Dans Le Jardin des Sens

Monday, October 4th, 2004: Montpellier, France

Although Greg and I have gone through Montpellier many times since our arrival in Languedoc Roussillon, our trips into the centre have been focused on finding a specific place, and we have not really explored it. Mid-morning, we head over to explore it before we head to our hotel for the night.

The Heart of Montpellier

We somehow find our way to the heart of the city, many of the streets of which are tunneled under what is now pedestrian-only zones, and park. When we walk up from the garage, we discover that we are in the middle of the Place de la Comédie, the heart of Montpellier. We stroll through the streets of the centre, a huge area without any cars; there are lots of people about. This is no longer a sleepy provincial town, and we learn that it is the fastest growing city in the fastest growing area of France. Rose does some shopping for souvenirs to take to family and friends, and we wend our way into the part of town that we did find on our earlier visits, the Place Royale du Peyrou, near the Arc de Triomphe, built in 1692, and France’s oldest botanic garden, founded in 1593 by Henri IV.

Dans Le Jardin des Sens

After our wandering and exploring, it is late afternoon and we head to our hotel to check in. We discover that Le Jardin des Sens is a beautiful, simple hotel, despite having one of the best restaurants in the world, and we all settle in to indulge ourselves. Rose has a bath, Greg naps, and I spend a wonderful hour studying the menu, reading it cover to cover. We meet in the lobby at 7:30 for Campari and Perrier before heading across the street for dinner; although the hotel’s restaurant is not open on Mondays, there is a brasserie across the street, a proving ground for chefs, waiters and new dishes, before any are allowed to move across the street to the restaurant proper. The room is beautiful, although we wish it were warm enough to sit outside in the equally beautiful courtyard. By 9:00, the room is full of Gallic flair – we feel like the only people in the room not exhibiting it! And although it is a brasserie, cheap it is not. Despite which, jeans and t-shirts (beautiful jeans and beautiful t-shirts, without question, all beautifully worn) seem to be the preferred clothing of those who can afford to eat here.Our meals are truly spectacular! Our mains – lamb for Rose, sushi for Greg, and taureau for me – are perfect. If this is the brasserie, we cannot imagine the quality in the restaurant itself. And yet, the service still exhibits that carefree “charm” that we have observed elsewhere.

We retire to our beds as soon as we leave the restaurant; tomorrow will start very early.

I dream of living in le jardin des sens.

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