Category Archives: Occitanie

Southwest of France with Children Trip Report, Episode 114

Southwest of France with Children

Southwest of France Jennifer Ditchburn

Jennifer Ditchburn visited the southwest of France with her husband and children in June 2016 and she comes on the show today to share some of the highlights of their experience. Jennifer is the Editor in Chief of a magazine called Policy Options in Canada, she speaks beautiful French and has visited France on several occasions. But, this is her first time in France with her children, so they selected child-friendly activities. Because we recorded this episode the day the results of the Brexit were announced and because Jennifer is a political junkie, we discuss this news event at the beginning of the show as well.

Hotels Recommended in this Episode

People often ask me to recommend a hotel in Toulouse, and it’s hard for me to answer because in Toulouse I sleep in my own bed! I recommended the  Novotel Compans Caffarelli to Jennifer and her family because it’s close to everything at a reasonable price and has a good reputation. Jennifer and family liked it very much. I would also recommend you look at the Mercure Compans Caffarelli because that’s where Airbus sends a lot of business visitors and they all seem happy with it.


Places Mentioned in this Episode

Montpellier, Plage de l’Espiguette, Arriège, Foix, Sète, Toulouse, Niaux, Paris.

Visiting France? Find the Best Deals & Reviews at TripAdvisor.

To Prepare for Your Trip: The Return of Martin Guerre

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Continue reading Southwest of France with Children Trip Report, Episode 114

The Best of Sète, Episode 107

Canal in Sete photo sabin paul croce. The Best of Sète
Canal in Sète. Photo Sabin Paul Croce.


Sète is full of charm, history and genuine French culture. It is a favorite of French families who go to enjoy the ambiance, the canals, the sea and the sun. If you’d like to spend some time on the Mediterranean and not spend your whole vacation budget in two days, keep reading and listening, this is the city for you!

When Annie visited Sète after recording this episode, she stayed at a hotel called Le National. She found it comfortable, clean, the owner was friendly. This is a family-run hotel, the hotel lobby closes in the afternoon. The owner will contact you via SMS to confirm the details. Le National is a great budget hotel, in a good location, easy walking distance to the Canals, free parking is not difficult near the hotel. Skip the hotel breakfast (nothing special or “bof, bof” as we say in French) and go have breakfast at a café near the Canal instead.

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Tips for Visiting Montpellier (France), Episode 105

Tips for Visiting Montpellier (France)

Tips for Visiting Montpellier (France)

On today’s episode we give you tips for visiting Montpellier (France) and why you should consider going next time you’re in the south of France! We know even our most dedicated listeners probably haven’t visited it because it’s not on the “major tourist track”,  but what charm and what a great lifestyle! We love it and we hope you will love this episode too!

If you find this episode helpful, you should also consider listening to The Best of Sète an even smaller nearby city with (arguably) even more charm; and a trip report on Camargue.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
 Episode Highlights
  • [4’40] Introduction to Montpellier and why we hadn’t talked about it before: “c’est la ville des bouchons”
  • [6′] Igor the guide dog who works in Montpellier
  • [6’30] Montpellier has a great reputation as a student city and a place to live
  • [7’30] Montpellier doesn’t have a port today, but it did, it is 7k from the Mediterranean Sea
  • [9′] Montpellier is a limestone city whereas Toulouse is a brick city
  • [10’20] Montpellier: 500,000 inhabitants and 8th larger city in France
  • [11’20] Montpellier has a large city center that was extended with the Antigone area in a neo-classical style
  • [14′] The consolidation of regions in France, Montpellier used to be in the Languedoc-Roussillon region and is now in the Occitan region
  • [19′] Montpellier has a Mediterranean climate and that is one of the reasons why it’s one of the fastest-growing areas in France, we love 300+ days on sun each year!
  • [20′] There aren’t a lot of ancient buildings left in Montpellier where an old building are from the 1800s, the Maison des Octrois is older, but there aren’t many
  • [21’36] Montpellier was heavily involved in the War of Religion and that is when a lot of the older city was destroyed or otherwise abandoned
  • [22’20] In the middle ages, the most populated cities in France were Rouen, Toulouse and Montpellier
  • [24’45] Montpellier is the city with the oldest medical school in France and to this day there are still a lot of medical conventions there
  • [27’15] Georges Frêche, mayor of Montpellier between 1977 and his death in 2010 positioned the city as a place for smart people, he is the one who funded the Antigone area built-in a Neo-Classical style
  • [29’15] Antigone is “démesuré” or over-sized, case in point: their city hall is much larger than the one in Toulouse when we have twice as many inhabitants!
  • [33′] Montpellier is a great city to live in, it has a very large library, Olympic pool, esplanade, parks, and a very good tramway system that can take people anywhere they need to go
  • [35’30] You need at least 2 days to see Montpellier, you can go from the neo-classical part, go through the shopping center called Corum, to the Place de la Comédie, and move on through the old city-center, go through the Arc de Triomphe, to the statue of Louis XIV, then the old Roman aqueduct, it’s a 3 km to 4 km walk and an interesting way to visit the city
  • [38′] You could also start in the center, at the Place de la Comédie and the Molière theater, go towards the old city center and its narrow streets
  • [41′] Montpellier has a great zoo and an aquarium, as well as a beach, which makes it a great place to go with children
  • [42′] Montpellier may be nicer to live in than Toulouse, as long as you don’t mind living in an apartment building or in a home that has very small yards
  • [43′] Montpellier and the whole area is heavily populated as are all areas with great weather and the beach
  • [46′] Museums in Montpellier: the Musée Fabre is one of the best art museums outside of Paris because it shows not only Western art, but makes a point to also show African and other pieces
  • [54′] In Montpellier you can go to the beach using the tramway + a bus
  • [55’45] If you have a car you can also go visit Maguelone, a great place to visit!
  • [59′] What to do if you run into Igor the Guide Dog: most sighted people are petrified of talking to blind people, but if you want to pet the guide dog, say hello the dog owner first!
  • [60′] Local wines: wines from Montpellier are gaining in quality and popularity right now
  • [62′] Local foods: Longuettes (or Zézettes) de Montpellier are a fun cookie, les Grisettes de Montpellier (candy with liquorice and honey), the Mediterranean cuisine is really good
  • [60′] Local wines: wines from Montpellier are gaining in quality and popularity right now
  • [62′] Local foods: Longuettes (or Zézettes) de Montpellier are a fun cookie, les Grisettes de Montpellier (candy with liquorice and honey), the Mediterranean cuisine is really good


If you’re going to spend time in the South of France, we think Montpellier is a great place to spend a couple of days, or maybe use it as a base to take day-trips, there is a lot to see nearby as well: Sète to just name one.


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