10.17.14 We have been traveling Nomads for a month now!
Montpellier, city number 2 in France and 6 on our Journey thus far and yes, another fine stay it was! Montpellier was a pleasant sized city of 180,000, which we find we are enjoying more than the larger cities. We made our way around very easily by tram and the tram stop was less than a block from our apartment. We were in a little suburb of Montpelier which we really enjoyed as it had a nice neighborhood feel that was easily walkable to local markets yet the lively city center was just a short tram ride away. We really appreciated being in a quiet neighborhood at night, which allowed us to get some much needed uninterrupted sleep.
Our daily routine seems to have turned into getting up at a reasonable hour, making breakfast and coffee in our apartment from goods procured at local markets, take care of social media and online banking then heading out to explore our new area between 10 – 11 am. We generally go see main attractions that interest us, walk about the city we are in to just absorb it and then meticulously seek out our lunch for the day. Lunch has become our main meal for the day rather than dinner (which we cook back at our apartment) so we seek out places that will be an incredible culinary experience that we will remember. After lunch we generally explore a bit more or just walk around with no real agenda other than procuring that evening’s dinner and some wine at a market on our way home. It’s fun to food shop like locals; in Montpellier we had a stuffed veal dish one night and bacon wrapped rabbit stuffed with figs another – we certainly have been trying some different foods and are loving it!
One day in Montpellier we visited two sites that we wanted to see; the Aqueduct and Medicinal Botanical Garden at the University of Montpellier. The Aqueduct was amazing, such a marvel of engineering that brought the city a resource it needed to survive. How amazing it must have been to see this in action and what a beautiful piece of engineering it was as well. It was in a formal park like setting with lots of stonework, stairways and statuary. After the Aqueduct, we made our way to the botanical garden, about a 10 minute walk. The botanical garden was a real gem of a visit, we learned the garden is the oldest in France, founded in 1593 and its main focus was the growing and studying of medicinal plant species. There were, of course, many non medicinal plants to view along with beautiful stone and statuary and a large glass green house that housed a plethora of Cacti – unfortunately we were unable to go into the green house but could view everything through the glass.
The city center of Montpellier was fun to walk around, it reminded us a lot of Valencia, Spain, as there were tons of trendy little boutiques and name brand retailers. We walked the city center so much that we became familiar with our surroundings and always found our way back to where we needed to be. We found a great wine store that we went back to a couple of times that stocked a very good sampling of wines from the Languedoc region where Montpellier is located. While walking the city we found a fun fromagerie or cheese store where we picked up a couple of tasty stinky varieties recommended to us by Nicholas from Le Petit Bistrot (blog post before this one) and a Boucherie where we got some delicious veal and rabbit to bring back to our apartment and cook up.
Our last day in Montpellier was a very slow and laid back as I was still feeling a little puny from the head cold I acquired a few days prior. Nancy and I made our way one tram stop up from our apartment to a fun, quiet little neighborhood called Beaux Arts where we found a fun little traditional French restaurant that was also an antique store. The goods were surrounding the diners so as you ate you could possibly see someone looking at the chair you were sitting on as it was for sale! We had an amazing lunch. Nancy had a traditional chicken dish with rice, broth and vegetables and I had stuffed ravioli with white truffle parmesan cream sauce, both were amazing but the truffles overshadowed the chicken. It’s hard to compete with truffle. Then we stopped by the local supermarket to get provisions for the evening and watched a couple of movies we downloaded on the computer – in France we have found no English channels on the TV where in Spain there was one.
Due to my having a head cold for about 10 days the music on this video is not an original by me, so please enjoy our video with music by Lotus, song title “Travel” from their album Nomad – we thought it was fitting!