I picked Alicia straight from school at 1150hrs and drove down to meet friends for lunch and Christmas shopping in Montpellier - we made a huge error in thinking we could park in town and had to turn around and come back to the tram. The car parks were chocka on a Thursday lunchtime...
Anyway, to cut a long storm short - Alicia was a whinging little monkey wanting to go on the carousel in the Comedie right from the very beginning (I should have let her right then but we were at that point 1 hour late for our RDV with someone who had been trying to save a table at the Cafe Riche - after 2 bad episodes there I'm never going back now.) Cafe Riche look at you daggers if you don't order everything you want NOW, immediately - all in one go and have a full table and their service is soooo slow.
So after eating an extremely expensive plate of pasta and a glass of red wine around the corner - we set off to that fabulous chocolate shop on the rue de St Guilhem - which is lovely - you just breathe in chocolate the moment you arrive. It was full of elbowing women buying boxes of chocs for Euro40 a pop and Alicia was still asking for the roundy-roundy-thing. I bought 100g of horrendously expensive chocs to calm both me and Alicia down. They didn't work. The shop is crap if you want to take in a pushchair (especially one which a toddler in it that doesn't want to be in it)
We look in the windows of the lovely florists and cookery shops on that same road (don't even try to take in a pushchair... small hands very good at reaching glassware...)
Then back around to the amazingly beautifully decorated back streets on the Ancien Courier and I find the toy shop on the corner of rue Bra de Fer (the road where the English bookshop is). The most amazing toys in there - really worth a trip - no plastic crap / bleeping noisy stuff - really original ideas. But totally impossible to take a pushchair into. Friends hold onto Alicia for the 15 minutes I am in there. The staff are knowledgeable about their product and know how each game works - and know what's good for each age range.
Then to Pinto the food shop - great for food from all countries - and special things you really won't find anywhere else. I bought some real Violette things you put on fairy cakes to decorate ('A' thought they were volcanic stones) - some ginger in syrup, some orangettes to cover in chocolate and some black treacle.
The funny moment was trying to remember the name for Turkish Delight in French - I think the whole shop listening to me saying: it's pink and yellow, covered in icing sugar - comes from Turkey and tastes of roses. I dunno if it is all that but she did guess what we wanted in the end.
Then back to the Comedie to the roundy-roundy-thing - I had to go on with her twice - frightening to death someone who pinch all my cadeaux on the pushchair while I abandoned it - got very stressed and then had to neck my glass of vin chaud which made my tongue numb due to the amount of cinnamon in it. But very good.
A short walk around the Christmas market which is lovely - the Comedie is lovely in the dark with all the lights... and home to beat the rush hour.
I'm sure it's not as stressful as shopping on Oxford Street like I used to do, but...
Accommodation searches short, medium & long term
Help with house purchases (we are not an estate agent, therefore totally without bias)
Help with Utilities - English speaking contacts for all requirements (Banking, Insurance....)
English TV installation - Telephone & internet installations
Holiday Home / Gite Management (15 years experience in the UK Travel Industry)
Making friends - Helping with schools, creches, nannies, shopping, home-making...
Telling you how it is, no rose-tinted spectacles here.