Thursday, August 18, 2016

La Plage et La Promenade

The next morning, we finally found our way to the beach. A cute little breakfast at a café followed by a jolly little tram ride and we could smell the salty sea air. The one problem? I had neglected to bring a beach towel, and after several failed attempts at locating one, including wandering way further up the beach path than originally intended, I finally had to accept defeat. Fortunately, my lovely compatriots were willing to share their cottony real estate and save me from the scalding sand.

At first glance, we were wildly impressed by the blue sea, the sandy terrain, and most specifically the fact that the landscape was noticeably UNcrowded. For a three day weekend in the middle of August, it was quite an anomaly in our eyes. We spent the next several hours lounging in the sun and taking occasional dips in the water. It was thoroughly relaxing and just what I could have hoped for.... Until we realized that there was no public bathroom in sight. Fun! One of my friends walked with me to the closest beach restaurant and did me the honor of pleading our case. Without question, the server let us through and I was once again surprised by the contrasting customs of the South. No crowds and no qualms about using a restaurant restroom? Shocking.

Our little jaunt also gave us the opportunity to see the interior of the establishment, along with the stunning cocktails so tantalizingly at our disposal. When we finally packed up our beachside camp, it seemed the only obvious decision to hunker down amidst palm trees and sleek white furniture and taste the delights of the season. It was definitely a club-like atmosphere with loud music blaring and bikini-clad ladies showing off their wears. Never fear, the topless contingency stayed out on their beach chairs and beach BEDS to get some sun. The beach beds had pillows. Enough said.

After some delightfully delicious cocktails, it was finally time to head back home for the night. As mentioned in my previous post, we hadn't decided on a restaurant to reserve at and we didn't think it would be such a problem to find something on a late Sunday eve. Wrong wrong wrong. We tried several restaurants who all claimed they were booked solid despite a plethora of tables available. We therefore jumped at the first place that would take us and I had a lovely plate of couscous as a reward.

The next morning, one of our party had opted to book an early train home, so the two remaining of us planned some last-minute sightseeing before our own departure back to Paris. En route to the Cathedrale St-Pierre, we managed to bump into the Porte du Peyrou which stands before the Place Royale du Peyrou and is also home to the stunning Chateau d'Eau and its historic aqueducts. I was actually sad that I couldn't just sit and read for the rest of the day in the tranquil square. 

After that, we did finally make it to the Cathedrale, which is definitely an impressive sight. Sadly, we discovered that the Jardins des Plantes right near by was closed, but in our wanderings we were fortunate to discover an outdoor art installation of beautifully decorated flags, as well as a very cute square lined with restaurants for our final Montpelliérain lunch. As we trekked on back to fetch our bags and jump on the train, I felt thoroughly satisfied with our weekend away. I will definitely keep Montpellier on my list of successful weekend getaways.

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