I am not sure where to begin to describe all we saw yesterday. We headed to Montpellier, also known as the Paris of the south. As we rode the tram in it seemed like a very modern city so I wasn't seeing the nickname but as we pulled into the city center I thought we had arrived in the center of Paris!
We were set free and had about 4 hours to explore. We grabbed some lunch and plotted a course. As luck would have it we had stopped at a cafe near the church of St. Roch, the patron saint of Montpellier. I checked out the church which was small but lovely. We then set off in search of the yarn stores rumored to be in the city. Again, we had chosen our lunch spot wisely as the first place was right up the road. Sadly, it was closed for lunch as were most of the stores. It is always hard to comprehend that places over here actually shut down for lunch! But we went back later and it was a wonderful store and the owner was so nice and spoke pretty good English! I will save the rest of the yarn store adventures for knitting and move on with the day…
We started to head back to the main square and were stopped by a parade of folk dressed in traditional garb singing and working with flags. It was history weekend so this was part of the festivities. We decided to stop in one last store and while in there heard what sounded like shouting. We went near the front to see what was going on and coming down the very narrow street was a huge protest, complete with police escort. We had now seen a parade and a protest within the span of 10 minutes! We tried to ask the store clerk what was going on but she would not answer. The only word we could make out was "immigrais" and most of those involved looked foreign. They are having some immigration issues here so that must have been. Needless to say we stayed in the store until the fuss had past.
We left Montpellier and headed to the town of Pezances for dinner. It is a very old medieval town with loads of tiny winding streets and cobblestone streets. They were also participating in the history days so many of the buildings and you could walk in and check them out. We turned the corner on one street and there were these three umbrellas sticking out a window and it was cute so we stopped to take a picture. Turns out we had stumbled upon the "cat museum"… Basically I think it was just a woman who hoards cats and puts them in display and then asks for a "donation" to help with the care of the cats. Weirdest thing I've seen! I was sad to learn later that I had missed the live person chess game which I am sure was much more interesting and far less creepier than the cat museum…
After all that we headed to dinner at this gorgeous little restaurant. While we were in there we heard what sounded like a medieval band marching in the street. Turns out it was – who knew? Out into the tiny street we all went and followed the band to the square where there were 3 other bands marching up different side streets and meeting in the square. Essentially it was a medieval band off! Crazy but where else will you see something like that?!?
It was a very long day but we saw lots of really cool stuff! Off to market!
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