Yes, it’s hard to believe that the Hubster and I have been married for 34 years! I can’t believe it, (I don’t think he can believe it!) that’s more than half our lives! I won’t go into all the slushy stuff, about my friend, my lover, my confidante, but suffice to say that we are still together, we must be doing something right!
Since my last post which was on the 14th July,(Bastille Day), we went to the city’s firework display that evening which was incredible, a real treat, pyrotechnics, music, all set along side a huge plain of water. We were just two of the 30.000 who attended (yes I did say ‘thirty thousand’). It was a great experience, fabulous family atmosphere and walking back among the throngs, well after midnight, I can tell you, it was a really ‘late night’ for us oldies!!
You will have got the gist by now, that I’m loving Montpellier, it’s such a lovely city and yet feels more like a large town. It is very odd but everything seems to be “10 minutes away” either on foot, by bike or tram, and we haven’t even tried the buses or trains yet!
I’m loving the historic centre, it’s not a clean and polished medieval town, it has washing hanging from the windows, cats mewling, it’s grubby, shabby in places and in fact down right dirty in others, but it has so much charm. I sometimes find it hard to believe I’m in France, it has more of a feel and resemblance to Italy.
I’m still discovering new streets, churches and cute shops and cafes tucked away within the maze of alleyways. Odds and sods, doorways, arches, courtyards and other little trinkets of interest, here there and everywhere, things I’ve already passed many times and not noticed!
There is a little street that I discovered the other day, following one of the winding alleyways, it opened up into a square with a beautiful church (St Roch). In the square was a lovely little restaurant with green and red parasols and chequered table cloths. It took me a while to realise that the wall behind the restaurant had, in fact, only ONE window, all of the rest is a trompe l’oeil! Simply brilliant, The doors, the arches, even the roof isn’t real, each tile meticulously painted in! The artist has even painted the reflection of the church into the painted window! How brilliant is that?
Taking the little street down to the left of the restaurant, I entered Rue de La Fontaine, well, another little find. The entire length of the street has bunting festooned from window to window, but no ordinary bunting, this is just scraps of material, I’ve yet to find out the significance but it’s really effective and just so original.
There is a little cluster of restaurants and bistros here, and I’ve noticed that each establishment, here in the old quarter, has a quirkiness that makes you smile. This one, The Cafe de la Marie, states proudly, along the edge of it’s red blind, “Established here since … quite a long time” Along with the mish-mash of styling, the old delivery bicycle and the graffiti, somehow it all goes together!
This next cafe has a serving window to one side where customers are perched on stools, refreshing themselves with long cool drinks in the shade of the tree. There is an air of conviviality and friendliness.
A lot of these streets are dark at ground level as the sun can’t edge it’s way down through the tall buildings but every now and then you get a flash of blue, Mediterranean sky or a ray of sunlight which hits one of the sandstone buildings which both surprises and blinds you.
I have so much more that I want to see, we are going on daily excursions visiting various different parts of the city, although it’s always such a pleasure to come back into the old quarter which is entirely car free and has such a lovely, welcoming feel to it. I’ve think I’ve got a little bit of Montpellier blood working it’s way into my veins.