By Arachne

Barely a square centimetre of these large buildings is what it seems. They have no balconies, no windows and no-one is gazing out. Nor is there an archway between them. Everything thing is painted trompe l'oeil. Isn't it extraordinary?! I chanced across this and just stared and stared and stared. By the time I got to Montpellier's Place de la Comédie I had run out of time for exploring any more. Which was a shame but...

... an hour later I was in Narbonne which, it turned out, I loved even more. Narrow medieval streets, wide pedestrianised roads and squares, a sundial in the form of a fountain in the Archbishop's garden, corners, shadows, peeling paint, re-used stonework centuries out of place, buildings covered with layers of curved terra cotta roof tiles, a bridge over the canal so covered with shops that it was impossible to see it as a bridge (extra 2), caryatids, a stone frog in the font of St Paul's basilica, a cathedral that never got finished, a Monoprix curiously dedicated aux dames de France... (edit - see explanation from Livresse in comments)

After I'd wandered as much as my feet could manage I sat in a café recommended in a blip of Veronica's and read her blips of Narbonne to find out more. Then, a short train journey further on, Veronica herself met me at the station and drove me back to her delightful village. I am grateful for the wonderful, warm hospitality, her delicious food, the chance to chat and the opportunity to slow down a little after too many weeks on the go.

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