Today we started with a quick trip by bike to the supermarket having an unsuccessful trip yesterday. It was a small Carrefour Market, which did not have everything we needed, but a decent haul was distributed between panniers and rucksacks for the quick 5 min trip back.
We also worked out the Montpellier cycle route access, so once we unpacked and loaded up the dogs we were on our way. The sun was shining, about 20 degrees and blue skies as we headed along the Étang du Méjean past basking flamingoes on our nice, off road cycle track. There were lots of cyclists but we managed to get Lola and Lizzy a decent run alongside for a while before we reached Latte. Where it seems, we should have followed the river Lez but the signage was a little unclear. However, we took a route via central Latte, which was quite a nice pretty little town before we picked up the route again along the river Lez and onto Montpellier. Only around 10km to Montpellier and only the last couple are alongside the road. It passed the new Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) a stunning glass fronted building with infinity water features either side of the cycle path leading up to it. I did not realise until we got back it was a civic building, just looked it up now. I did pass thinking it must be a cool Google office or something, quite a bold statement building. No photos as we were cycling.
The cycle route was a little more difficult to follow in the city centre, but we managed to navigate ourselves to Place de la Comédie, described as the beating heart of Montpellier, a big open square with pavement cafes and a transport hub, thronging with people out shopping / dining / working on a busy midweek lunchtime. We carried on to the 52m high Arc de Triomphe, built in 1695, dedicated to Louis XIV and the Promenade du Peyrou beyond. We stopped here and enjoyed the views over the surrounding area, including the Aqueduct de Saint-Clément, completed in 1765 to supply the city with water from Saint-Clément-de-Rivière.
We then wandered some of the lovely cobbled streets and narrow roads between tall old stone houses of the old town. Montpellier, unlike it’s near neighbours does not date from Roman times, it was founded in the 10th Century by the Counts of Toulouse. It has a lovely old town area with white stone buildings and ornate iron balconies. We found a nice pavement café in the sunshine to enjoy a leisurely lunch before rather quicker than we feared, relocating the cycle route back to Clouline. A decent 18 mile round trip. Glad we managed to see something of Montpellier, even if their rugby team is away to Paris this week, so we did not get to see them live. Though there are plenty of good French teams so there is time yet 🙂