famous Millau Bridge

I studied abroad in Montpellier a few years ago. I would recommend the Chateau de Flaugergues, the chateau itself and the gardens are nice, and they have very good wine at good prices. It’s accessible by tram followed by a short bus ride or walk. Traveling to other cities in Languedoc-Roussillon by train is easy and cheap (at least when I was there). Nimes in particular is interesting because of it’s Roman ruins, but I’ve also heard good things about cities like Narbonne and Sete. Spain is also easy to get to for a weekend trip, but it’s a bit more expensive.

There’s also a fair amount to see in the city itself, most of which is listed in tourist guides. The old town is nice and has some good restaurants and cafes. I liked one called le Comcombre Masque, near Place Albert premier. There’s also a good selection of north African and Turkish places. I was able to find a lot of interesting things to do in the city just by taking the tram and getting off at different places, and there’s a second tram line now, so that should make it even easier to get around and find stuff to do.

How far is she from the beach?

Has she found out why it’s call Frenching?

Ahhh, teenagers — they can be in one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world (the South of France), with beautiful scenery and fascinating history and architecture, and still find a way to be bored!

Montpellier has tons of things (many of them free) going on in the summer. They can catch the last week of the Festival de Radio France with various concert programs: electronic music, world music, and jazz if they’re a little more adventurous (there’s also tons of classical and opera, but that probably won’t float the boats of “bored teenagers”). Many of these events are in or near downtown Montpellier – the host families will be able to help them out there. There’s also a free film series – ok, it won’t be Batman, but they could have stayed in the US to see films like that. This Friday (July 25th) at 3pm they’re showing the 1995 film about Stockhausen’s Helicopter String Quartet – the only piece of music to involve a string quartet and four helicopters! [Cool enough to shake even the most jaded teen out of her boredom.]

Montpellier is also ideally suited for exploring the area: Nîmes and Sète have been mentioned upthread, but they are just the beginning. Trains are fast, frequent, and within an hour’s ride of Montpellier are:[ul]
[li]Sète (20min by train) has water jousting tournaments (a tradition that dates back to 1666) every weekend in the summer: PDF calendar of jousts is here. If they find this boring, then they’re beyond hope… Sète also has a fascinating fishing port, and a fair amount of North African influence due to the direct ferry link to Tangier (Morocco). Very pretty little town.[/li][li]Nîmes (30min by train) has tons of interesting Roman buildings downtown, but the Pont du Gard (ouside town, but there are buses) is unforgettable. If they can, they should see this and the Millau bridge during the same trip – two world-class engineering marvels built ~2000 years apart![/li][li]Arles (50min by train) has lots of Van Gogh history if any of the kids are interested in art, and also a Roman arena still used for local-style bullfighting in which the bull is not killed, but the men try to remove a tassle from its horn without getting stomped or gored.[/li][li]Avignon (1hour by train) has the Palace of the Popes as well as the Pont d’Avignon of song fame. [/li][/ul]

Can I go instead of her? I promise I’ll not be bored. :slight_smile:

They’ve got malls in France too y’know. :slight_smile:

Well, about 213 km down the coast is the smallish city of Toulon. In addition to being the home port for the French Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet (which is how I know the city - we spent a weekend there while part of a NATO task group.) it’s also got a lot of WWII history, with the fighting there from Operation Dragoon. I recall that there’s a small museum on Mt. Faron over the city, and a chapel in the cliffs, too. There’s a very cheesy, but fun, zoo up there as well. The telepherique was also interesting.
I wish I’d known about the surviving Vauban forts while I was there.

K, thanks, all, I will forward this thread to my bro and let him forward it to the posse. Many thanks.

Have her walk around refering to it as Mont-peel-yer and see what kind of interesting conversations ensue.