Saturday, March 15, 2014

Winter break 2014: Our last stop in amazing Montpellier

After nearly two years of residing in France, I feel as if Ken and I have seen only a tiny part of this amazing country. And we haven't even dipped our toe into the rest of Europe: Avoir de la patience! Last month, however, we visited the South of France, taking the opportunity to spend time with my sister and brother-in-law who were taking a break from New England's winter weather.

After a great week with amazing (finally!) weather, we head home, with a stop in what quickly becomes one my favorite French cities: Montpellier. With around 75,000 university students, this city is brimming with youthful energy. We park outside the city in a huge, empty garage (it's Sunday, but I assume it's full on weekdays) and take the tram to Place de la Comédie, a site that is brimming with amateurs de café and amuseurs publics. We take advantage of student-priced kebabs and fries near Gare Saint-Roch. Thankfully, I will be able to walk off some calories on our promenade.

The Neoclassical 19th century Opéra Comédie   
Place de la Comédie is one of the largest pedestrian areas in Europe.

Eating lunch along rue
de Maguelone
The Hôtel Saint-Côme mansion
was built to be an amphithéâtre
for the surgery school.

I am totally enchanted with a building at Place Saint-Roch, adorned with murals including a "reflection" of the church across the plaza and the house's whimsical residents. Look carefully at the next four photographs:

Église Saint-Roch is named for Montpellier's patron saint.
After we admire Montpellier's Arc de Triomphe, we discover Place Royale du Peyrou spread out in front of us. A statue of Louis XIV à cheval sits in the center, and the Château d'Eau, the Corinthian temple which held the city's water supply, overlooks the Aqueduc Saint-Clement (les Arceaux), built in 1754 to bring drinking water to Montpellier from the springs of Saint-Clément. The view from this summit is amazing.
Montpellier's Arc de Triomphe is a copy of that
more famous (and snootier, we hear) monument
in Paris.


This mascaron may have the best view in town from the Château d'Eau.

Since we still have a sizable drive ahead of us, we take just a quick peak at the oldest botanical garden in France, which sports the unimaginative name, Jardin des Plantes. Une telle honte! Still so much to see, but I'm sure we'll be coming back to Montpellier again some day.

Jardin des Plantes

No comments:

Post a Comment