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Ger is planning a long weekend in Languedoc-Roussillon area in March: Can you help please?

Ger is planning a long weekend in Languedoc-Roussillon area in March: Can you help please?

Old Feb 20th, 2005, 07:05 PM
  #1  
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Ger is planning a long weekend in Languedoc-Roussillon area in March: Can you help please?

Hello all:

My next trip to Europe is in mid-March and includes two weekends, one of which I will spend in the Montpellier area. I was in the area once before and visited Carcassonne and parts of the Cathar region. On this trip, I would like to concentrate on the area closer to the coast. I will be renting a car and love driving.

As usual, I think I am trying to do too much in too short a time, so I would welcome your input. Here is a basic itinerary:

Thursday: Arrive early afternoon, explore Montpellier
Friday: Explore Bezier and Narbonne (2.5 hours driving, round trip from Montpellier)
Saturday: Drive to Perpignan & Collioure (4 hours total driving, round trip from Montpellier)
Sunday: Explore Montpellier; Drive the coastal area around Montpellier, taking in Sete & La Grand Motte. Late departure to Paris.

A few questions:
· Am I covering the highlights and doing the best with my time? What should I add or delete? In the area that I am covering when driving, are there any small towns or villages I should stop and see?
· I am thinking of staying IN Montpellier (I am hoping to get a good rate at the Sofitel). Does this make sense for a first visit to this area or should I consider somewhere else? I have heard great things about the town and, because I won’t drive at night, thought it a good base where I can find lots of good restaurants.
· Am I giving enough time to exploring Montpellier?: a total of about 8 hours, not including evenings
· I would like to spend some time driving along the coast on Sunday, but have read some negative comments on Sete. Are there other interesting coastal towns close to Montpellier I should visit?

Regarding guide-books, I am using both my trusty Michelin Green guide and Hachette guide for Languedoc-Roussillon.

As always, I look forward to your advice and input.

Best regards Ger
OReilly is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2005, 07:25 PM
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Ger, contact Peter, who lives there. He's a bounty of information,so what little I can give you when I'm there every year for a few days is nothing compared to his time. He lives there!
[email protected]
http:/tlp.netfirms.com
He's updated his site so my url may not work but email him
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Old Feb 20th, 2005, 07:39 PM
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Ger, if you are in Paris when we are....
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Old Feb 20th, 2005, 07:41 PM
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Ger, no advice to offer you, but I'm interested in the same itinerary so I'll be following this. What is the Hachette guide you are reading? I thought I knew guidebooks but this is a new one to me. Thanks!
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Old Feb 20th, 2005, 07:58 PM
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Ger: You've done your homework, and yes, you are covering the highlights and doing the best with your time, as usual. Enjoy! It's beautiful!
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Old Feb 20th, 2005, 08:04 PM
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Forgot to add, but if you haven't already been to Aigues-Mortes, you might want to visit it. It's about a half hour drive from Montpellier. Not on the coast anymore (hasn't been for a few hundred years!) but what a place. It's a beautiful walled town where you could easily spend several hours.
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Old Feb 20th, 2005, 08:10 PM
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Mimi: Thank you. I hav browsed the site and will contact him directly.

Scarlett: You sent me a note when I was away re Paris and I have LOST it! Please resend. I will be IN Paris on the evening of Monday 21st March. Will YOU be there? f so, we can give the Yankee a night of and go shoe-shopping and wine-drinking until we drop =D>

Mermaid: Michelin Languedoc-Roussillon is a wonderful guide, which I HIGHLY recommmend. If you like Eyewitness guides, you might like the Hachette "Vacances" Guides. This travel "LITE", with lots of glossy pages and nice photos. I personally don't like the budget-oriented books. I always do my own research on history/architecture (internet & library) and use this site for hotel/restuarant recommendsations, so I try to get books that give a "flavour" of the region, which this book seemed to provide. I have not been through it, but will keep you posted. Here is the link on Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books

regards Ger

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Old Feb 20th, 2005, 08:15 PM
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Thanks St. Cirq

Mermaid: I have visited Aigues-Mortes twice - love it! Actually, I rented a house in Provence (near Vaison de la Romaine) for two weeks last October and covered most of the area around Nimes, Uzes and Orange.

regards Ger
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Old Feb 20th, 2005, 08:20 PM
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We will be home and celebrating my birthday around that time
I will keep traveling in hopes of running into you somewhere
(and of course, shoe shopping!)
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Old Feb 20th, 2005, 08:35 PM
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Thanks Ger! I love the Eyewitness Guides. The one I have for France is already marked up and highlighted in preparation for the next trip (always, always a next trip to France...). I do my travelling planning with much the same method as you do. Works well, doesn't it?
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Old Feb 21st, 2005, 09:18 AM
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Hi

just a few points :

my website has moved to www.the-languedoc-page.com

Aigues Mortes is very close to Grande Motte. I don't think you could get a greater contrast in towns ! One purpose built holiday town from the 1960's, the other a walled city about 1,000 years old built to protect what was then Frances only Med port. Both have their charms.

