8am – Wake up. (We set an alarm this time).
9am – Continental breakfast. (Everything we hoped it would be. Namely – croissants and some other stuff.)
9:30am – Checkout.
11am – With our dry-run of the route yesterday from needing to purchase tickets, we make it to the train station with plenty of time to board.
11:15 – Our train leaves for Beziers! Underwhelmed by First Class. Slightly more room. Not really so many more amenities. Meh.
12:30pm – The food car is pretty awesome. Wine comes with the prix-fixe sandwich menus 🙂
12:45pm – My croque-monsieur is completely life-changing. Life-changing carrots too.
3:30pm – Transfer at Beziers for Bedarieux, which is the neighboring town to Villemagne, which is where we are ultimately bound. Ben has a life-changing kebab sandwich from a corner store while we wait out our hour layover. I explore the park across the street, which has a nice monument to all the fallen soldiers of Beziers in the two World Wars, a war with Indochina, and a war with North Africa.
4:45pm – We are officially traveling second-class on the second leg of the journey, but it hardly seems to matter. Bedarieux is clearly pretty far off the beaten path. There are a total of maybe seven people on the two cars. We find roomy seats in what is probably the first-class car, and no one makes us leave. In fact, no one even checks our ticket. I attempt to use the train restroom, but it is a far cry from the previous train’s restroom, and I abandon the attempt almost immediately.
5:15pm – Arrive in Bedarieux. Successfully ask the “Information” guy where the nearest supermarket is (we’ve been warned that we should stock up at least for breakfast and lunch the next day before leaving – there’s no grocery store where we’re staying), and how to get a taxi.
5:30pm – Turns out the supermarche (Super-U – “Les nouveaux commerçants”) is right down the street, and it’s like Walmart. Clothing, fertilizer, pet meds, you name it. I buy bread, cheese, eggs, onions, sausage, yogurt, grapes, and potatoes. Ben buys Oreos, French cookies, and wine.
5:45pm – Decked out with luggage, backpacks, and grocery provisions, we begin the task of finding a cab. We call the number that Info guy gave us. After many false-starts and repeats (he speaks no English and my French is really that terrible), I understand that he can’t pick us up until after 10pm. That sucks. But wait – he can give me the number for another cab driver! We stumble briefly when I forget that the French say “95” as “four-twenty-and-fifteen,” and he has to correct me like a 2-year old.
5:45pm – The other cab driver speaks some English, so this goes faster. What time would I like a cab? 6:30? Figure I’ll give her a few minutes to get here. But she can’t do 6:30 – she can also only come after 10pm. Rats. I am telling Ben that we will have to hang out in front of the Super-U for the next 4 and a half hours, when she offers in English, “But I can come now if you want.” Hooray!!
Traveler’s Note: If you are coming to Villemagne, I HIGHLY recommend reserving a cab ahead of time. Like a day, or several days before. We had actually tried this, but the number we had kept buzzing “Out of Service,” which is how we ended up nearly waiting four and a half hours to go the final 10-minute leg of our journey.
6:15pm – Our cab driver, who is very, very nice, drives us to Villemagne where we quickly get lost in the overwhelming five streets with no street signs. She turns off the meter and calls her son on her cell phone because his girlfriend lives in this town, and he directs her to the right street. We get out and still don’t know which door is ours, but it’s a very short street, so we figure we can figure it out. Our cab driver saves us the trouble by asking the guy watching us from his balcony, and he informs us that we’re standing right in front of our front door.
6:17pm – The key works! Hooray!!
6:20pm – This. House. Is. SO. CUTE. UNBELIEVABLE!! TOTALLY WORTH IT!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS WHOLE PLACE RENTS FOR THE PRICE OF A HOSTEL!!
6:30-?? Unpacking, exploring. 3 bedrooms! 2 studies! Clean spacious attic with a huge skylight and a work desk facing the mountains! Washer and dryer! Spotlessly clean! Ben smacks his head for the first time on the stone arch between the dining room and living room.
7ish?? – We take a walk down the other 4 streets in town.
Find the shi-shi restaurant for which you need a reservation and can easily spend $100 a night. Find the other, less expensive restaurant with a prix-fixe 12 euro menu around the corner. They are open. We are their only customers. DELICIOUS. We finish an entire bottle of excellent local wine.
9pmish – ??? I have no memory of the rest of the evening. Eventually we ended up asleep……….