On the Sunday before Christmas, we took a day trip to see some dear friends in Montepellier. About 2.5 hours by car from Toulouse, it wasn’t a quick aller-retour. But beyond the chance to see our friends, we were more than rewarded with a sunny walk on the beach, a tour of the Christmas market, and a cozy dinner in the city center.
We decided to meet at Le Petit Travers, probably one of my favorite beaches in France, and one that makes it easy to understand why people love living in Montepellier. Just a 20 minute drive from the city center, this stretch of beach isn’t overly developed and seems remarkably natural for several kilometers. Cross past the low sand dunes, and when you arrive on the other side the view is calm and feels far from any urban center. It didn’t hurt that we were having unseasonably warm weather.
After about an hour stroll, we climbed back into our cars and drove into the city center. This was my first December visit to Montepellier, and it did not disappoint. The Toulouse Christmas Market is always a seasonal highlight, but the Montepellier edition was far larger both in terms of number of vendors, and such additions as rides for the kids and the scope of the lights.
We wandered the market for about an hour, snacking on churros dipped in Nutella, and crêpes. There was a great, festive vibe. But after an hour or so, we decided to explore the city center and went out in search of a dinner spot.
Our wandering through the rolling, stone streets eventually brought us to Rosemarie. On warmer nights, the restaurant has a large terasse area in the shadow of Église Saint Roch. But it was closed on this night, so we were seated inside at a long wooden table. The menu was full of tempations, and between four adults and two adolescents, we ordered the Persillée de bœuf, Thon, Calamari frito, and the Poulet mariné ‘piri piri.’ Everything was superb, and with drinks, came to a more-than-worth-it tab of €91.30.
We’ve only made a couple of short visits to Montepellier since we arrived in France, but this definitely left we wanting to return for a long stretch to explore the city.