Time speeds up for the Roamers
After returning from our Stockholm trip and hosting a little dinner party, we deliberately slowed things down a bit. We were fatigued from so much travel, so much company! When I finally got a bit stir-crazy, we decided to visit the Montpellier aquarium, Planet Ocean Montpellier. It was remarkable!
Tiny sea creatures greeted us
The exhibits were well done and varied. We didn’t take time to read all the information, as the place was crowded with tons of families and kids. One tiny girl rushed over and hugged my legs–but when she looked up and saw I wasn’t her mommy, she was horrified! Her mom giggled with me as she comforted her disconcerted daughter.
One of the permanent residents
When our son Grayson was little, he was obsessed with penguins. He had a stuffed penguin whose beak he’d chewed to bits, and for a long time we gifted him with penguins of all sorts (except live penguines. We didn’t give him any of those). We still think of him every time we see a penguin, so at the aquarium he was with us in spirit!
Penguins! Lots of them! A bit stinky!
We enjoyed the aquarium and recommend a visit there. As a bonus, they have a couple of funhouse mirrors, probably designed to entertain kiddos. We loved the one that made us look thin!
The only way we’ll look skinny!
One of our favorite things to do on Sundays is visit the brocante (flea market) at the Promenade de Peyrou. I never tire of seeing the interesting, odd things people are selling there.
This hat is for sale!
Sometimes bizarre, sometimes charming, often compelling, the wares of the vendors at the brocante vary from china/crystal/silver to vintage clothing, from original artwork to furniture, from toys to treasures. We’ve made a few purchases but mostly we just enjoy browsing and people-watching.
Delightful doll clothes
After our self-imposed break from living at breakneck speed, we greeted house guests Gayla and Trish, college friends of Phil’s. He and Gayla, an amazing artist, worked together and have stayed close, but he hadn’t seen Trish, who lives in New Jersey, in years, and I’d never even met her.
Gayla showing her work at a shop in Oklahoma
They arrived after spending a few days in Paris, and we were eager to show them our beautiful city.
Trish, Gayla, and Phil, waiting for le bus
The evening they arrived, we joined other friends for an organ concert at the Cathédral Saint-Pierre de Montpellier, which has the most beautiful organ I’ve ever seen. Afterwards, our group of eight strolled to la Coquille for a lovely outdoor dinner.
Light show at the organ concert, courtesy of the stained glass windows
It was a great first night. The next morning we visited the Les Arceaux marché, a wonderful organic outdoor market where we stocked up on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Olives at the marché
Phil schlepped our purchases home while I took Gayla and Trish to see the Arc de Triomphe and the statue of Louis XIV on his horse at the nearby Promenade de Peyrou.
A friendly tree on our path; wonder who lives in there?
Gayla, who had felt tired all morning (we all assumed it was the pace of travel), ran out of steam, so we headed home to rest. Unfortunately, she tested positive for Covid. We all worked to make the best of the situation, with Gayla isolating in the guest room, Trish “sleeping”on the living room sofa, and all of us staying in for the required three days until we could test. After testing negative, Trish, Phil, and I were able to get out (wearing masks inside). We took Trish to the brocante, where she bought gifts (including a gorgeous set of champagne flutes for us!).
Brocante vendors enjoying an elegant lunch
Trish trained as an artist and has resumed her creative work, working in pastels. She was excited to visit the Jardin des Plantes, a botanical garden founded in 1593. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place where she spent a day sketching.
Water lilies at Jardin des Plantes
On the last day of their visit, with Gayla cleared to get out, I took Trish and Gayla on a walking tour of the beautiful medieval pedestrian streets of Montpellier. We poked into shops where they bought souvenirs and gifts before meeting Phil at le Kiosk Fabre, the outdoor cafe near the famed Musée Fabre. After lunch I headed home for a video call with friend and former colleague Sally, while Phil took our guests to the Fabre, which they both loved. That evening, their last night with us, we headed back into lÉcusson for drinks and dinner at our favorite bar, Smash Bar. On the way, of course we had to peek into the shop windows
Is this the bed from “The Princess and the Pea”?
We had a delightful dinner outside, with the usual exceptional hosting from the family who run Smash Bar. After dinner we strolled around the neighborhood before heading home.
Happy, healthy diners!
The next morning we said goodbye to our friends and settled in to relax for the weekend. I’ll be honest: I didn’t even get out of my pajamas until Saturday, when it was time to head to our second monthly dinner soirée. Facebook group Americans in Montpellier organizes it, with sponsorship from Renestance, the company that helped–and continues to help–us move to France. I’m a guest blogger for Renestance, and you can see all of their blogs, including mine, here.
The second lovely dinner soirëe
So that’s a wrap for July! After so much travel, house guests, and HEAT, we’re looking forward to a quiet August before we head to the U.S. in September. Time to get back into a daily routine!