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Adventures Ashore: Montpellier and Flaugergues Castle

Today we’ve come about an hour from Sete to the city of Montpellier. Montpellier doesn’t have a Roman heritage like a lot of the cities here in the south of France. It’s a Medieval city founded in 985. Let’s take a look around beautiful Montpellier.

The heart and soul of Montpellier is the Place de la Comedié. The square was named for a theater that burned down here in the 1700s. In the center for the square is the Three Graces fountain, which was built here more than 200 years ago.

The old part of Montpellier dates back to the 12th century. There’s not a lot remaining from that period, but what you will see are buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries that line the narrow streets and quaint squares.

Situated only 7 miles from the sea, Montpellier has the feel of a Mediterranean city. It’s an easy city to explore on foot and an exceptionally charming one. On the outskirts of the city are old country mansions, and that’s where we’re headed next.

These beautiful grounds, just a few minutes from Montpellier’s city center, belong to Monsieur and Madame de Colbert. Their country mansion is called Château Flaugergues, and it’s one of many of the mansions that were constructed around Montpellier by wealthy merchants, aristocrats serving the French King.

Etienne de Flaugergues purchased the property in 1696. He spent the next 45 years to create the look of the home he wanted. The estate was passed down to subsequent generations and later sold. One of the owners created the beautiful gardens that you can still see today. The property now belongs to the Colberts, who produce Flaugergues wine as one means of supporting this elegant property.

Inside the setting exudes the charm of a house that has been home to noble families for many years. The furnishing will impress you as will the monumental staircase. Don’t miss the 17th-century Brussels tapestries or the chance to talk to the owner.

Ralph Grizzle: You say it’s 1,000 years?

Monsieur Colbert: I have said in my family 350 years, before there were monks from 1,000 years ago.

Ralph Grizzle: And you’re living here now?

Monsieur Colbert: And now I am living here for 45 years.

Ralph Grizzle: And you bring people into your house?

Monsieur Colbert: It’s the best job in the world. Because when I see people like this, they are glad and for me this is very important. This house is your house. Voila. This is my philosophy.

I was impressed that Mr. Colbert was so passionate about his home and with a place like this, well, who wouldn’t be?

This was a really great visit to the chateaux. It was the icing on the cake for our visit to Montpellier and what made it so was the warmth and hospitality of our host, a count who owns this place, and wine from his vineyard.


ralphgrizzleAn avid traveler and an award-winning journalist, Ralph Grizzle produces articles, video and photos that are inspiring and informative, personal and passionate. A journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ralph has specialized in travel writing for more than two decades. To read more cruise and port reviews by Ralph Grizzle, visit his website at www.avidcruiser.com.

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