With 6 days before the return of the boys, I finally manage to make it out, as in, Going Out on a Friday Evening. This, as you may recall from a previous blog is something of a minor miracle. Last Friday we forgot that Friday evenings in August in Montpellier mean wine-tasting, tapas, stalls, music and dancing. How could we have forgotten? You might well ask!
Anyway, last night we didn't forget, and, after a somewhat damp cool day, drove into the centre of town, parked in the Polygone carpark which is only 20cts/hour after 7pm and strolled towards the Esplanade.
The gigantic plane trees were still in full leaf providing a delicate green ambiance beneath which open tents stood with book stalls, wine-tasting and the tapas counter. At these events you pay 3E and get 3 tokens for wine-tasting together with a 'degustation' glass usually engraved with the name of the event. I have been acquiring these glasses for a couple of years now and am building up a nice little collection. For another 3E you could have a plate of tapas or seafood. The Mairie had reserved the best tables beneath the main marquee but us proles could find the odd table with a free seat out in the open, at the mercy of the elements, which luckily, last night, were favourable being warm with just the merest breeze.
We started off tasting at our favourite Domaine Henry. M Henry recognised us, as well he might as we have been a 'client' for some time now, and greatly enjoyed his renaissance wine dinner last year. When I say 'client', I mean it in the loosest possible way as we always go and taste but the only thing we've ever bought was the expensive renaissance dinner. So, 'fidele' if not exactly 'gros acheteurs'. These tastings did not require the tokens so we made merry tasting our way through a number of bottles.
Feeling the effects of apero without nibbles, we headed off to the tapas bar where our tokens would provide half a glass each from one of the wine producer participants. I tell you, it was a well-oiled event this one.
We sat listening to a jazz band whilst nibbling the plate of tapas which contained 4 pieces of bread with toppings of olive paste, roasted aubergine and tomatoes, tomato and mozzarella, and something fishy. When the jazz band stopped, a group of Gypsy Kings-type took over on the band stand with some classic songs, nifty guitar-playing and ambiance de fete. All very foot-tapping. We had noticed some exotic female creatures wafting around, and these turned out to be four Spanish dancers who were to dance for our delight on a wooden stage in our midst. They ranged in age from twenties to late forties with two younger and two older ladies.
Their wrists twisting and turning, they stamped and twirled; the two older ones with attitude and grace, and the younger ones with flexibility and youth. Their heads held with pride, their arms aloft for all the world like a stylised fighting matedor and bull. The crowd applauded with appreciation for these ladies were good and around these parts they know what that means.
The evening light was by this time dimming, a queue had formed for the glasses and tokens and it seemed like the party had only just begun. M Henry's bonhomie had resulted in a crowd around his stand and his wife, herself a charming lady was pouring wine for their delectation.
We had a light supper overlooking the fun on the Esplanade and then were on our merry way.
Fridays in August are great fun!