As I said, the next 2-3 weeks are going to be a bit hectic. Everything is wrapping up: exams, goodbyes, planning for Italy. However, I do want to share a little bit about my break so this is going to be serialized through a picture or two per post and short description. Here’s post number 1:
For me, vacation started with the arrival of my parents, uncle and aunt (from Paris) in Montpellier. On Thursday night we had an aperitif with my host family and one of the women from the Minnesota program who lives next door and her children. Despite the children’s boundless energy, it was still nice to see everyone together. I will admit, I took some pleasure in seeing my host family speaking English to my parents. For the past 4 months, they’ve seen me struggle from time to time searching for words, tripping over syntax, or misusing a tense. That night, they had the chance to be in my shoes and they did quite well. I was especially impressed with Caroline who doesn’t have to speak English regularly like Claude.
Over dinner we were able to talk a little more. Claude said there isn’t much to see in Montpellier so we should maybe only spend half a day here. He’s right. In my Guide Michelin, the only thing that has 3 stars is St. Guillaume le Desert (which is a city near Montpellier). So, the next day we took a drive to Palavas les Flots and Aigues Mortes.
Palavas is where Caroline grew up. When she was a kid, she lived in an HLM there. Now, it’s all built up for tourists with resorts, restaurants, you get the picture. Despite the huge tourist appeal, it is a nice beach on which I laid out multiple times this trip.
Aigues Mortes used to be from where French crusaders would depart for the Holy Land. This is a statue of St. Louis, king of France who went on the 7th and 8th crusades. The city is also well-known for the salt produced in the area. From the top of the ramparts that encircle the city you can see mountains of salt from processing centers nearby.
I now realize I don’t have any pictures of my parents in Montpellier. It’s so familiar to me now, I feel like it would have been similar to taking pictures of Minneapolis or Waukesha. I showed them my favorite parts of the city: St. Roch, Antigone, Comedie, the trompe l’oeils, and we spent a lot of time just walking around the small streets.
That’s it for installment one. À bientôt!