Four cities in seven days. There’s nothing quite like being young and restless. In February, I took a trip around southern France with another assistant friend of mine. We decided to buy an Interflix bus pass, which gave us five one-way bus tickets to any cities for 99 euros. We ended up going from Metz to Paris, Paris to Toulouse, Toulouse to Marseille, Marseille to Montpellier, and Montpellier to Nancy/Metz.
Other than living on a lot of grocery store carrot salad, visiting museums and art galleries (we’re nerds), and sleeping on night buses we managed to catch some cool sights. Here’s what I recommend in Toulouse, Marseille, and Montpellier if you’re looking to get a feel for their vibes.
scenic, welcoming, vibrant
- Spend some time riverside along La Garonne.
- Eat traditional cassoulet. Le Marché Victor Hugo has some affordable options. I would recommend eating this dish for lunch, as it’s quite heavy and you might need the rest of the day to walk it off.
- Watch the sunset reflecting off the red brick of the city. There’s a reason why Toulouse is the pink city.
bustling, fresh, sunny
- Walk around Old Port and Le Panier (a nearby neighborhood).
- Eat fresh seafood. I recommend Toinou. It’s just a short walk from Old Port.
- Splurge on a boat tour. Whether it’s Les Calanques or Chateau d’If, the blue waters and white cliffs will not disappoint.
hip, bohemian, charming
- Stop by a toy store out of bygone years called Pomme de Reinette et Pomme d’Api. Internet shopping could never replace the experience of getting lost in this place.
- Picnic in the park. Montpellier is a city of people who take picnicking seriously.
- Hang out in Place de la Comedie and wait for street performers to play or for people to spontaneously break out into dance.