A last post from my trip to the south. Montpellier. This was not my first visit to this city, so I neglected a bit the more well-known landmarks, but here are a few views from the central parts, including the new design of the railway station, rooftops, some narrow streets and alleys…
… and the well-visited cafés. The city is full of students.
Montpellier was as early as the 12th century an important trading centre, known for a tolerant co-habitation between Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Cathares… and, later, Protestants. One of the world’s first universities was created in 1220, best known for its medical faculty. (Bologna, Oxford, Salamanca (a place you must visit, see here), Paris... were only slightly earlier.)
I had the pleasure to visit one of the relatively few existing harpsichord makers, “Clavecins Martine Argellies”. I learnt a lot about harpsichord manufacturing, the instrument’s history… It would be nice to have one, but you need the space… and the money.
I got a chance to play for a brief moment, trying to remember my limited harpsichord experience from school (where we were lucky to have one). Here is a recording of one of my favourite harpsichord pieces:
On a wall of the factory you can find the remains of a "buffet d'eau", a fountain, with the bust of a woman, with a multitude of breasts, one of the images of the deity Artemis (Diana), who was the goddess of hunt, wilderness… but also of childbirth. Originally it stood in the garden of a maternity, but, without changing place, it was incorporated and thus saved in the wall during the 19th.
I also went to see what a couple of years ago became a national dancing centre. The buildings used to be an Ursuline Convent, later transformed to prison, to barracks…