MONTPELLIER, France – A group of Wabash College alums, spouses, a professor, student, and staff member arrived in Montpellier in Southern France late Saturday afternoon for an eight-day exploration.
See a few photos from our first day in France here.
The group gathered Friday in Crawfordsville and Chicago then Saturday morning in Paris and Montpellier. The highlight of the day certainly wasn’t the the long travel day with a few delays but a grand evening meal in the old city at Le Petit Jardin. The group was joined by a guest, Professor Michel Bandry and his wife Claire. Professor Bandry was a visiting professor and Fulbright Scholar at Wabash in the late 1960s. He is a friend of Bob Wedgeworth.
Jacques Frelin and his wife were dinner guests and gave the group an introduction to Languedoc wines. Frelin’s family was an early leader in France’s growing organic wine movement. His wines were served at dinner. Also joining us for dinner was Sarah Hargreaves who runs a one-woman press agency and assisted with some of the arrangements on our trip.
Every member of the entourage has made prior trips to France with the exception of student David Newhart. But Montpellier was new to most of the group. An enjoyable walk through the historic city center was climaxed on the return trip with a visit to the city’s own Arch de Triumph. Newhart gave the alums a taste of immersion learning by talking briefly about the historic landmark.
Dinner took full stage for Saturday. A lovely asparagus appetizer with a soft-boiledd egg and hollandaise sauce got us started. Guinea Fowl with potatos took centerstage followed by a decadent chocolate dessert. Frelin’s wines were also a big hit. But as one might expect, the conversation, laughter and stories over dinner were the real highlight.
Things go into full swing Sunday morning when Director of New Media Howard Hewitt, who is a wine writer on the side, takes the group to meet one of the Languedoc’s leading organic producers Vigile Joly in the small village of Saint Saturnin de Lucian. Afterwards it’s a walk through a historical and aristocratic chateau – the home, gardens, and taste the wines from vineyards in the city limits of Montpellier.
– Howard W. Hewitt, Director of New Media