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About Me:Hi I’m Nadege and I study French at the University of Leeds, and I have just completed my third year abroad in Montpellier studying literature and enjoying the sunshine! I love art; painting and being creative, as well as photography and baking. Travelling is my favourite hobby at the moment; experiencing the French language and culture. I hope you enjoy reading some of my articles!
People in Montpellier kept telling me ‘you should climb that mountain’, yet having no idea which mountain they were talking about I soon forgot. My only thoughts were I didn’t think that there were mountains in Montpellier; a coastal city. Well I was wrong. After some research, I found the famous emblematic mountain of Montpellier – Pic Saint-Loup, and decided I must hike up it. Reviews stated that the hike took one hour going up, and even less coming down. However, climbing 658 metres high, up the Pic Saint Loup, in roughly 22 degrees proved to be a much harder challenge! About an hour and a half to two hours later, we finally made it to the top, with no water left and burnt to a crisp, it wasn’t the best of outcomes (In Montpellier you can get burnt in April!). The ‘path’ is more like a pathway of broken down rocks constantly becoming steeper and steeper. However, it was obviously extremely popular, with hikers, runners and planes gliding in the skies.
I must admit that seeing the breathtaking views at the summit of the Pic Saint Loup made it worthwhile, with views over the Cévennes/Canigou mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. There are two distinctive peaks; the Pic Saint-Loup and the Montagne de l’Hortus which you could see opposite (see IMAGE 1). Although such an amazing sight, it was also absolutely terrifying as there was a sheer drop once you reached the top and peered over the edge! We were able to visit the old chapel at the summit, but apart from this, you simply climb to see the panoramic views. The summit is distinguished by a cross which you can see from the bottom of the mountain, and you somehow don’t believe it is possible to reach it! There is also the Montferrand castle which dates back to 1108, but it was lower, about 400 metres up the mountain, and I assume that visiting this castle would be dangerous as there is no pathway! However, there is a clear view of the castle when you are hiking up to the summit.
When at the top of the mountain, I noticed the clearest little turquoise lake. I wondered if we would be able to drive to it, and following many back roads, which felt as though we were in the desert, we finally found the lake thanks to Google maps! It seemed to be very well known to the locals, who made the most of its man-made beach. With people riding horses along the lake, the mountains in the background and the surrounding countryside and vineyards, the view was picturesque! The summit of the Pic Saint-Loup looked truly extraordinary from a face-on view and I immediately felt proud of myself for reaching its peak.
It just goes to show that when visiting a location, it is important to fully research the surrounding areas because you could be missing out on the most incredible sights!
IMAGE 1 - personal picture. The summit of Pic Saint-Loup.
IMAGE 2 - personal picture. The turquoise lake with Pic Saint-Loup in the background.