La Petite Université – Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Have you heard that there is a new university au Pays du Mont-Blanc?  It’s called La Petite Université – Chamonix Mont-Blanc!

If you weren’t able to attend the journée présentation back in July, then you will find some of the team this Saturday 9th September, from 10h to 16h, on the Promenade du Fori (along the Arve river, after the Place du Mont-Blanc), at the «Forum des Associations» in Chamonix.  There, you will be able to discover some of the treats in store for this academic year at La Petite Université . . . subjects on offer include: glaciology, permaculture, photography, and French & English lessons.  You will also be able to become a member of the association and to sign-up to the courses on offer.


Juliette Craplet, the founder and vice-president of La Petite Université, told me a little bit more about the inspiration behind her project . . .

She has lived in Chamonix for 7 years, and like many of us who have settled in this majestic mountain valley and truly made it our home, she came regularly as a child to Chamonix (her family own a chalet here); Chamonix has thus always been an integral part of her life.  The idea for La Petite Université developed gradually, and she drew inspiration from her encounters with the people who had grown up in the valley or those who had chosen this unique spot to be their home; she realised that there were many people like herself seeking a diverse cultural programme, as a complement to the pleasure offered by the mountains and mountain sports.  Once the idea had begun to form, it took Juliette about a year to mould the project into what it is today; a huge amount of work, considering all of the courses now on offer and the specialists she has tracked down to teach them!  She says that along the way she drew inspiration also from the Universités Populaires and the Universités du Temps Libre that already exist in many towns in France.  Asked whether she will be taking any of the courses on offer at La Petite Université, the answer is a definite YES!


What is La Petite Université?

La Petite Université is an association offering cultural courses and complementary talks/events/outings/workshops to people with free time. On offer are subjects in the domains of: Social Science, Science, Languages, and the Arts.

The aim is to make learning accessible to everyone, and to create a social and intergenerational link within the community.

© La Petite Université Chamonix

How does La Petite Université work?

First of all, you need to become an adhérant (member) of La Petite Université (adults: 40€ / couples: 70€ / children: 30€), and with this membership you have the right to attend all of the talks taking place for free.  You need to be a member to sign up to do the courses (organised on a trimester basis), which are very reasonably priced.

To see some of the talks/events on offer, see here.


What subjects are on offer?

Social Science: political science, literature, sports sociology, history, philosophy, transgenerational analysis;

Science:  meteorology, glaciology, altitude ecosystems, mineralogy, sports physiology;

Languages: English & French for adults, English & French for children;

Arts: life drawing, photography, permaculture, computer studies & new media;


Where are the courses being taught?
The courses are to be being taught at various locations in Chamonix, Les Houches and Argentière:
  • the École Militaire de Haute Montagne (EMHM) in Chamonix;
  • the École Jeanne d’Arc in Chamonix;
  • the Étape in Argentière;
  • Blue Ice in Les Houches;

What classes are available for children?

«Les Petits Bilingues» courses are available for children (5 to 10 years) in French and English, during the academic year.

There are also workshops available over the holidays – «Blabla Kids» – mixing the acquisition of French or English with fun outdoor activities; a confirmed and fun way of getting children (or adults!) to absorb a language is by mixing language learning with an activity.


More about the team

Juliette has a team working with her, both behind the scenes or in the classroom (be that classroom indoors or outdoors!):

  • Céline de Paoli (Vice-President);
  • Philippe Craplet (President);
  • Myriam Khiter (Responsible for Languages);
  • Chantal de Paoli (Treasurer);
To learn more about the specialists presenting/teaching the subjects on offer, take a look at each individual course on the website; they are a diverse and talented group of people (some of them you may have already encountered!).

For more information, see the website here, or head along to the «Forum des Associations» tomorrow in Chamonix.

Bonne Rentrée!

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