Went to Montpellier earlier this week. It was about time I visited the town which is only an hour and a half away. An excellent motorway and ring road layout has always meant I could avoid the town when travelling up north. It was decided to go by train since all services have resumed after the bout of strikes the last few months. There are 7 InterCité trains a day between Bordeaux and Marseilles which is the line we need from Carcassonne. The relatively short journey was smooth and extremely comfortable in particular since travelling 1st class for, in my case, a mere 12.50€ each way.
We arrived in Montpellier late morning and it was not difficult to find our bearings to the hotel which was a 10 minutes walk away. Firt impressions was of a clean, friendly, old but maintained vibrant city. Usually the surrounding of a main train station do not belong to the best areas in a town but not in this case.
We decide to explore the old town, on foot of course
before stopping for a refreshment and a bit of lunch in one of the many restaurants with poutside sitting and the weather being very clement it is exactly what we did.
The plan after lunch was to visit the weird looking (from the outside) St Pierre cathedral but it is closed on a Monday.
We find out that a visit to the adjacent Anatomy museum, one the largest in the world, located in the School of Medecine is by appointment through the tourist office only. Actually went to the tourist office later on that day to find out the museum was fully booked till the middle of June.
Other museums were closed, it was Monday after all and that is wht tends to happen in France on that day. Only solution left was to walk-and-discover. We actually walked miles on that day and a refreshing drink at the terrace of a café at the Place de la Comedie was more than welcome. It is also great to watch the world go by.
Only a few minutes walk from the hotel offered many restaurants. The one we were looking for did not exist anymore. We decided to try out Tchoutchou which was pleasant enough and if I may say so a very efficient and fast service. Maybe a little too fast in fact.
After a fairly goodnight sleep, and a small breakfast in a local bistrot, it is time to head back to the cathedral. Quite an impressive building.
By now I now my way around town, at least the old part, and it is no problem to walk to the Fabre Museum. It is quite a large building on 4 floors with a lot of rooms. It is actually not very clearly marked which path one should follow. I am sure we missed a few rooms.
Back outside, it is getting near aperitif time and it is not difficult to find a place to sit down and do some people watching whilst enjoying a couple of Ricards.
Lunch is nearby in the “Bistrot de L’Aveyronnais” which I would not necessarily recommend. Average food.
A final short walk round unknown till now streets and through a couple of interesting looking shops and it is time to go to the station to catch our train back to Carcassonne.
The ride home is as pleasant and comfortable as the previous ride. It gives me time to go through some of the photos I took. If you look closely, there is a lot of street art to be seen around town and some of it is very tasty indeed. I hardly saw any graffiti which is a good thing and probably due to the fact that a saw a few municipal workers cleaning up walls.
I really liked Montpellier and it will not be my last visit. I loved the old quarter with small and clean streets. I also loved all the tall palm trees which can be seen all over the place.
A town I could live in and it is only 9 kms away from the Mediterranean !!!