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Botanist, alpinist, researcher, green activist...
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Christian’s house is a kind of paradise for frazzled parents and teens. There is plenty of space indoors and out: table tennis and a trampoline in the garage, a mass of greenery in the courtyard and on the two roof terraces, plenty of sofas to laze upon and a well-equipped kitchen. For many visitors the proximity to the historic centre of Montpellier will be a significant attraction - ten minutes walk to the Jardin de Plants and Palais du Justice, fifteen into the ending streets of the heart of the city, twenty to the Comédie and the fabulous outdoor food festival held on Friday nights in August. Using the tram system you can also connect to the beach bus service and find a totally different world in places like Palavas les Flots. For stay-at-home days though, the area immediately around the house is fascinating too. The locals are a mixture of French bohemians and North African immigrants. It’s diverse and harmonious, and the diversity is reflected in the bar culture and the late night bakeries and butchers and grocery shops. You can buy anything from a typical baguette to a Morrocan brique here. To Londoners, the area feels very safe and cohesive, almost like a French Brooklyn. The house is not without its quirks. The middle floor gets hot at night and you have to keep an eye on the plants and the fish and the cat - very friendly and a good mouser. It’s not the sort of place for people who want their loo paper folded into neat triangles. But the breeze on the top floor bedroom is blissful and what’s not to like about playing monopoly under a parasol at midnight while fat drops of Mediterranean rain fall around you? Imagine house-sitting for an old college friend. That’s the vibe. The wine is cheap, the nights are warm, and if you’re like us, you’ll start dreaming of living there too.