Rich history meets contemporary chic in Montpellier, a confident yet modest city in southern France. Seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke once said, ‘I find it much better to go twice to Montpellier than once to the other world.’ Of course, much of the ‘other world’ hadn’t been discovered at the time Locke was waxing so lyrical, but his point remains. Because if you want style, culture, natural beauty and the wonderfully French joie de vivre from morning until long into the night, you want Montpellier.
Meander along the vast tree-lined esplanade and explore some history at the Place Royale du Peyrou, test your expertise in edibles with a fantastic tour through the world of food and foods of the world at Agropolis, or just while away the afternoon among the flowers in France’s oldest botanical garden – Jardin des Plantes.
Montpellier’s Top 10
10. Musée du Vieux Montpellier A delightful collection of Montpellier memorabilia from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution.
5. Musée de l’Histoire de Montpellier For a lively retelling of Montpellier’s history, this museum is well worth a visit.
9. Hôtel de Varennes Medieval but made-over in the 18th century, the whimsical old-world feel is palpable.
4. Cathédrale St-Pierre Just opposite the botanic garden, this 15th century cathedral is a Montpellier icon.
8. Musée Atger Housesa charming collection of southern European drawings.
3. Palavas-les-Flots Take some time off and watch the vibrant flamingos idling around the lagoon.
7. Musée Languedocien Delve into Montpellier’s past, and admire the 16th-19th century art.
2. Musée Fabre For an abundance of rich European artwork spanning over five centuries, this museum is a must!
6. Aquarium Mare Nostrum From polar waters to jungle rivers, this aquarium will immerse you with its 15 aquatic environments.
1. Serre Amazonienne This spectacular appendix to Montpellier’s zoo houses all kinds of fantastic creatures from the Amazon rainforest.
- La Tour de la Babotte – This tower has been used an observatory to study the eclipse of the sun.
- Château du Flaugergues – A grand 17th-century château, home to a collection of furnishings and artwork.
- Château de la Mogère – This château was renovated in the 18th century.
- Cathédrale St Pierre – A cathedral notable for its twin church towers.
- Arc de Triomphe – A much-loved Montpellier landmark.
Montpellier Art & Culture
- Antigone District – Here, tourists can find housing projects designed by the Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill.
- Le Musée d'Anatomie – Home to a rich collection of comparative anatomical exhibits.
- Musee Fabre – A museum housed in an old high school building.
- El Cuba Café – Learn salsa dancing here on Fridays.
- Musée Languedocien – Montpellier's Museum of Languedoc is home to an extensive collection of prehistoric artefacts.
- Rue Foch – An abundance of clothing stores can be found here.
- Polygone shopping centre – Home to a wide variety of stores.
- Montpellier flea market – Held every Sunday morning, this market sells brand-name clothing and assorted household goods.
- Sauramps bookstore – Located at the end of la Comedie, this independent bookstore offers a wide range of literature
- Gibert Joseph bookstore – Located at the Place de la Prefecture, this independent bookstore is a great alternative to the Sauramps bookstore.
Gay & Lesbian Montpellier
- Lesbian et Gay Pride – A lesbian and gay pride festival held every year at the end of May and start of June.
- La Villa Rouge – A well-known gay clubbing destination.
- Speedboat Gay Tour – A gay boat tour, which takes guests to Espiguette Beach.
- Les Jardins de la Source – A gay wellness centre in the heart of Montpellier.
- Plage des Aresquiers – A popular, gay-friendly beach ideal for sunbathing and mixing with tourists and locals alike.
- Les Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Garden) – The ideal destination to explore Montpellier’s rich variety of plant species.
- Montpellier Zoo – This zoo features an outdoor area with lions and bears.
- The Festival de Radio France et Montpellier – An outdoor festival of opera and music.
- Bois de Montmaur – This park offers adequate space to roam and is home to picnic areas and children's playgrounds.
- Domaine de Grammont – This 90-acre park is situated within the estate of a château. It is home to botanical greenhouses, a vast horse-riding centre, modern sports facilities, a beautiful bird park and more.
- See the Montpellier HSC play association football at the Stade de la Mosson.
- Watch the Montpellier Hérault RC play rugby union at the Stade Yves du Manoir.
- Catch the Montpellier Red Devils rugby league team at the Stade Sabathé.
- Check out the skills of the Montpellier Agglomération handball team.
- Wrap up warm and see the Montpellier Vipers ice hockey team play at the Patinoire de l'Agglomération de Montpellier.
For an exploration of religious cinema that will have you praying for more, head to the Festival Chrétien du Cinema every January.
If you are lucky enough to be in town every second February, revel in the delights of a multitude of Mediterranean wines at the VINISUD event.
For the biggest adrenaline rush in all of Europe, hit the International Extreme Sports Festival in May.
For some highbrow French culture, slide on your ballet slippers and pirouette over to the Montpellier Dance Festival in June.
For an explosion of Montpellier’s vivid culture, make sure you’re in town for the annual Quartiers Libres Festival in October.
When To Go
- For pleasant weather for lying on the beach to smelling the roses, a Montpellier spring is divine.
- For the best time for sunshine and swimming, summertime in Montpellier is perfection, with average highs of 29ºC (84ºF).
- Most of the year in Montpellier is quite mild, and it’s perfectly enjoyable in winter for al fresco dining, or coffee under the sun.
There is a beautiful and extensive network of bike tracks around Montpellier, and hiring a bicycle is a fantastic and unique way to see the sights.
Montpelier’s bus system is comprehensive and relatively inexpensive.
Montpellier is a quaint, compact city and taking a walk to see the sights will take less time than ordering a macchiato!
Attractions & Activities
Montpellier has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers.
- Winter (December to February) 3-13°C
- Spring (March to May) 6-23°C
- Summer (June to September) 16-30°C
- Fall (October to November) 6-21°C
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