Louisville's Sister City since 1954
Contact us at: Montpellier@sclou.org
Montpellier is near the Mediterranean Sea in South-Central France. The city is over 1,000 years old and is home to a modern university, which also contains the oldest medical school in continuous existence in the western world. The university draws people from all over the world, giving the city a distinct international atmosphere. Montpelliers Place de la Comedie is a grand pedestrian and sidewalk cafe area facing the beautiful old city theatre. Wine is the traditional product of the region and medical equipment and state-of-the-art technical products are manufactured there.
For additional information on Montpellier and France, please contast us at SCLOU@SCLOU.ORG for the Culture Kit.
Montpellier and Louisville became Sister Cities in 1954. At that time, two professors, Dr. George Brodschi of the University of Louisville, and Dr. Aimes of l'Universite de Montpellier decided to create educational opportunities for students at their universities. The pairing of Louisville to a French city was natural considering Louisvilles origins date back to 1669, when La Salle, a French explorer, discovered Louisville. Louisville was officially founded by George Rodgers Clark in 1778. Following the American Revolution, the city of Louisville was named after Louis XVI to thank the French king for his help during the war. During Louisvilles city history, three waves of French immigrants came here to settle. Today, through the Sister Cities relationship, Louisville and Montpellier share a strong camaraderie and affection for each others cities. Over the years, several programs have remained consistent between Louisville and Montpellier: the Montpellier Work Exchange Program, the Montpellier Yearlong Scholarship, and cultural person-to-person exchanges.
The Montpellier Committee and the International Center at the University of Louisville collaborate each year to sponsor the Montpellier Work Exchange Program. For over forty years, this summer program has brought approximately 20 American Students to work in France. This reciprocal exchange allows students to gain in-depth, first hand knowledge of a foreign culture and lifestyle. Throughout the year, the Montpellier Committee seeks host families and employers to help support this program. Each year the Montpellier Committee sponsors several events for the students, these include: the annual Mayors Brunch, the Annual Corn Festival, the Bastille Day, and an Au Revoir Celebration. SCL raises money each year for the Montpellier Scholarship Fund. This scholarship allows for a Montpellier student to study at the University of Louisville for a full academic year. A scholarship exchange is reciprocated by the University of Montpellier, which also provides a scholarship for a Louisville student to study in Montpellier. These educational exchanges have led to several students pursuing Masters Degrees and employment in their Sister City.
In 1980, former Louisville Mayor Stansbury signed a city-to-city and chamber-to-chamber agreement with Montpellier to broaden business relationships and to stimulate trade between the two cities. In 1989, the two cities held a Technopole Conference in Montpellier to solidify plans for economic development in the fields of medicine and agriculture. Today, Louisville continues to advance its goals of economic development by hosting Montpellier visitors in Louisville and arranging for Montpellier professionals to meet their counterparts.
Arts and Culture
Louisville and Montpellier have worked together in building exchanges for choral groups, the cities operas, and sports exchanges. The Louisville Free Public Library has donated several book shipments to le BibliothÃƒÂ¨que Americaine in Montpellier. Sister Cities International honored Louisville with a special award for arranging the French summer of 1989. During this summer, SCL organized several cultural events to recognize and celebrate Louisvilles French heritage, and to enhance its relationship with Montpellier.