Earlier this year I visited Montpellier – perhaps there was a specific reason or perhaps it was just for a day out, I don’t remember. The weather was beautiful, and as it got nearer to lunchtime I headed for the Place de la Comedie, a beautifully open square in the centre of Montpellier. The square is lined on opposite sides with beautiful buildings, with the most impossibly ornate facades. Some of the detail on those facades is just amazing, and not really visible or able to be appreciated with the naked eye – you really need a very good zoom lens or a magnifying glass!!
The third side of the square is occupied by the Opera Comedie, Montpellier’s municipal opera house and theatre.
As you can see, it’s pretty grand! The fourth side is open, and leads towards the Polygone shopping centre, as well as the Esplanade, a beautiful tree-lined area, linking the Place de la Comedie with the Corum, the new opera house and performing arts centre.
To the left of the Opera Comedie stands the Grand Hotel du Midi – you can see the gold mosaic from that building in the first gallery of pictures above. Walk past the entrance to the hotel, down the side of the theatre, and you get to the Brasserie du Theatre, which is in the same building as the hotel. The restaurant has a very unassuming frontage onto the street, just a door really, leading into a little foyer, from which stairs lead up to the restaurant. The interior of the restaurant is very much belle epoque, with mirrors and plaster work everywhere. I felt too self-conscious to take pictures of the interior – I’m sorry!! You can see some good shots of the interior on this site. The weather was so nice that lunch was being served on the terrace. 🙂 The terrace is on the first floor, so from the street you don’t really see it.
The fountain in the centre was a nice touch, and added to the great ambience. The midday menu was very reasonably priced at 15.90 EUR for two courses, and it included a glass of wine. My dining companion and I decided to forego the starter and have dessert instead. 🙂 The steak was delicious, and the salmon was cooked to perfection. The dessert of the day was tiramisu – yummy!!
After a relaxed and unhurried lunch, we went for a walk around the pedestrianised centre of Montpellier. There’s much to look at, be it shop windows:
The amazing building above is the Hotel des Tresoriers de la Bourse, which dates from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Then there are of course the wonderful door knockers. If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that I have a kind of fetish for door knockers! 🙂 The variety is seemingly endless, and only limited by the fantasy and imagination of whoever designed and/or made them.
Whilst walking down Grand Rue Jean Moulin I came across this strange-looking car:
On closer examination it turned out to be a G**gle car, not the one which is driver-less, but the one which takes the pictures that allow us to virtually explore in street view. Here’s the camera array:
Nobody seemed to pay the G**gle car much attention – the shop windows and the shopping itself were much more interesting. We continued with our walk, and found some more lovely things to look at:
I’m sure the Maison Justin Boch is no longer trading, but the lettering is just lovely, and the square so inviting. Just a few steps away was the Padova ice cream parlour. It’s not as though I hadn’t had enough to eat at lunchtime, but I couldn’t resist it… 🙂
The Hotel Saint-Come is today part of the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce. The tourist office offers guided visits of the building in its program – I’m going to try and book that for a future visit.
Down one of the side streets I found this wonderful glass veranda. Look at the detail from the tiled frieze.
Back on the Esplanade I noticed the facade of an old Gaumont Cinema building:
And then it was back to the Place de la Comedie, where it all started.
Now, if you go to G**gle maps, and look at the street view of Grand Rue Jean Moulin, you might just be able to spot me with my camera in my hand, taking a picture of that car. You’ll have to go to the May 2014 version though – for some reason the street was photographed again in June 2014. And if you look very carefully, you might even spot me several times! I had great fun walking past the car a number of times 🙂