I knew we were going to see Flamingoes while we were around Montpellier, but I couldn't have imagined that they would be in marshland right beside the highway! (at and around Palavas Les Flots). There was a side gravel road at the edge of the marshy ponds where we could park the car and get out to have a closer look.
Our friends told us that the Flamingoes diet is prawns, which assists in their pink colour.
This Medieval archaeological garden is set around the remains of the 13th century Saint Esprit church which was a meeting point for pilgrims and of the 14th century Pila Saint Gely gate, both of which were uncovered during excavation work for the new tram lines. In itsmore recent past, the site was occupied by a potters' workshop. The kilns are reflected in the design of the tram stop and some artifacts are on display in the lift shaft leading to the Esplanade.
A day in Montpellier
"Two days in a people carrier"
I only spent 2 days here and in reality about 2 hours as it was purely a base but I believe it deserves a mention for two reasons. One very good and one very bad!
"Lights, camera, action... I said ACTION!!!"
So anyway, the reason I was out here was to film a TV show for the BBC called at the time Sunshine Bargains. It's now been re-tiltled Sun, Sea & Bargain Spotting, a bit long I think but hey who am I to argue.
I knew there wouldn't be much time to look around because I had to be up at 5am each morning and after leaving straight from work on Friday to travel by plane to London then on to Montpellier I knew I'd need all the rest I could get. Especially after the chaos at Stansted caused by another French/italien air strike.
So the day finally ended with me meeting up with the crew, the two antiques experts from the show and the larger than life presenter.
All dues to Reef TV and the BBC for putting me up in a very good quality hotel and treating me like royalty for the duration. I stayed at the Sofitel in the heart of Montpellier and enjoyed what I could of it which meant staying up until 1:30 and supporting the bar staff of course!
The next morning was an early one but I didn't expect to be the first up. In fact I was up so early that even though breakfast was supposed too start at 6am i found myself alone in the restaurant with not a plate in sight. All that was ready was a few cold meats and some bread. I eventually spotted the guy from reception the night before and he said he was about to set up the buffet. The poor guy had to work hard for his Euro's I think but I helped him set up purely because I was hungry and because I had my eye on the Jambon de Cru (lovely smoked ham). French buffet breakfasts can be very nice if you get there first I've found but they aren't too quick to re stock things and that ham was going into a couple of sandwiches for my lunch!!!
So breakfast being done it was down to reception for us all and the day was just perfect for us to film...
"The sun always shines on TV..."
As I mentioned earlier the show was going to be called Sunshine Bargains but even in Montpellier they were having second thoughts on this. As far as I know all the suggestions had "sun" somewhere in the title but considering the fact that it rained the whole time I was there perhaps "Something for a rainy day" might have been a better title. Actually it didn't start raining till half way through the first day which gave us the chance to get some real bargain hunting done.
The object of the show was to buy up £200 worth of junk from the French then palm it off on the unsuspecting British for a profit. The theme of the show is antiques so before you think it let me tell you that so did we. Yes, we probably could have bought up loads of beer and cigarrettes and made a bigger profit but I'm not sure the BBC would have funded "Montpellier Vice" so antiques it was.
The show's presenter, Chris Gower did the first piece to camera with us which was the hello and welcome and go grab some bargains (or belt up and bugger off!). I bet he had the day all planned out until I showed up with my geordie pride. You see I just don't get cold that easy so an early October morning was perfect short sleeve weather for me but when the rest of the crew all showed up in 10 layers of clothing they couldn't quite figure me out. After a lot of persuading on their behalf I agreed to wear a jumper which I was going to take anyway, I'm not daft you know. Now Chris had worn his coat because he and the others were feeling the chill but the producer decided it wasn't right for the first shoot so he was asked to take it off.Unfortunately for him woody, the producer decided his jumper clashed with mine so he was asked to take this off too and after 7 takes the smile he wore was anything but natural.
So we spent a couple of hours trekking round the market at Lunel and there were plenty of bargaing to be had. I have to hand it to the French, they have more crap than I have owing to the fact that many people live in the past so I managed to buy up about 10 things that morning.
If you go out there looking for a bargain for yourself you will most probably find one so I'll put a few markets in my tips sections. Make sure you barter though and bear in mind the cost of getting your buy back home. The BEEB paid for ours so their was no added costs. That's the magic of TV folks.
