Thursday, 20 November 2008

Marie, Moses and Montpellier (et Démosthène)

Marie's Montpellier had long held a distinct fascination for me with it's old city, it's 20th century architecture, expansive public spaces and of course it's Alstom Citadis trams. The joy of photo-blogging was soon to become the joy of meeting.

The river Lez from its headwaters to Antigone, and then to the sea had become a familiar, old friend through the lovely photos that Marie had so often shown us.

We had seen photos of the powerful and compact eleventh century Romanesque cathedral of Saint-Pierre de Maguelone and the beach and sand dunes extending a dozen kilometres from Palavas-les-Flots to Frontignan-Plage.

Arriving in Montpellier was akin to visiting an old friend after a prolonged absence.

One phone call to announce our arrival, a short walk to the Médiathèque Émile Zola, a quick chat to Michelangelo's Moses (Moïse, Moyses, משה, Moché) and our old friend Démosthène, the Greek Statesman and Orator, - and we were hungry.
Après une très longue attente, nous sommes arrivés, finalement à Montpellier!


dive said...

Great photos, Monsieur. Your night shots really are something.
I love that you travelled halfway around the world to find an Australian café.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you managed to find an Australian Café in Montpellier m.benaut?!? Did they serve Foster's beer and Victoria bitter?

Beautiful night shots of the Antigone quarter. What did you think of its architecture?

I saw this area some ten years ago when it was still very new. I wonder how it has aged and how it will evolve in the future. Creating a new urban space from scratch is an amazing challenge and observing how the people actually embrace the space (or fail to) is a topic that I find absolutely fascinating.

Anonymous said...

Your last sentence should read

"Après une très longue attente...."

Anonymous said...


M.Benaut said...

Ringrazia la mia cara Nathalie.
Siete una ragazza molto gentile.

M.Benaut said...

Dive, it was unexpected and definitely B-grade.
Mais tu as raison mon ami. It was quite a coincidence.

With the night restaurant shots, the panasonic lumix can just be placed on a flat surface, pointed in the right direction and when the correct victim appears, one simply (surreptitiously) presses the button as many times as desired. No flash - just perhaps a 3 or 4 second exposure.

Jilly in Menton and Angela in Nice have the same camera and we rattle on about this technique from time to time.

There will be more soon in Avignon and Menton.
When we get to Munich and Basle I will have some movie footage to show you of something rather humorous and entertaining.

Thanks for your comments. After tea I'll pop over to SGP and bother you some more.

M.Benaut said...

Chère Nathalie,
They certainly did serve those beers but the atmosphere was not what i had expected. One certainly did not need to hear the broad Aussie drawl in the South of France.
Conversely, on the Boulevard Monmartre 70009, the Aussie cafe was delightful and the waitresses were happy to speak French at my speed.
I should send Michael there to brush up on his down-under dialect !!

The Architecture was certainly modern without being garish and the whole place was spotless. As usual one should spend a much greater time in all these lovely French towns. The battle between quantity and quality will be sorted out on my next visit. Fewer places and a much longer time in each. And never to return to Oz.

How the citizens have embraced this new urban space is a matter of conjecture. I was there briefly and would love to have been there at peak traffic periods; just like at la Défense. I feel that they are probably very happy with it judging by the pristine condition that I noted.
But then this pride in one's town was so evident throughout France, none more so than in lovely Avignon !

Webradio said...

Jolies photos la nuit...

Cheltenhamdailyphoto said...

You're good.