After being told multiple times by my Montpellier born-and-bred flatmate that Toulouse is only part of the ‘wannabe’ south of France, I thought I should give his beloved city a visit and test out this theory.
One of the best things about everyone on your course doing a year abroad, is that you can go and visit your friends in their various cities, a Tour de France if you will. So the next stop on my list was the sunny city of Montpellier where one of my course mates is living. Close to the coast and boasting a beautiful town centre, I couldn’t wait to see what this city had to offer, so here is what me and a couple of friends did with 24 hours in Montpellier…
Promenade de Payrou
After dropping off our bags at our air bnb, we decided to head out and explore our surroundings. Luckily for us, our apartment was located right near the centre, which meant it wasn’t long before we came across this beautiful promenade. Headed by a beautiful mini Arc de Triomph, this huge open space sat high above the city, giving panoramic views.
The area was filled with elegant monuments, each completely different from one another yet equally brilliant. This place would be perfect to sit and watch the sun set in the evening.
Place de la comédie
Place de la Comédie is the hub of the city. Lined with shops, restaurants and beautiful buildings, it was everything I expected and more from a city in southern France.
From day to night, there was always something going on here. Street performers occupied the square, dancing, singing and playing musical instruments. This gave it such a lively atmosphere.
In the evening we ate at one of the restaurants in the main square which did the NICEST food, for a fair price. I would highly recommend eating out at Place de la Comédie because the busy, lively atmosphere makes for a great evening!
We couldn’t go and visit our friend without trying out some of the Montpellier night-life. That would simply be rude. So we headed out to a new club that he hadn’t tried before. Most of the good clubs are a bit further out of the centre so you have to get a tram or an Uber, but in this case it was totally worth it.
When it comes to going out, as long as I’m with my friends and have good music, I’m happy. So the size and good vibe of this club was just a bonus. Overall I had a really good night, although the price of entry and drinks at the bar left a lot to be desired.
The next day was somewhat tragic. Since deciding to go to Montpellier, we had had our hearts set on going to the beach. And once we arrived and were greeted by the notoriously beaut southern weather, we knew we simply HAD to go.
However, I think we may have overestimated our time-keeping skills.
Waking up hungover after insisting that we ‘weren’t going to drink that much’, you can probably already see how this narrative is unfolding.
To save time we decided to take our suitcases to the beach so we didn’t have to return to the air bnb later on. The beach was only a tram ride and a short uber away, but what we didn’t anticipate is the laissez-faire attitude of French Uber drivers. Something almost unimaginable in the big cities of the UK, there were no Uber drivers available. This meant that a 6 minute drive became a sweaty, half an hour, suitcase-dragging walk. But determined as ever, we soldiered on.
In reality this whole experience took much longer than we thought so we ended up only spending about half an hour on the beach before running home to catch our bus. Nevertheless we got to dip our toes in the water, I wouldn’t say it did all that much for my tan though…
So that was the mildly pathetic end to our trip to Montpellier, but it honestly makes me laugh when I think about it! Overall I had such a great time in the city, I only wish I could have stayed a bit longer to explore more. I suppose my flat mate was right that his city is part of the ‘true south’, with its palm trees, beaches and everlasting warm weather, but that doesn’t get in the way of my love affair with Toulouse.