If you are going towards Sete, try and stop off at Bouzigues for a seafood lunch (need to book on Sundays).

I would include Sete with the Beziers trip.

And I'd venture inland to visit Castries & Sommieres (& maybe Lunel) en route to Grande Motte. The best part of this coast is Le Grand Travers immediately West of Grande Motte.

Might be interesting to include some markets. Sommieres (Sat) and Calvisson (Sun) are very traditional. Lunel (Sun) is much bigger but maybe not as charming.

Montpellier is one of my favourite cities. The traffic in central Montpellier (i.e. near the Sofitel !) can be a bit daunting .. many locals use the tram.

It may be worth thinking of staying in, say, Sommieres or Aigues Mortes for the eastern part and Collioure or Narbonne for the Western part.

Let me know your thoughts

Peter
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Old Feb 21st, 2005, 09:50 AM
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I'll second the recommendation to head for Bouziques for lunch or dinner. There's a tiny little place right on the water that services the most amazing mussels with aïoli for about 10 € - delicious!

BTW, you won't want to linger in Sète. As really the last authentic French fishing town on the Med, it's got a utilitarian, even gritty, aspect to it - but it's the real thing. A ramble around the quai, a peek in the shops, and then a stroll around the upper town will probably be all you'll need or want to do. Above the town, on Mont-St-Clair is the Cimetière Marin. The poet Paul Valéry is buried there - he's Sète's most famous citizen - and there's a small museum in his memory. There's an observation deck up there, too,with spectacular views of the Med and the Cévennes.
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Old Feb 21st, 2005, 09:57 AM
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Ger, Sete has a museum deicated to the French singer George Brassens.
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Old Feb 21st, 2005, 07:21 PM
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Thank you all for this information.

Now, Peter: "The traffic in central Montpellier (i.e. near the Sofitel !) can be a bit daunting .. many locals use the tram." You definately have my attention - just HOW bad? I have managed to negotiate through AIX, Avignon, Biarritz ... and many other French towns. Would this be much worse? If so, then I could park the car in a carpark outside the centre and take the tram. Do you think this would be necessary?

MY TA got me a rate of euro 114-123 for the Sofitel and a great rate on a car! Airfare from Paris to Montpellier is only Euro 140, so baring any disasters, I think this is a GO.

Once again, I appreciate your advice.

Many thanks Ger
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Old Feb 22nd, 2005, 07:14 AM
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Hi

the problem I find is that Sofitel is located in a pedestrian area. There are many streets around which are one way and/ or very narrow. And I get lost !

The tram fare is cheaper than the parking.

It is not too bad, I guess if you are commuting against , rather than with the traffic.

Try it the first night .... if it is a problem you can park further out thereafter.

Peter
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 08:03 AM
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When are you leaving Ger?
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 08:44 AM
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Hi flygirl:

I am flying to Paris from Toronto a week Wednesday and then taking a connecting flight to Montpellier Thurs morning.

BTW: I change my mind on the hotel (missed the super-special rate at the Sofitel and was unwilling to pay the new rate of 200 Euros). I have just booked Le Guilhem. It is a member of my favorite site to find accomodation in France (http://www.chateaux-hotels.com/publi...dex.php?id=250) and was highly recommended on this site.

I haven't had a minute to do any further planning

regards Ger
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 09:18 AM
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Hello again, Ger. I may have posted this before, but a colleague of mine once used Sète and Venice in the same sentence. There is no similarlity. Let's just say I agree wholeheartedly with StCirq's assessment: it's gritty, but worth a visit.

We loved Montpellier, and I wish we'd had more than an afternoon and evening there.

Have a great trip.

Anselm
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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Ah, we stayed at Le Guilhem last year and loved it. Had a lovely view of the Cathedral. It was also a bit difficult to get to by car--I seem to remember my husband leaving the car at the foot of the street and me dragging the luggage up to the hotel, but that doesn't seem right. Shouldn't I have stayed with the car and had him do the dragging?

Sounds like a wonderful trip. The Beziers market is actually quite fun. See if you can track down some "magpie" wine in Bezier--no one had it when we were there. Supposedly, it makes one chatter indiscreetly.

I think we used a Cadogan and a Hachette guide for the region, fwiw.
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Old Mar 8th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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Ger, it looks fabulous! have a wonderful time. I do hope you are not on one of your glamourous European jaunts when I make it through to your neck of the woods this summer!

Elle, that's great - love that description! does it also make you steal the silverware?
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