On duty travel, in Montpellier. Arrived late last night at a very new hotel on the edge of town and discovered that there was nothing to eat. That would be fine if airlines still served a meal, but they don't, just a flimsy snack designed, I suspect, more as a diversion than anything else. I'm old enough to remember Freddy Laker's Skytrain and the joy of catering one's own in-flight meals. A trip to New York could be prolonged half a day by the simple expedient of buying a couple of decent bagels with lox and downing them, with a Dr Pepper, halfway across the Atlantic.

Montpellier is attractive, with an old city of mostly small streets curving up and around a hill. People seemed to be crowded into the open spaces and especially the cafes, enjoying the sunshine. I haven't established whether it was the first warm Saturday of the year, but it had that kind of feel, of creatures woken up and enjoying a simple pleasure. Excellent lunch too, of kebab and frites in a galette, with harissa and mayo. What a shame Italy's colonial exploits didn't expand their cuisine.

There's a strange, monolithic, neoclassical (or is it post-modern?) development between the hotel and the old town. More on that another time, if there's time.

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