Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May 1 Montpellier

I guess the news is that in Europe they still know how to have a holiday in ways we have forgotten in New Zealand. Basically, for May 1, everything is closed. You don't go shopping as your leisure activity. The people running the tourist office and the museum and even the tram get the day off too. The only places open pretty much are cafes and a few other food places; flower places as it seems traditional to give little bouquets; and strangely enough, Internet cafes!
I knew everything would be closed today but I guess I was expecting more activity to watch on the streets, but they are quieter than yesterday! I have seen a couple of very short political marches, that would have to be minority affairs. There are a few buskers in the central square but less people sitting sunning themselves at all the cafe tables there. Looks like most people left town for the day.
I have had a good wander in the quiet streets anyhow and the central historic part of Montpellier is certainly an attractive place to walk. Nearly all pedestrianised so very safe walking. Montpellier was on the wrong end of the Wars of Religion and got largely destroyed. But there was plenty of wealth here and large residences and monuments were soon erected again. One place I enjoyed this morning was at the top of the hill where in a garden setting there was a bit of a 'fake' Pont du Gard and a good view over the city. Lots of fountains here too, and you find them in little squares all over the place, looking beautiful with the sun on them.
As there was little else to do, I even watched some beach volleyball in the central square. Might go back there now and see more of those strong young men in action!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kiwi,
    One thing I noticed in France was that everything works on a 4 day week and that it seems more leisurely. Nothing was open when I wanted it to be. In Australia we are open all the time. IS that a good thing? I don't know.... one thing is for sure the Lourve is not open tuesdays....

    i am enjoying your travel!