L'Académie de France

Grades 9-12
July 2 – July 29, 2018
Tuition: $7895

The Académie de France is a full French immersion program for students with 2 or more years of French. Students commit to speaking French in class and on activities for the duration of the program. The Académie takes place in the Lycée Notre Dame de la Merci, in Montpellier.  Students are taught by academics, professional chefs, and artists. They choose two courses - a Major and a Minor – which are taught entirely in French. These interactive courses, coupled with a full calendar of program activities – including field trips to Avignon and the Pont du Gard - enable them fully to immerse themselves in local and French culture. Students can also opt to add on the Paris Connection and spend 4 days in Paris before heading home. Scroll down to read course descriptions, faculty bios, and apply now!


Students on L'Académie de France can choose from a variety of academic and creative courses that are taught in French and specially designed to make the most of Montpellier and the surrounding areas. All the courses are experiential. On any given day students will be visiting museums and sites linked to the syllabus, hearing from eminent guest speakers, or concentrating on project-work. Popular courses in recent years have included Culture et cuisine, Relations internationales, and Perfectionnement de la langue.  Descriptions for these courses follow.

Culture et cuisine

Les étudiants découvrent les trésors de la cuisine régionale (fromages, ratatouille, tartes), ainsi que l’histoire de la cuisine française à travers les œuvres de Vatel, Escoffier, Brillat-Savarin, et Julia Child. Aux cours s’ajoutent de nombreuses visites et dégustations qui témoignent du haut niveau de la gastronomie montpelliéraine. Les étudiants participent à une série d’ateliers en cuisine sous la direction d’un grand chef de Montpellier. Ils rentrent chez eux avec un beau carnet de recettes. Supplément de $300 US pour la classe Majeure et de $250 US pour la classe Mineure.

Culture and Cuisine

Students discover the delicacies of the region (cheeses, ratatouille, tarts), and they learn about the history of French cuisine, by studying such famed culinary experts as Vatel, Escoffier, Brillat-Savarin, and Julia Child. Classroom sessions are enhanced by visits to local markets, butchers, and pastry shops which bear witness to the outstanding gastronomy of Montpellier. In the last week of the program, several sessions are taught in the kitchens of one of the city's top chefs. They return home with a journal of recipes that they can continue to enjoy. Lab fee of $300 US for Majors; $250 US for Minors.

Relations Internationales

Face aux crises qui dominent l’actualité - la terreur, l’immigration, Brexit - les étudiants  travaillent à comprendre le fonctionnement et les enjeux de la politique mondiale. Ils découvrent les théories et écoles de pensée des relations internationales - les écoles réaliste, marxiste, libérale, et néolibérale - et les applique aux grandes questions du. A l’aide d’une série d’études de cas spécifiques, menées par des experts en la matière, les étudiants sont ensuite amenés à organiser leur propre sommet traitant d’un important problème d’actualité.

International Relations

In the face of crises that dominate our newsfeeds - terror, immigration, Brexit - students work to understand the complexity of the relationships at play in world politics. They become familiar with the principal theoretical models that govern international relations - realism, marxism, liberalism, and neoliberalism - and apply them to the challenges of today. Thanks to a series of case studies led by experts in the field, students go on to organize a mock summit focusing on a critical current issue.

Perfectionnement de la langue

Ce cours avancé d’expression orale et écrite s’adresse aux étudiants qui veulent enrichir leur vocabulaire et approfondir leur connaissance de la grammaire française et de ses complexités tels que l’emploi du subjonctif et du conditionnel, la concordance des temps et le choix des pronoms personnels et relatifs. Les étudiants lisent la presse régionale et nationale et regardent des extraits de films contemporains, ils discutent de questions de société et de sujets d’actualité et s’initient à l’art du débat. Ils s’essaient à différents types d’écriture et créent un portefeuille qu’ils présentent à la fin du programme.

Perfecting the Language

This advanced writing and oral expression course is intended for students who want to enrich their vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the complexities of French grammar – the use of the subjunctive and conditional tenses, agreement, and personal and relative pronouns.  Students read the local and national news, watch excerpts of contemporary films, discuss important societal and current event issues and learn about the art of debate.  They explore different writing styles and create a portfolio that they present at the end of the program.

