Montpellier

Montpellier is along the French Mediterranean coast, west of Marseilles.  There are several universities in this city, which accounts for the lively energy that is prevalent throughout the city, manifesting in engaged conversation in all the outdoor eateries.

Again, we chose to stay in the heart of the historic district.  Our Airbnb was a walkup studio on the 2nd floor—which means 3 floors up.  Opening the huge door from the street, we trustingly entered a dank and gloomy hallway.  Visions of the tomb of Ligeia!  However, after 3 flights of cement stairs and 2 more locked doors, we entered our light, clean and well- equipped micro apartment, where we stayed almost a week.

The city was energizing and fun.  The cafes were lively and omnipresent; there were hundreds of bars and restaurants in the historic area.  Patisseries everywhere.  The district is a maze of interconnecting, narrow streets.  We loved walking for hours, window shopping, stopping now and then for a flat-white(Australian Latte) and fabulous almond crossants.  We encountered friendly waiters and storekeepers, who were kind to us and made an effort to bridge the language gap. There is a tram system for efficient travel around the city in all directions.

We had a memorable experience as we stood in front of one of Montpellier’s two opera houses, The Opera Comedie, wishing we could enter the lobby for a peak.  A very lovely Frenchwoman approached us, offered us two tickets, and rushed us inside for a showing of The Kid, by Charlie Chaplin, accompanied with enthusiasm by the Montpellier Orchestra, playing Chaplin’s original musical score. The gracious lady, it turned out, was an opera singer, who gave us her phone number in case we had any problems while in her city.

We hiked up to the top of the historic district, close to one of the universities, and had a panoramic view of the larger Montpellier, and a close up view of one of the ancient aqueducts. We visited the botanical gardens as well.

Around midnight in Montpellier on Halloween, there was a lot of activity/festivity/revelry.  From our open window, we heard voices, squeals, large groups bursting into song, in French, of course, laughter, revving motorcycles, the clacking of high heels on the street.  Cheering, even!  There were a lot of stores with Halloween decorations.  A few people were in costume, some with Day of the Dead face paint.

Au revoir, Montpellier!