Montpellier Spring Report

It’s springtime here in the South of France, which means your intrepid Miss Expatria has started shedding layers and lifted her head once again to feel the warm Mediterranean sun on her ghostly pale face. Let’s see what’s happening around town after a winter’s hibernation!


Spring mornings mean throwing open the windows and letting the bedding air out. This is a common sight and I do it as well, although I’m almost certain its effects are completely psychological.

Twelve oysters to go, 5 euros. SOLD. There are now two competing coquillages places within slurping distance of my apartment, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

One of the benefits of milder weather is that you no longer have to burrow down into your scarf while walking through town. That means I can resume my own personal treasure hunt for what I call “ghost architecture” – remnants of the past visible on exterior walls. Above is one of my favorites, on a building in what is now a square filled with restaurants.

I’ve been waiting all winter to see a knot of people in this spot – and I’ll tell you why.

See where the two lights are jutting out from the wall on the right, above the group’s head? That used to be Mi Barrio, a wine bar owned by “Uncle Claud” and a favorite starting point for many of my evenings out with the girls. It closed – for sad! – but reopened as The Egg, a bar owned by a friend of ours with excellent music and a chic, clubhouse feel I adore.

Now, see that white tent on the left? That’s where Uncle Claud re-opened Mi Barrio! Happiness! But don’t worry, there’s no bad blood there – The Egg is primarily a beer bar, while Mi Bars, as we call it, serves wine. And now that the weather’s good, they’ve both thrown open their doors and by the end of the night, when this picture was taken, patrons from both bars mix and mingle and it’s more like a nightly neighborhood party. Best of all, in this student-infested town these two bars attract a more grown-up clientele, which means it rarely if ever gets sloppy or loud. LOVE.

10 thoughts on “Montpellier Spring Report

  1. Have a wonderful memory on=f me in a disco near the train station in Montpellier in September, 2003.

    Didn’t know anybody, couldn’t speak anything but the barest tourist French.

    There was an oval of kids on the dance floor who made room for me, l’americain of a certain age.

    And this was the year of Freedom Fries, so God bless them.

  2. 2 places that sell oysters in St Roch! I know there’s 1 opposite my old place where’s the 2nd? I need to go there this weekend! I paid £3.00 an oyster last week in Cheltenham. The place in Palavas still takes some beating. See you Friday Biz Lou x x x

    • Can’t wait to see you! It’s down at the end of our street, near St. Guilhelm. I don’t have anyone here to enjoy it with, get here now!

  3. I love the ghost architecture genre! The ghost-in-the-architecture genre, not so much.

    My old girl Flo has LOTS of examples of this, where you can see bricked up windows and doorways and arches. On the one hand it makes me sad to see the building changed, but on the other hand it makes me happy the building remained and has been repurposed to bring new life into it.

    I’m totally hunting some examples on my next trip.

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