Friday, March 13, 2020

Arriving in Montpellier, France

We fly into Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport and catch the high-speed TGV train from the airport to Montpellier on the Mediterranean, a 3 hour, 47 minute, 775 km (480 mile) journey.  On arrival, we pause to listen to someone playing the public piano ("À vous de jouer") in the train station, then check into our hotel and walk along the River Lez to Montpellier's old town, stretching our legs and seeking dinner.

 Montpellier train station

 Along the River Lez

In the center of town, at Place de la Comédie, we view a small protest, a sign of the times (and, we'll view larger ones in Paris in a few days), which winds down as the cocktail hour starts up, and continue into the middle of the Old Town, near the Marché de Montpellier food hall, where we settle in at Café des Arts for our first dinner in France (this trip):  terrine du chef with toast, garlic and parsley, grilled squid, and fillet of dorade, along with a carafe of the house wine.  Ah, we're back in France!

 Terrine, squid, dorade

After dinner, we wander through the streets of Montpellier, enjoying the sights and sounds of this seaside college town.  Montpellier is the seventh largest city in France, located on the Mediterranean about 170 km (105 miles) west of Marseille, and 185 km (115 miles) northeast of the French-Spanish border.  Nearly a third of the population consists of students at the seven universities and the oldest, The University of Montpellier, was founded in 1220 and is the oldest medical school in the West that is still in operation.

 Walking back through the streets of Montpellier

 It's good to be back for a few days of exploration.

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