, pub-1971575927446776, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Connoisseur's Guide to Montpellier - Connoisseur Magazine
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Connoisseur’s Guide to Montpellier

Written by Aksel Ritenis
EleanorWhen you think of the South of France, it’s Nice, Monaco and St Tropez that normally spring to mind. So why am I heading to Montpellier in the South West of France instead of some of the South of France’s more glitzier relatives you may well ask. And I wouldn’t blame you, because this is what I was thinking when I jumped onto a very full easy jet flight from Gatwick to visit a friend who had recently moved to Montpellier for work. I soon began to change my mind though!

The airport is very close to Montpellier, so within 20 minutes my friend and I were wandering through Montpellier’s charming historic city centre, which has more beautiful old buildings, lop sided churches, dusty antique shops and winding cobbled streets than you can shake a baguette at.

We headed first to the Place de la Comédie, which is the epicentre of Montpellier, for a coffee and sat and watched the world go by. With the sun on my skin, rainy old London already seemed a long way away and I was already day dreaming about relocating here. After that we decided to walk along the neighboring Champ de Mars, a tree-lined esplanade where there is a daily street market, funky art gallery the Musée Fabre and a clutch of bistros.

Our minds started to turn to lunch and I was pleased to discover that we were spoilt for choice. We decided on Les Bains, which is situated in Montpellier’s restored 18th century former public baths. The setting is magnificent, the old shower booths have been transformed into several dining rooms all connected by a glass and metal gallery and there is an inner courtyard with shady palm trees and ornamental ponds.

We opted for the prix fixe three course menu, which was a very reasonable 20 euro’s. The first course was a delicious pumpkin soup served in a glass with a parma ham wrapped breadstick placed on top and a side salad of mixed leaves, roasted tomato skins and pickled chestnuts. The next course of monkfish, roasted vegetables and rice was equally as delicious and filling, so much so that we opted for the fruit salad desert instead of the tempting crème brulée on offer.

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Aksel Ritenis

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