March in Montpellier: The Epic Adventure

I was really on top of blogging our adventures in January and February. And then I kind of fell off the blogging wagon until publishing this post last week. When I recently shared our blog with a friend and sheepishly told him that I hadn’t posted since February, he kindly told me that meant we have been enjoying ourselves a lot. And that is so true! Have no fear, over the next few weeks I’m going to get you caught up!

The highlight of March came when Terra’s mother, Raylene, joined us for three full weeks. Raylene had never been to France, so we had to ‘Wow’ her with the experience – and I think it’s safe to say that all of us were sufficiently ‘Wowed’. (Unfortunately Terra’s dad, Gary, had to stay behind and take care of their two dogs. Thank you Gary for doing that!)

a cold, beautiful Parisian day

Raylene’s visit can be broken up into three distinct parts: Paris, Montpellier, and a roadtrip through France. To start the trip, Terra and I took the train to Paris and met Raylene at the airport. The TGV (high speed rail) gets us all the way across the country in just a shade over three hours!

The first place we took Raylene (after Cammy’s enthusiastic greeting) was to one of our favorite Parisian restaurants, Lilane, for a nice dejeuner (lunch). It’s safe to say that this did not disappoint!

first stop, dejeuner!

We stayed in a cute Airbnb in the Latin Quarter, and on her first full day we surpassed 25,000 steps, hitting basically all the iconic spots along the way and having copious amounts of French yummies (croissants, macarons, etc.).

croissant #1 on this cold March day!
great shot of Luxembourg Gardens

We finished with a night boat tour on the Seine, which is an absolute must if you visit Paris. What a wonderful day it was! The next couple of days were also great, though the weather didn’t hold quite as well as we’d hoped.

view of Notre Dame (pre-fire) at night
gorgeous Montmartre street

Next stop, Montpellier! Of course we wanted to cover all of the things we love about our city – we went to the Sunday market, cooked some amazing food, biked to the beach, and just enjoyed the sunshine.

Cammy is uncertain whether this dog is alive or not (it’s made of sand)

We also wanted to take Raylene out into the countryside, so my friend Bertrand (who does some tours of the region) took us to fabulous places like the ancient town of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. Bertrand loves the countryside around Montpellier, and it seems that no matter where he is he can conjure up a handful of rosemary and thyme from the bush next to him.

Bertrand sharing his love for the region with us
amazing architecture from Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert
beautiful spot next to Le Pont du Diable

After spending a week in Montpellier, we embarked on a roadtrip with the goal of taking Raylene back to Paris. It was epic, to say the least! As you can see from the map below, we only spent 22 hours and 2,000 kilometers in the car – no big deal!

I could spend an entire post describing the delights we found, but unfortunately we’re going to have to settle for the Cliff Notes version. In order of the pictures below, we have:

  • The city of Rocamadour in the Dordogne region, built on the side of a cliff
  • An interesting doorway from the town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, also in the Dordogne region (our #1 area we’ve been to in France so far)
  • Our favorite castle of all time, Chenonceau (one picture each – outside and inside)
  • The abbey in the medieval city of Vézelay, which is famous as the start of one of four pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
just…wow – how did they decide to build a city here?
don’t you want to just go through the doorway?
from the gardens – just spectacular!
We got the entire hallway at Chenonceau to ourselves!
this abbey is the beginning of one of the four pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela

And I didn’t even mention half of the things we did, including staying with Martin & Sue at their place, the Manoir Bourdon. You may remember Martin & Sue from this guest post from last year. In the autumn of 2018, they purchased a manor in France and have recently started accepting their first guests. You must book some time at their place – what could be better than bike and wine tours through the heart of the Loire Valley with such wonderful people?

amazing dining room table at the Manoir Bourdon

I should also mention the Bed & Breakfast we stayed at in the Dordogne region, Les Hauts de Gageac. It had a breathtaking view, gracious hosts, and was one of the best experiences we’d ever had.

great view from our bed & breakfast!

Just a warning: it wasn’t easy to actually get into the bed and breakfast parking lot. Just check out the three step process I had to take the car through, and be amazed that I didn’t hit anything on my way up or down! I’m sure Terra, Raylene, and even Cammy were quite nervous!

be afraid anytime you see directions like this…

We had a fabulous time with Raylene and were so sad to see her go!

Chambord at night!