Just after my new novel MAKE THAT DEUX was released* last week, a friend sent me this recent feature in the (UK) Telegraph Travel titled
“36 Hours in…Montpellier” France. Its first line:
“Montpellier, the most seductive city in the French south at any time, is elegant and cultured, with an autumn sun warm enough to sit out on its squares.”
And, long ago, I did that with friends…
Just over three months ago, I returned to Montpellier for the first time in many years. I spent 36 hours in the city and at the closest beach (in nearby Palavas-les-flots) with mon mari during our vacation. We walked by Le Riche – the café in the above photo in Place de la Comédie — but didn’t stop, because we found it crowded with summer touristes. We chose instead a quieter spot to have a drink, nearer to the city’s own Arc de Triomphe and close to Place de la Canourgue. Later, we had dinner at a tiny, elegant restaurant in the area. For so many reasons, it was the perfect place to relax and celebrate a milestone anniversary.
MAKE THAT DEUX is set in Montpellier and Palavas, and the girls in MAKE THAT DEUX explore the Montpellier of an earlier time.
Has very much changed over the years? I think this sums it up:
Oui, et non.
In their époque, unlike today, studying abroad for a year or semester was not something that many people did. A university degree was (relatively) expensive, but not ridiculous. Moving back in with your parents after college was uncommon. College kids age 18 and over could drink legally in the U.S., not just in Europe. Cigarette smoking wasn’t restricted, nor was it even unacceptable. People — including lovers — wrote letters to each other on paper, and sent them through the mail.
What hasn’t changed? Back then, like today, terrorism was a major issue, and events gripped the world stage. A democrat was in the White House. College graduates had a very hard time finding a job. But while IN college, in addition to studying, students went to parties, met new people and went out on dates. Sometimes they even fell in love.
And — like today — they didn’t tell their parents
anything everything about what they were doing, especially when it involved la séduction…
* See my HOME page for how to order MAKE THAT DEUX! Merci!