Near Montpellier is the nature area The Camargue. Here you can find wild horses, flamingos and salty terrains. From this terrains people get their salt for their French Fries ;)
One of the places that lays in the Camargue area is Aigues Mortes. This place still has it's citywalls.
Campground Caravanning La Croix du Vieux Point at the N31 lays near these villages.
This campground has a small pool, a tabletennis building and shower & toiletfacilities.
My dad in the hired Eurocamptent. Learn more about these organisations at the accomodationtips at the Montpellier main page.
This is the City Hall of Vic-sur-Aisne
This castle 'Chateau Vic' is the 'community border'between Berny Riviere and Vic-sur-Aisne.
This is the landscape of the Camargue. Salty grounds, swamps, water...
More of the Camargue: wild Camargue Horses, Flamingoes, nice sunsets.
Staying in the Camargue? Try camping L'Eden. See for more information about this camping my accomodationtips at the main Montpellier page.
On the picture I just came out of the swimmingpool of the camping and I tried drying my hair.
Next to L'Eden is another camping. It has a beautiful swimmingpool, but a very loud disco that keeps you awake at night.
You can visit caves in the Camargue. There are many nice ones here. On this map you can see where some of the caves are situated.
Here I am standing at the citywalls. I just came out of a bookstore that sold horse and catcards.
One of these caves is Grotte Desmoiselles. You can find it at 34190 Saint-Bauzille-de-Putois, Herault.
Recommended by the National Association of Big French Caves are the caves of Trabuc at Nimes, Anduze and Cevennes.
Also a must see cave is Cocaliere at N.104 (between Ales and Aubenas N.104-D.904) -30500 St Ambroix. Tel. 66 24 01 57, Fax 75 39 88 16
Do you like kayaking better? Hire a kayak and lifevests at Russan or Collias. Here you can see a map of the kayakking route.
This is the Kayakroute.
Nature! Ah yes flamingos!
Here are some ordinary sparrows. Look carefully if you see them all. There are three of them.
Wild Camargue Horses!
The nicest in this city is the heart of the town. Here stands a nice statue. It's the statue of St Louis (St Lewis, Lodewijk de Heilige, Santo Ludovico).
Nature took back this column.
Some culture thingies: wine & champaign! At most places where wine is made you can taste some and buy some :)
Working on the winefields is a popular, but very tiring holidayjob
The wine is put into the cellar to be old and ripe for a better taste.
Instead of wine you can also drink French appeljuice lol!
Another culture thingie? Haha going to the beach!
How to get there or to see some of the countryside? Try the train! The train leaves from Anduze, Bambouseraie or St-Jean-du-Gard. To book: Gare du TGV, BP 17 -30270 St-Jean-du-Gard, tel. 66 85 13 17, Fax 66 85 19 06
"Le Grau du Roi"
Sunset at the beach.
Around the square where the statue stands there are many nice terraces where you can get a drink or something to eat.
Go horsebackriding ofcourse! I went horsebackriding at Ranch 'Lou Seden', Route de l'Espiguette, 30240 Le Grau-du-Roi, tel. 66 51 74 75
You can ride in a group. You can choose between riding 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1,5 hour, 2 hours or 2,5 hours.
Nightlife? Ah yes, discos and bars and even a casino are here! You can also watch live theatre and music on the beach! Sometimes there are concerts on the boulevard too.
The terraces are open till late.
The lunapark near camping L'Eden is open till 1 am! The same goes for the campingdisco.
On the picture you see my brother and father in a ride at the lunapark.
"Port Camargue / l'Espiguettes"
Port Camargue and l'Espiguettes have great beaches.
I taught this little girl a bit how to swim.
Here are my mother, my brother and I sitting on a terrace.
From the heart of town you can walk your way into the shoppingcentre. This really is a little shopping paradise. You can find here some good restaurants too where you can eat steamed mussles and cheesepotatoes. Yum yum!
Shop until you drop! Nice stores for clothes, souvenirshops, toystores for the little ones, it's all here! Outside the citywalls there even is a huge supermarket.
"Berny Riviere / Vic-sur-Aisne"
Berny Riviere and Vic-sur-Aisne lay next to eachother. They are charming little villages.
This map shows you how the villages are situated.