Hello from sunny France, where my brother, his girlfriend, and I arrived this morning! We’ve just got to my stepmother’s parents’ holiday home (which is located a short distance from the small town of Pézenas), but before coming here, we had a little explore of the much larger Montpellier. We had planned to do some sightseeing, but our 4 a. m. start from London ended up rather robbing us of our energy, so we spent the majority of our time instead resting our feet in the tranquil Atelier 14 restaurant.
Hidden away in a small alley close to the city’s main shopping street, this little eatery was the ideal place for us to enjoy an authentic – and reasonably affordable – French meal. We had a wide selection of dishes to choose from, and, if we hadn’t been too exhausted to budge from our table on the terrace, we could even have watched our food being prepared in the open-plan kitchen.
We all decided to get the best value for our money by ordering from the restaurant’s set menu. There were three plats du jour (dishes of the day) to choose from, and although these cost about the same as any other dish, they were a lot more interesting in terms of ingredients and overall taste. In addition – because we’d gone for this option – we got a significant discount on desserts (and would have done on starters, too, if we’d ordered any).
I went for an émincé de thon – small cutlets of tuna, cooked in a tomato, caper, and onion sauce – followed by three scoops of refreshing ice cream. All this was wonderfully flavoursome, and I'm quite sure I ate every last scrap of it. My brother was slightly less fortunate – the chicken in his citrusy meat stew was still basically raw when it arrived in front of him – but this problem was dealt with efficiently, and the staff were most apologetic.
The surrounding area
We had a bit of time kill after we’d polished off our plates, so, dragging our heavy suitcases behind us, we made our way through the maze of shopping streets surrounding the restaurant. A few chain stores were dotted here and there, but a majority of the establishments we visited were independent, and packed full of unique items.
We then walked a few blocks to Montpellier’s central square – the Place de la Comédie – which reminded me rather a lot of Bordeaux, at least architecturally. From here, we jumped onto a tram, and within half an hour, we were reunited with our family, and homeward bound.