Monday, August 4, 2014

Our summer vacation Part 2: Montpelier and Aix-en-Provence

We set off from Barcelona and headed out to Montpelier, France which is in the Languedoc region. Our plan was to stop at one city in each region we crossed on our way to Monaco. My overall impressions of Montpelier is that it was nice, but there wasn't a lot to do without a car. I'm sure the region would've been amazing if we had a better way to get around, but for our walking/bussing/training only travel, it wasn't the greatest hub ever. That being said, I'm still happy we went, as the city and people were truly lovely.

 We stayed in an artist's loft apartment with this beautiful little courtyard in the middle and a nice view of one of the church spires out the kitchen window

 After our first night, we had really seen all of the sights that the city had to offer. So we went out for a bike ride (my first time since I learned how to ride a bicycle over 10 years ago!!!!) toward Palavas. I had read that you could bike to Palavas, where there is a beach, and have a bit of a break before heading off to a lonely castle sitting on an almost island, surrounded by wetlands (we were near to Camargue nature reserve).

 Unfortunately, due to bike shop lunchtime closure and having a train to catch, we didn't quite make it to Palavas.
If I could do it over, I probably would've preferred to be closer to Camargue, maybe even staying in Palavas so that we could see Montpelier, but also see the wetlands and Mediterranean. That would be my helpful tip to anyone with a short amount of time in the region!

We were off to our next region, Provence, and stayed in Aix-en-Provence. Aix seemed quite a bit pricier than Montpelier and I got the impression that more wealthy tourism occurred in this region. That isn't meant to be good or bad, just an observation.

 The view from outside our front doors
 The most delicious restaurant!!!

 Cezanne was very popular with the city
 In the morning, before heading to the bus station, we stopped by a local market for some breakfast things. I sincerely believe that I was meant to be European, with all of the markets scattered around the continent and my undying love for them. I even got to practice my (terrible) French, which was quite nice.

 The view on our way out of Provence.
I would recommend an overnight stay in Aix. It is beautiful and the people are wonderful. The food is delicious and you can really get a feel for their culture. But again, we didn't get to properly explore the Provence region. And I think it would be best suited to someone with a car.

The next post will contain our final leg of the trip: Nice and Monaco!!

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