Terrible Start, Great Finish

Trip Start Apr 18, 2010
Trip End Jul 07, 2010

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Where I stayed
Abasun Hotel Montpellier Centre
Read my review - 1/5 stars

Flag of France  , Languedoc-Roussillon,
Friday, May 21, 2010

Walking the streets of Montpellier having not taken a shower and feeling like crap, my first order of business was to get something to eat. Yesterday I stumbled upon an awesome French Crepe restaurant, so I decided to check it out. It's run by a really nice older French couple (Alain and Nicole) who don't speak any English at all, but thankfully I spent $60K developing my iTranz iPhone App which I put to the test. Well what do you know, it works! I ordered a ham, cheese, and potato crepe which was really good and reasonably priced too!

While I was eating, these two guys came in, and ordered some other items NOT on the menu. It turns out the owner Alaine is a really good chef and makes many other great dishes for people but by request only. The one guy had veal (which I won't eat) but the other guy ordered a really awesome looking steak with fettucini Alfredo. Man that smelled good. So I called Alain over and pointed to the guy's steak and said "I want that!". He told me to come back tonight at 8:00 for dinner and he would make it for me. So, I proclaimed Alain my official Chef For The Day!

After lunch I headed over to the really nice tourist office nearby, grabbed a map, and started walking. Even though the city itself is pretty big, the main cultural and historical attractions are all right in the center which is the old part of the city, so they were all only a short walk away. My first stop was the really old Saint Pierre Cathedral which looks like something out of a Dracula movie. But it is only open from 10:30 a.m. to Noon and again at 6:30 p.m., so I just missed it. If only my hotel had hot water, I would've taken a shower, been out the door a lot earlier, and made it on time. See how one poorly chosen hotel can ruin a trip!

My next stop was the historic University of Montpellier School of Medicine which was right next to the Cathedral. It's where Nostradamus attended but got expelled. Not much to see really. A couple of old buildings, a few plaques honoring the professors who taught there which were pretty cool, and a few statues. Classes were in session so I wasn't allowed to just wander around too much.

Across the street is the Jardin des plantes de Montpellier, the oldest botanical garden in Europe which was started in 1593 and contains just about one of every plant on Earth. That's one HUGE garden! If you're into plants, this is the place for you. I actually found it pretty interesting, and it was a great place to practice shooting some macro photography with my new camera. I must of spent 2 hours just taking pictures of plants. Other photographers were there too doing the same thing.

Just down the street from the Botanical Garden is the Porte du Peyrou Triumphal Arch. No not that big one, that's in Paris. This is it's smaller cousin, and it stands at the entrance to the old city, and next to this giant park that contains a really old Romanesque bridge used as a water delivery system.

My final stop was a really cool looking church I stumbled upon. It's a pretty nice old church, on the outside. But inside it's no church. They turned it into an art gallery! Personally I don't see how a church could or should be used for anything other than a church. And there was graffiti on the sign too! Kinda tacky.

At this point I was sweaty and in desperate need of a shower so headed back to my room, praying that the hot water was on. Of course, it wasn't! The guy said not until 8 or 9 tonight! WTF??? But I just couldn't continue on feeling all gross and everything, so I was forced to take a freezing cold shower. Well, I will say that however extremely unpleasant it was, it did wake me up LOL! Now with only a few hours left in Montpelier I had a choice, either go for a ride on that futuristic tram and see the Gothic Cathedral which was opening again soon, or do some badly needed laundry at the place just down the street. I called ahead to my hotel in Cannes to ask how much laundry service was. 10€ per shirt!!!! Well, I guess my decision was made for me and I had to do some laundry. The first place I went was in pretty bad shape after being what looked like vandalized, so I went to another one just down the street. It was reasonably priced (5€ to both wash and dry) so at least I caught a bit of a break.

With laundry out of the way, I was ready for the main event of the day, Dinner! But first I had to stop and try this drink my friend Frank told me about, Kir Royal which is basically just Champagne with some raspberry liqueur. I'm not big on Champagne really, and it was a bit pricey at 7€ but it was very good. All the cafes have been serving this weird little fruit as a garnish that I've never seen before, but it's pretty good too!

Then it was back to the Crepe restaurant for dinner with Chef Alain and his wife Nicole. The place was packed. Alain was very happy to see me again and Nicole had reserved a nice seat right at the entrance just for me. Man can this guy cook! Nothing fancy, just some good regular food like normal people eat every day, but A LOT! The steak was perfectly cooked, and so was the pasta. He also made me a nice potato with Thyme, served me some really fresh cheeses and bread, and Nicole served me all the wine I could drink! That was a perfect meal and boy was I stuffed. If you're reading this, thank you again Alain and Nicole for the wonderful meal and warm hospitality. Next time I visit I will definitely stop by and see you again!

Still early, I decided to stop by this cool British Pub for one last quick drink before turning in. Of course I met a ton of really nice people, and one drink turned into 5. I was talking with this really cute and cool Moroccan and French girl who it turns out is a HUGE Iron Maiden and heavy metal fan! Before I knew it, it was 1 a.m. and closing time!

I walked back to my hotel only to discover it was locked up with no one around, and I suddenly realize I left the code to the door back in my room! Fortunately another hotel guest came by a few minutes later and let me in. Whew! That was close……..
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Veronica on

I loved Montpelier. Glad you are enjoying yourself. If you get a chance, check out the nude beach in Cap d'Agde. Definitely a memorable experience!

Ron Vitalia on

I also loved Montpellier... for the Art and the nice restaurants and bars
Go and check out St. Deni and St. Germain en laye Only vente du quillimetres de Paris! Don't forget to mention ..." Je suis tre fatigue ! so get some rest and start again tomorrow. Toulon, bordeaux valley for all the great wines!!
Check it out dude ... youl'll love it!


Ilham on

Hey! I found your travel blog!
I have a lot to catch up, but what I have read so far is quite interesting.
Thank you for mentioning me, and yeah, hail Metal :D.


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