|The historic center of Montpellier.|
But watching an HGTV segment today on a couple and their children seeking a house to rent in Montpellier, France, I was carried by nostalgia to my college days when I went to Montpellier in 1966-67 to spend a school year with West Chester State College's Junior Year Abroad program. We sailed from New York on the SS United States, then traveled by bus from Le Havre to Montpellier.
|I guess they were happy to see us leave New York.|
It's a lovely Mediterranean city, founded around the year 1000, making it one of the few large cities in France without a Roman heritage, and one of the few in southern France without Greek influence. So, it's a relatively new town!
Montpellier is the eighth largest city in France, and the fastest growing during the past 25 years. No wonder when I returned there in 1996, I was unable to recognize anything but the unchanged and unchanging historic center. (Susanne and I went to France -- the transportation being an anniversary gift from my fabulous sister -- to visit our daughter Sarah, who was doing her Junior Year Abroad farther east, at Nice, on the famous Riviera.)
As a student, I was a resident of the Cité Universitaire du Triolet, a group of dormitory buildings and associated dining hall about a fifteen-minute walk from the Faculté des Lettres, where our classes were held. It was more like a half-hour walk into the town center. My, we did a lot of walking in that year. Sometimes we took the bus but often didn't have the fare, so tight were our budgets. Other times we would splurge and take the bus to the end of the line, out in some surrounding village, and walk back, just to enjoy the scenery and each other's company.
|The dorms were set in a three-acre park. (Internet)|
|The rooms look much the same today. (Internet)|
|Here are three of the four guys in our group outside the Cité du Triolet in 1966.|
|I believe this was taken on a long walk or on a bus trip. Poor John. RIP.|
The Place de la Comédie is surrounded by old buildings now housing stores and restaurants and the like at street level. There is a fountain with a statue of the Three Graces in the center. The Place is sometimes called Place de l'œuf (Egg) because of the ovoid shape of the plaza surrounding the statue.
|Do you see the egg shape around the statue? (Click on picture to enlarge.)|
|The original statue was placed in 1796. Today there is a replica, with the original now safely indoors.|
|There are many narrow streets like this in Montpellier.|
|The photo is taken from inside the Peyrou's iron gates.|
|Hôtel du Palais|
|The breakfast room in the hotel was charming.|
Of course, when we were students we had breakfast in the university restaurant -- hot café au lait in a bowl and last night's leftover bread. Actually, it may have been hard as a rock, but it was great for dunking! I think the cost was about 12 cents (60 centimes) at that time. You can't even park in Harrisburg for a minute for that amount.
Near the hotel is the Cathédrale St-Pierre [video], where I heard famous blind French organist Jean Langlais play. A week later he was in Harrisburg, playing at Pine Street Church. If I had known that, I would have given him some letters to family in order to save a few francs!
|Cathédrale St-Pierre, built at the end of the 14th century.|
|The new organ is in the rear gallery.|
|Le Ranch (at least I think it's the right place). (Internet)|
|I am pretty sure this is the right building on the VD. It seems so much smaller now.|
I swear I am going to scan the hundreds of slides I took in 1966-67. When I do, I will share some with you here.