This article is part of of my French summer escapades. Welcome to Montpellier, a student city, known since several decades as a city of excellence. Montpellier was awarded as the most cultural, most innovative and most social city. The list of qualities of the gifted city is long. You will discover an international hub for dancing to music festivals, culture,cinema, the popular Pavilion and a center for photography. You’ll feel the happiness in this hyperactive bustling city.
You already know that I like to go “local” in terms of accommodation; it’s a habit of mine because I find it convenient and inexpensive. Since we were only two, we chose a small studio nestled at the edge of the historic center and close to the Royal Square Peyrou. Greeted by Alexander, he gave us within a couple of minutes a few attractive tips and the directions to go to the beach as the sea is close to the city.
Atypik restaurant, 15 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The first discovery at the foot of our love nest was an original restaurant with a creative decoration: your coasters are made out of vinyl (Dvorak Slavonic dances for myself) and a Betty Boop lamp provides you with light. We ate a spicy gazpacho served in a pot sailing on a small boat. The prawns and citrus salad is delicious, but it’s the dessert which is amazing: pistachio and avocado smoothie with sparkling sugar.. yummy, I still dream of it.
Bento Café, 44 rue de l’Université
The award of the best place to eat goes to the Bento Café, subtitled “the real deal in terms of Japanese cuisine”. And it’s 100% accurate. It has a family atmosphere and it’s really good. The bento is made on site by Dajinja in the kitchen while Olivier is in charge of welcoming and serving you with kindness. We ate there twice. A little travel anecdote: Olivier helped me find an urgent dentist during an improbable Saturday (at the end however, may I suggest you travel with a cloves oil bottle in your travel pharmacy which is much more simple).
La Chineuse en Vadrouille, 42 rue de l’Université
After this good meal with a coffee and a lychee ice cream, I stepped inside the second hand store located just a little further up the street (do go up and down several times inside the store). The name given by the owner already gives you a clue as to what to expect: the bargain hunter out and about (i.e. La Chineuse en Vadrouille). Cecilia is charming and has a gifted taste. In her shop, you will find clothing, jewellery, accessories which take you far away from Desigual, H&M or Zara! Thank god! And I personally fell for a piece of a Barcelona designer. She also made me discover a local artist called Evelyn Perez whose paintings where exhibited inside the store.
Muyuka, 25 rue de l’Aiguillerie
Another fashion store you will find is called Muyuka but trust me, every 2 meters in Montpellier is a fashion store. I couldn’t resist (yet again) and I bought a little Dass & Co Parisian designer dress.
Bikes and beach
The last episode of this trip took place on a bike: Velomagg is a self service (yes, biking comes with every city I visit). You can reach the Carnon beach by bike but the ride will take you two good hours! So if you’re not ready to pedal that much, take the tram 3 to its terminal where you will also find bikes for rent but it will take you only 20 minutes to reach the beach.
If you actually make this epic trip, you will sleep like a log.