View All Courses


Our teachers are academics and researchers drawn from the Université de Montpellier and the Sorbonne as well as established creative professionals.  A few Faculty members from recent summers are featured here - for a full Faculty list please visit our Faculty page.

Dr. Elsa Trani

MA, PhD Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier III

Dr. Trani is an expert on the artists who lived and worked in Montpellier. Her Masters thesis on Antoine Ranc (1634-1716), a painter from her native city, won the Prix Sabatier from the Académie des Sciences et Lettres de Montpellier, with a special mention from the jury. She regularly works as a consultant for the Musée Fabre to curate and create the educational content for their exhibitions.  

Meidiha Ouzal

BA Faculté des sciences de Montpellier, MS Faculté des sciences de Montpellier

Meidiha is a trained nurse and mid-wife, but her main passions are research, journalism, and teaching. She plans to conduct research and write scientific articles that will be accessible to the general public. Her courses on Medicine integrate practical hands-on aspects, such as taking patient histories, checking vital signs, and advances in music therapy. 

Dr. Barthélémy Py

BA, PhD Université de Montpellier III

Barthélémy teaches Cinema and Media Studies at the Université de Montpellier. His doctoral research investigates mountain films and their relationship to the Occident.

View All Faculty

Our Residence

L'Académie de France students reside in the Lycée Notre Dame de la Merci, a top independent school near the center of Montpellier. The Lycée boasts a brand new, purpose-built dorm, in which students live in shared doubles. The city’s main sites are all within an easy stroll of the Lycée.


In addition to program-wide field-trips to the beach, Avignon, the Pont-du-Gard, Nîmes, and Saint Guilhem-le-Désert, our Activities Directors organize daily outings to concerts, recitals, plays, opera and dance performances, and local film festivals as well as visits to the many local attractions, including parks (where students can picnic), the zoo, and the expansive flea market. All activities are conducted in French.

Students keen to exercise can use the gym in the school, do laps at the Olympic-sized swimming pool in the center of town, take a jog through the Jardin du Peyrou or along the Lez River, or join others for a game of soccer, dodgeball, or volleyball. Other options include a visit to the nearby ice skating rink or a round of pétanque. Our staff accompanies students to the local beaches so that they can enjoy the Mediterranean.

Paris Connection – July 29 - August 2

The Paris Connection is a 4-night extension to the Académie.  Students are taken to Paris on the final day. They are housed at the MIJE, in the Marais, a beautiful historic district on the rive droite. The area is home to art galleries, cafés, and boutiques, and is within easy reach of, among others, Notre Dame, the Île Saint-Louis, the Louvre, the Tuileries, the Picasso Museum, and the Pompidou.

The schedule is carefully designed to make the most of our students’ time while blending enrichment and fun. Activities include expert-led visits of world-famous museums and monuments, outings to Montmartre, the catacombs, fun-fairs, shopping, and sampling different French cuisines in a selection of traditional restaurants. Paris becomes the perfect place for discovery and learning.

Paris Connection

Useful Info for Parents


Students can fly directly to Montpellier or, if they wish, come via Paris.  Students who come via Paris are met at Charles de Gaulle upon arrival and escorted to their Montpellier flight.  A member of our staff accompanies them on the flight. At the end of the program, they are accompanied back to Paris, where we oversee the transfer to their next flight. A representative stays at the airport until every flight has departed.


The Lycée lies in an extremely calm and quiet neighborhood.  Access is strictly controlled and there is twenty-four hour security. Day-to-day life is overseen by teams of Deans - professional educators drawn from leading schools in the US, Canada, and Australia. The residence has a program office, in a central location, which is open and permanently staffed by Deans from before 8am until well past midnight. Every student checks in personally, every evening, with the Deans on duty. The Program Director, Deans, residential staff, and some members of faculty live in the residences, ensuring round-the-clock care and supervision.

Student Safety, Rules, and Behavior

Program Blog

Every summer, students and teachers on L'Académie de France maintain a blog, which provides unparalleled insight into daily life, classes, and activities.  Last summer’s blog is available here!

Apply Now!