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A Working Holiday
Chapter 1: We Leave for France
Chapter 10: Looking for Mr. Goodstone
Chapter 11: A mission to la Clape
Chapter 12: Dinner at Château de Lignan
Chapter 13: Antiques and plunder
Chapter 14: The vintner next door
Chapter 15: The rooftops of Nézignan-l'Évêque
Chapter 2: Comes the crusade
Chapter 3: The 13 colonies
Chapter 4: Our curtains are dreadful
Chapter 5: Naked beaches
Chapter 6: A visit to Château des Estanilles
Chapter 7: A pilgrimage to Toulouse
Chapter 8: Remembering Collioure
Chapter 9: The priest and the mayor
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A Day Trip Itinerary...print this out   print the content item
Shopping women’s designer clothes and beautiful notebooks in Montpellier

At one end of rue Foch is
Montpellier's pint-sized version
of the Arc de Triomphe. Zapa's
not far from the arch.
Montpellier boasts the oldest medical college in Europe, founded during the Crusades. The city is also home for IBM Europe. It's rich, beautiful, relaxed and unintimidating, with a young population. It has good restaurants and very nice shops. Two of our favorites: -- Zapa (18, rue Foch, 04 67 66 36 67), which displays its own clothes for women, suitable for all ages. The designs and fabrics are dramatic, urbane, and instant classics (and the sales people are very helpful)-- Trait (24, rue de l'Aiguillerie, 04 67 02 79 54), the one and only branch of a Paris specialty stationer that designs its own line of high-touch notebooks just begging for your most intimate thoughts.

A few doors from Zapa on the same side
of the street is luxurious lingerie.
Time to destination: 45 minutes.
From the house in Valros, head toward St. Thibéry. Look for blue signs directing you to the A9, the Autoroute. Take the A9 toward Montpellier. Leave the A9 at either exit 31 or exit 30 and follow the signs to "Centre Ville," the center of town. You will start to see signs for Place de la Comédie, which is on the edge of the historic and shopping district. There is a huge underground parking garage there, convenient to everything. Park and take your ticket. Walk to street level. You will see cafés, a large old movie theater, and lots of pedestrians. Head uphill on the rue de la Loge (just follow the foot traffic; the rue de la Loge is the main corridor through this district). This turns into rue Foch, where you'll find Zapa. The stationer Trait is in this district, too, on a side street that starts at the rue de la Loge.

The Place de la Comédie.
Photo by Joel Carr
Montpellier has no shortage of good restaurants, including one of France's rare Michelin three-stars (Jardin des Sens). We ate a very pleasant lunch at La Coquilles, a place with outdoor seating on Plan du Palais, one block from rue Foch, near Zapa. Tired and you want to go home? You pay for parking by inserting your ticket in a kiosk at the pedestrian entrance. The kiosk shows you what you owe. You insert cash or coins into the machine, and your ticket pops back out, validated. As you exit the garage in your car, insert your validated ticket into the machine at the gate, and the gate will lift.
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