Shopping Spree with your Women Friends in the South of France
Are you looking for a special trip with your women friends in which you can shop until you drop, eat well, and truly get away to the land of joie de vivre? For something different, think about cashing in those frequent flyer miles this fall and come on a shopping and great dining spree to the Paris of the South, Montpellier, France. Less expensive than Paris, Montpellier has its own Arc de Triomphe, the exquisite Musee Fabre, two opera houses, and one of the largest squares in Europe - exploring the city is a joy and can easily and happily encompass the entire scope of your stay. The city has a great music scene and there is always something happening in this very vibrant, active university town. Montpellier is also a great base for exploring Southern France, located 10km from some of the nicest beaches in the Mediterranean. The South of France is world famous for its consistently sunny weather, the beautiful blue of the sky and sea and the relaxed yet chic atmosphere.
Come with 4 women friends and stay in our 4 bedroom ( 1 bath, separate sink in one bedroom, and separate toilet) and follow the recommended shopping itinerary in and around Montpellier. The week long trip recommends renting a car for 3 days to explore the smaller villages and markets.
Day One: Shop in downtown Montpellier Historique District and have a leisurely lunch at one of the many cafe's. Side by side are the modern stores with Paris boutiques, jewelry that won't set you back financially, and shoes galore of all prices. Return to the flat by tram rest up for dinner and return to the Historique District for a unique dinner in one of the outdoor (or indoor if cold) restaurants. The tram runs from 6am to 2am. The tram is safe, clean and uniquely beautiful. Tram passes can be bought in tickets of 10 at the tram stops.
Depending on your arrival day, I suggest renting a car on for 3 days beginning on Friday night/ Pick up a car at the Train Station and bring it back to the Flat for a three day rental
Day Two: (Your Day into the Country) Samedi/Saturday Two Options: If you have a car head out to Uzes for the Saturday Morning market that is the best in the region. Uzes is a special village with a pedestrian center shaped like a bicycle wheel with spokes and cobblestone streets. Shop for the best straw baskets in the region, tablecloths, olive oil with truffles, provence herbes, poterie, provencal soaps, cute season clothes, fabrics, fresh vegetables and fruits, assorted cheeses, fish, and more.
Visit the Chateau du Uzes and stay for lunch in one of their outdoor cafes. This day we recommend getting up early and leaving no later than 8:30 am, park your car and be ready to shop by 10:00 am (about 1 hr 15 min nice drive). In the afternoon visit the famous Pt du Gard and visit St. Quentin La Poterie and take a tour of all the Potters. Make sure you stop at Galtie Pottery next to the Wine Cooperative as well as all the potters in the village. Return home to cook a great meal with all the produce and rotisserie chicken you purchased.
Drive West and go to Pezenas for their Saturday morning market. It is also very good, but we love the Uzes marche. Pezenas is about an hour drive west.
Day Three: Dimanche/Sunday: Head over towards Palavos (the beach 15 minutes away). If you don't have a car, check the bus schedules (but they will be less frequent on Sunday). This marche is non-food market but full of great finds such as tablecloths, watches, lingerie, clothes, and more. There is a stand full of coated round, oval, and rectangle table cloths and an assortment of plastic cloths by the roll in every pattern possible. A wonderful find for outdoor tables that can't be beat. Stroll through the fishing village, take a boat tour, rent a bike or just walk on the promenade. Enjoy a lunch of Moules et Frites. For dessert you must try the crepe stand on the beach and choose from assorted toppings with a heaping of Chantilly (whipped cream) on top. If you have time at the end of Palavos is the Cathedral of Maguelone worth a visit. If it is warm bring your swimsuit and dip into the Mediterranean.
Day Four: Monday/ Lundi: Drive about an hour Northwest towards Gignac , Montpeyroux and St. Guilheim-le-Desert for wine tasting and different view of the countryside. Visit the different wineries along the way (as well as a few tasting rooms in these villages). If it warm enough bring a bathing suit and take a dip at Pont de Diable.
Return the Car to the Train Station and take the tram to the flat.
Day Five: Tuesday/ Mardi: Spend another day in Montpellier; visit the Musee du Fabre on the Esplanade, the many old homes available to visit (see tourist office), take a one hour tour on the Petite Train, shop some more and rent bikes at the many Tram stops and ride along the River Lez. Take time to visit the daily markets, one covered, Les Halles, and one in the open air on the edge of the Place de la Comédie near the tourist office. Also soak up the many wine and food shops dedicated to the indigenous local products of the land and sea. And finally, sample these same delights in the restaurants contained within the old stone walls of the old city. Be sure to walk from the Place L'Comedie to the Polygone and through the Antigone to the River Lez.
Montpellier also has an engaging 16th century teaching garden, the Jardin des Plantes, near the famous medical school, where medicinal and decorative plants grow from near and far. The edible and medicinal herbs and flowers are clearly marked. Frogs, fish, ducks, and the occasional cat also inhabit the greenery.
Day Six: Wednesday/ Mercredi - Take the train from the Montpellier Gare to Avignon for the day. Walk around the old city, shop, visit the famous Chateau de Papes and visit the Rhone River. Take the Petit Train around Avignon and you can get off and on at different historique sites. Return late in the day and walk up from the Montpelier train station (gare) to the Historique district and check out another of their wonderful restaurants. Take the tram back to the flat. Alternatively you can go to Nimes for the day.
Day Seven: Thursday/ Jeudi: Spend another day in Montpellier, enjoying the outdoor life, swim the Olympic pool, walk through the Antigone area or rent a bike, and shop in the markets at the Place de l'Comedie and Historique district and eat another fantastic meal.
Options, Options, Options:
Depending on what you want to do you and your women friends can have the time of their lives and experience something completely different. Depending on what you want to do, suggestions will be provided when you rent our flat for the week.