Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Montpellier--After a Hard Night

My favorite Australians, Kirsty from You Had Me at Bonjour and her family came to our neck of the woods this past long weekend. We decided to meet them in Montpellier for lunch; a time to see the city and have some fun.

Unfortunately, Montpellier didn't put on her pretty dress for them.

In fact, she looked kinda scary, like she'd pulled an all-nighter and hadn't yet recovered, mascara smudged, stockings torn. And I hate that because usually it's a lovely city with clean pedestrian areas, the big fun playground, great light for photographs and happy people-watching on the Place de la Comédie.

{Place de la Comédie}
The wacky Dr Seuss park had broken rosé bottles under the slides (rosé is what the French 'gangs' drink I guess) and there was a contingent of camping dread-locked hippies with two dogs a piece on the stage along the Esplanade. Whiffy!

We decided to have an early lunch of crépes on the Place de la Comédie and got a big, long table for all ten of us. We ate our crépes of all varieties--sucre, fromage, créme de marrons--and enjoyed a moment of chatting and laughter causing an orchestra of Australian and American accents with some French thrown in.

The kids were delighted to be together and when they'd finished their crépes we let the big kids go out into the plaza and have a run around. And that's when one of the kids got knocked down by a scooter illegally zipping through. You should know straight away that it was all okay in the end and he wasn't badly hurt (amazing). But it was terrifying; causing us all to tremble and feel more than a bit sick to our stomachs.
Another blow for Ms Montpellier. Her dress was torn and she stumbled as she did the walk of shame.

After the Baddie with no scooter license was sent away with his 'borrowed' scooter on a police escorted tow truck, we tried to collect ourselves and get on with the afternoon.

We walked across the pedestrian part of town, through the shopping center and into Antigone with the fabulous fountain towards the river Lez. There was an extreme sports rally on and we thought the boys would like to see guys on wakeboards jumping and doing tricks on the river. It was okay but even the boys thought it was kinda lame. Boring, to be exact. So we headed back toward the fountain.

{Fabulous Fountain}
I swear, that fountain is the best thing that's ever happened to my kids and apparently the Aussie kids too. It is pretty cool--with its sequence of sprays ranging from full on water-to-the-sky-blast to cheeky, arched dolphin sprays.
And no child can resist tempting it, running through, standing a bit too near, jumping on the tiny bursts before they turn into a geyser. All six of them got gradually more soaked until their clothes were wringing wet and their giggles and shouts enticed others to join in.

That fountain was one of the first things we loved about Montpellier when we came for a visit and now that we live here it continues to deliver. Not like how sometimes when you vacation somewhere and think it's the best thing ever and then you come back time and again and it loses its luster. Not this fountain, it still sparkles.
{big kids at the fountain that first time}

And it saved the day for me. And for the kids too. And I hope for Kirsty and her Mister.


  1. Can't really think of anything to say....

    Just wanted to be the first commenter?

    All the best


  2. I'm so sorry you had a bad time in Montpellier (which is where I live!). Was it this past Sunday? Because Saturday was the enormous, city-wide Pride fest, which went on well through the morning hours, and knowing Montpel it didn't quite get back up on its feet until Monday.

  3. Were you there on Sunday? If so the city's hangover could have been from watching the rugby on the large screen outside. There were thousands there.
    And French gangs totally drink rosé, they're classy like that (hobos too) x

  4. Hi Keith,
    It's so nice to have you back in blogland with us.

    Christine and Sara,
    You guys are totally right. I know it was a combo of those things and the extreme sports thing as well. I just hated that that was how Kirsty saw it when we know it can be so nice and pretty.
    Christine we live nearby enough to say that's where we live but in reality we're in the burbs!

  5. I have never been to Montpellier and have always wanted to. Beautiful pics!

  6. Brenna,
    You should come visit for sure. It's a great city...just don't come after a big festival and rugby match on a long weekend. Come in the summer for the wine festival that is held every Friday night. It's so wonderful.
    And then I can meet you!
    aidan xo

  7. Aiden, I live in centre ville so I get the crazy nights as well as the aftermath! Hit me up if you want to grab a coffee (or a bagel sadnwich?!) in town, anytime! Christine

  8. Oh Aidan, we had a wonderful time (apart from the scooter incident) and loved Montpellier. And who would I be to complain having had my fair share of very untidy Sunday mornings, in those long-ago days before kids! Will show you how beautiful your city is - will have those pics up soon! Thanks again for a great day x x

  9. Oh no! So glad no one was seriously hurt...I can confirm: Montpellier can be very charming--and she can have her bad hair days.

  10. I really enjoy reading your blog. We are holidaying in Montpellier again this year - we have been every year since 2008! We always stay in Antigone and love the fountains! I think of them throughout the year - especially on dreary winter nights (how sad am I?!!). My girls love them too and spend hours playing in them on holiday.

    I can't wait till our trip in July and secretly hope that we will find a job and end up staying. Whenever it is our last day I always say 'Let's pack up and move here' and the girls never disagree!

    I was a bit shocked about the scooter incident - glad no-one was hurt. Must have been scary though!

    I'll keep reading and wishing I was there and counting the days. The other day we were discussing 'Estivales' and drinking wine from out Estivales wine glasses! Can't wait!


  11. Monica,
    I'm so happy that you enjoy my blog. It is so nice to hear.
    You should stay. It is such a fantastic life here and there is a wide network of support.
    Email me off line if you like and we can have a glass of that Estivales wine this summer when you're here.
    We have a huge collection of glasses from last year and I've looked forward to it starting up again all year long. The first one is june 24th! Yay!

    All the best,
    Aidan x

  12. Hi Aidan,

    I have sent you an email - hope you get it as emails from my account often get junked!


  13. Aidan,
    At least you got some gorgeous photos of the children in Montpellier. Really REALLY pretty pictures of the kids looking at the fountain. I'd say drink some Rosé and toast to a better time in Montpellier!


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