We’ve been looking around Occitanie. We’re approaching the age when we stop feeding the parasites and join them. My wife wants to buy a small house with sun, and, since she’s French, the med makes sense.

two mad men in two mad boats joust over water

This time, it’s just to get a feel of the various towns in the region. We’re staying in Montpellier, a city with facilities & transport links, and have visited Avignon, Sète and Beziers. All have their points.

But first we visited Le Grau du Roi, a town of tourist tat and yachts. If you’re a gadzillionaire who likes cheap touristy crap on your myriad mantleshelves, there’s no better place to visit. It’s not for me.

Avignon has an ancient city centre with lots of history to investigate, and is ‘surrounded’ by humungous suburbs of tower blocks of apartments, as is the French way. If you like Cambridge, you’ll like Avignon. The town is most certainly worth a visit, and probably a few days stay, but I don’t see myself living there.

Sète is a proper seaside town, with a harbour containing working boats, not just gadzillionaires’ penises. It’s an upmarket Margate, without the brilliant arts museum, but with an emphasis, all the same, on the arts. Furthermore, the town has its own bizarre traditions: by chance, we witnessed the start of the jousting season.

Finally, we visited Beziers. My wife likes its inexpensive property: a small house is the price of a Parisian flat. The town is neither big nor small, it has a poetry park and at least one good boulangerie (in that I ate a superb sandwich there). As you can probably tell, this is where we’ve decided to start looking to buy.