Friday, July 1, 2016

2 Weeks in Montpellier

Today is our last day in the capital city of the Herault department in the Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrenees region of southern France.  After one jet-lagged night in Paris we took a train south and worked out the next few days of kinks here in an apartment we found on VRBO.  

I chose this city after lots of research into the region, looking for a place where Dave could work weekdays and the boys and I would have plenty to do to keep busy.
We visited three other city/towns on the weekend in the region and nearby and both Dave and I are happy that Montpellier was our choice for a home base.  We stayed in the city proper which meant we walked everywhere.  There is an extensive transit system here and we used it to visit the beach at Palavas-les-Flots twice.

On the weekend we rented a car and visited Arles, Nimes and Aigues-Mortes (the Camargue).  I plan to document the side trips in a separate post at a later date.  
It is probably a cliche that all North Americans wax poetic when traveling in Europe about how old everything is here.  Montpellier is a University town where Nostradamus studied and certainly has a fascinating history.  But it is also a very modern feeling city.  Street art, outdoor festivals, organic food stores, microbreweries, diversity, it is all here.

My only draw back about the city is that there is very little green space.  As a spoiled Vancouverite that is a hard pill for me in terms of thinking of living somewhere.  But the colours here: bright blue sky, pale stones and washed out greens were a lovely change of palate for an extended visit.

As for bringing kids here I think it's a family friendly city.  There were several "kid" attractions we did not get to or chose not to see since we are on a long trip and need to conserve our budget.  This town is not just for the young adult crowd, although I'm sure that when school is in session full time the night life may be livelier than it has been these last two weeks.

I will be posting some specific art related thoughts about the city at in a few days, so please check that out if you are interested in the art scene here.  Tomorrow we head to Bandol by train for a more small town experience.