10 good reasons to learn French in Brest, Brittany
Thursday, 16th June 2011
A historic university city in Brittany, there are lots of factors that make Brest a great French study destination.
Here’s our run-down of the top ten:
1. Great value for money
The French courses on offer in Brest give students really good value for money. Brest is one of the less expensive French study destinations that we offer at Cactus - students are guaranteed the same quality of tuition and accommodation as in other towns and cities, but at a more affordable price.
2. Delicious local food and drink
As you might expect, Brest’s coastal location means that there is plenty of seafood on offer here, and that the locals know very well how to cook it. Other Breton specialities include crepes and galettes (buckwheat pancakes), and of course, good quality cider…
Brest has hundreds of restaurants and cafes to choose from where you can sample both local and international cuisine at its best.
3. Good nightlife
As a university city, Brest has thousands of students to cater for, and in this regard it won’t disappoint. Whether it’s bars, clubs, cafes, theatre or cinema that you’re after there’ll be options for you.
4. Interesting history
Located on France’s most western point, Brest has always been an important city in military terms. The advantages of Brest’s location were first recognised in the Middle Ages, when Cardinal Richelieu designated it a military harbour, and it soon became the base for the French navy. The town continued to grow over the centuries, and during the First World War Brest was used as a disembarking point for many of the American troops coming over. In World War II the Germans had a large submarine base at Brest, and in fact the city was completely destroyed during the Battle for Brest in 1944 after the Allied invasion of Normandy.
Whilst the war destroyed a lot of the city’s original buildings and areas, Brest has nevertheless maintained its naval prowess and these days is home to one of the French’s navy’s principal training centres.
Visitors to Brest can take a tour of the Musée de la Mer, which houses fascinating information on the history of Breton seafaring and the region’s proud naval history.
5. A good variety of accommodation options
Students who learn French in Brest have several accommodation options to choose from, ensuring that all tastes and requirements are catered for. Options include a renting a private apartment, staying in a student residence or lodging with a host family. Whilst renting an apartment ensures independence and a quiet living and studying environment, staying in a residence or host family means that you can meet local French people and practise your French outside of lessons as much as possible.
6. A lovely learning environment
The school in Brest is housed in a stunning 19th century manor, and is surrounded by two hectares of attractive grounds. The school specialises in teaching French to foreigners and works alongside prestigious Brest organisations including the university.The school building itself boasts a spacious library, a video library, a reading room and a multimedia centre, and use of the internet is free for all students.
The school is actually just outside Brest but there’s a really good bus connection between the city and the school and getting there is very easy.
7. Great beaches nearby
One of Brittany’s most well-known attributes is its rugged coastline and array of beautiful sandy beaches. There are plenty to choose from near Brest, whether you want to sunbathe, swim, snorkel, surf, rock-pool or just take in the beautiful scenery.
8. Good transport connections
Brest has some great transport links to both the rest of the France, and Europe. The railway station is linked to Paris by TGV (the journey takes about 4 and a half hours) and has plenty of regional services too. Brest’s International airport offers services to a good range of domestic and international cities including Paris, Nice, Marseille, Lyon, London, Birmingham, Southampton and Dublin and is served by Air France, Easyjet, Flybe, Jetairfly, Chalair and Ryanair.
9. Lots of activities on offer
The school in Brest offers a variety of good activities for students to get involved in after their French lessons. Included in the type of things offered are coastal walks, sailing, workshops in gastronomy and oenology as well as organised evening trips to authentic Breton cafes and Irish pubs.
10. A good range of student nationalities
The school in Brest attracts students from a range of different countries, primarily in Europe. There’s always a good mix of student nationalities, which means that students have to speak French both during lessons and when socialising in the evenings and at weekends. This ensures that students have as much opportunity as possible to practise what they have learnt, and ultimately that they get the most out of their French stay as they can.
Currently, Cactus offers General, Individual and Combined French courses in Brest, at a variety of levels. For full course listings and to book please visit the Cactus Language website.