Summer in the South of France feels like a non-stop heatwave called ‘la canicule’. As a northern European girl, I am not exactly used to these temperatures. And, even after all these years of living in the South, it takes me a week each year to adapt to the heat. Which makes me wonder: how on earth do the ‘Françaises’ keep their cool?!
Time to ask a French girl if she would reveal some of her secrets to looking for freshness in summer. I asked the ever-stylish Jeanne from the Montpellier blog ‘J|MUS‘ to give you all the tips you need when spending a summery day in Montpellier. (P.s. All pictures are from J|MUS’ Instagram).
When I’m not in my comfortable air-conditioned office :), I take advantage of the relative coolness of the morning. It is the perfect time to wander around the historical centre of Montpellier, also known as L’Ecusson. I love to walk along the small streets, raise my head and admire the facades of the old buildings and mansions. Behind the austere facades, I often discover a beautiful courtyard with a majestic staircase.
Tea and shopping
I like to meet up with a friend and get an organic herbal tea at “Infuse” (1) in the Aiguillerie neighbourhood, close to the Basilica Notre Dame des Tables. At the bottom of the Rue de l’Aiguillerie, I walk along the old Couvent des Ursulines. This convent has been turned into the International Dance City “L’Agora“. I continue my stroll until I find myself at the boulevard Louis Blanc. I pay a visit to the lovely decor shop “Léon Le Caméléon“. Here you’ll find everything from dishes (I found a very nice cutting board last Saturday) to beautiful accessories.
Green veggie bowl
At lunchtime, I really enjoy the peace and beauty of the Place de la Canourgue. It’s close to our Arc de Triomphe and has always been my favourite square in the city centre. I make a stop at “Napoleon Dynamite” to drink lemonade and enjoy one of the super bowls that Sarah offers on their terrace. The green veggie bowl is my favourite. Or I go a bit further to the salon de thé “Le Come and Tea“. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a refreshing smoothie with a homemade salad.
In the afternoon, I often choose to visit an exhibition at the Pavilion Populaire by the Fabre Museum (2), or at Espace Saint Ravy. If my walk leads me to the street of the Rue de l’Ancien Courrier, an emblematic medieval street in the city centre, I make sure to look in the Gallery de l’Ancien Courrier to see what’s on. I always make beautiful discoveries and come across new paintings by artists that Claire, the gallerist, presents regularly.
At the sacrosanct apéritif time, I like to sit on a terrace and have a drink. There are hundreds of places in L’Ecusson… Or I jump in my car and drive away from the city in the direction of the seaside, for an improvised picnic on the beach. Another option is going out into the countryside. Most importantly to head for one of the small villages north of Montpellier to find a little … freshness.