We’ve been looking around Occitanie. We’re approaching the age when we stop feeding the parasites and become one. 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 all the facilities, and have visited Avignon, Sète and Beziers. All have their points.

But before we did that, we visited Le Grau du Roi, which is basically a town of tourist tat and yachts. If you’re a gadzillionaire who likes to buy cheap touristy crap to decorate your myriad mantleshelves, there’s no better place to visit. It’s not for me!

Avignon has a 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 gadzillionairres’ penises. It’s like 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 liked it because the housing isn’t too expensive; for the price of a flat in Paris, one can buy a decently sized house. 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 my wife has decided to start looking for somewhere to buy.