After a fascinating visit to Avignon back in the summer this year and Nimes last year we were keen to follow our cousins advice and see what Montpellier had to offer. Our chance came to piggyback our cousin’s changeover day on her city centre flat. This was an opportunity for Nick and I to sit back and enjoy the ride and have a tour of what promised to be a beautiful French city. It was a Sunday so all the shops were shut which instantly put the kids off joining us, staying back with the swimming pool and ping pong won hands down for them!
We parked up in a small city side street where there was no sign of any parking charges and helped with the essentials of changeover before walking the few minutes from the well positioned flat into the centre of Montpellier. Here was a town built to impress and to be enjoyed. So much public money goes into making French towns and cities so grand, I feel slightly guilty waltzing in as a tourist to enjoy the results having paid no French tax myself! It was the little side streets and architecture that caught my eye, all so exquisite in design and so very typically French.
The main shopping streets were lined with palm trees and more than once I had to watch out for trams as I strode out in the direction of something new that caught my eye.
Huge boulevards flanked with cafes, blooming summer flowers, fountains and ornate lamp posts made a perfect Sunday stroll in the afternoon sun.
Our reward for walking the full length was a towering Arc de Triomphe and further park beyond. From here we could see out across the open countryside and back towards the city. There were even information boards to help you gather your bearings.
Back in the central shopping square we soaked up the cafe culture with ice creams. I am the first to say I am not a city girl, but somehow this vibrant city captured my heart. It was full of students arriving for the new term at the universities, families picnicking in the parks and workers enjoying their lunch breaks. There was an air of optimism and pride in their city and I can see why, it truly is a beautiful place and one I hope to return to one day.
If you ever have the chance to visit, don’t be put off by the sprawling suburbs, skyscrapers and graffiti visible from the motorway which skirts past the outer edges, the city centre is a true French gem. There is even a new modern train station that takes you right to the centre if you don’t fancy driving in and this itself is a work of art.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.