Not long after our safe arrival Saturday in Montpellier, the Gilets Jaunes protests started to get interesting, more or less outside our window. First they marched up the street, then they marched down the street. Then we heard a commotion and returned to the window to see a line of police in riot gear.
A few canisters of something were fired — maybe just smoke, maybe some sort of teargas — and a few individuals fled. The gas, whatever it was, smelled pretty bad, so we shut our window and waited it out.
An hour later, we went outside, and everything was returning to normal. Shopkeepers were cleaning the mess left behind by the protesters, and restaurants were setting their patio tables for dinner.
Our dinner Saturday evening was an old favorite, pizza at Don Camillo. The place had redecorated since our last visit, but the pizza was just as good. Although it wasn’t on the menu, they still had a decent, inexpensive house rosé, and we took advantage of it.
When I suggest drinks after dinner, it usually doesn’t interest Kathryn, but this time I suggested a round at a nearby English pub called The Shakespeare, and she played along. She enjoyed it enough that we went back for another round Sunday. The beer was good, although pricey, and it was a fun role reversal for us, watching the English-speaking bartenders struggle to understand the French-speaking customers. On Saturday, the crowd was mostly English speakers, while on Sunday it was closer to 50-50.
Sunday morning we got up in plenty of time for the 10 am Mass at Ste. Eulalie, which was a traditional Latin Mass. We even arrived early enough to recite a full Rosary with the parishioners. Since I haven’t memorized the prayers in French yet, I really didn’t recite much, although by the 53rd Hail Mary it was starting to sink in.
After Sunday Mass, we had lunch at a burger shop I’d found online. The burger looks pretty, but to be honest it tasted just okay. The fries were good, and the toppings were good, but when the meat and bun are merely average, it’s hard to be impressed. Frankly, I think we both preferred the “steack sandwich” we ordered last night from the takeaway snack stand just below our apartment, and it was half the price.
The rest of Sunday was spent walking around Montpellier and catching up on rest
Yesterday morning, we did some shopping. Just for fun, we walked through the local IKEA, which really isn’t so different from the one in Tempe, Arizona. One thing I noticed was how busy the appliance section was. Some of the appliances in our kitchen here are from IKEA, so perhaps it’s bigger business here than in the United States.
In the afternoon, we met up with my friend and former French instructor, Thierry. He gives walking tours of Montpellier every Monday for the students at the language school. We tagged along — Kathryn and I are both former students of the school — and then went out for drinks and conversation for a couple hours. We’ll see him again later in the week.
I’ll wrap this up for now since it’s time to hit the road. We’re leaving for Lourdes in about a half hour.