In the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Montpellier is the capital of the Hérault department. Strategically positioned on the holiday motorway leading to Spain on the one hand and Italy on the other, this city is also ideally situated for access to the various major regional centres.
Under the influence of the Mediterranean, Montpellier enjoys a very sunny and dry climate in the summer. Since 2004, the city centre is no longer accessible to cars, except for local residents and delivery professionals. Discover Montpellier, the sunny city par excellence!
MONTPELLIER’S MUST-SEE DISTRICTS
Montpellier is a pleasant city to live in. Its centre is full of activity. Here are a few districts not to be missed during your tourist stay.
- The Place de la Comédie and its surroundings: On the Place de la Comédie, the actual centre of the city, you will find many cafés for a drink, restaurants, a cinema, the opera, as well as many shops, ideal for shopping with friends or family. You will also be able to contemplate listed historical monuments such as the emblematic Fountain of the Three Graces which represents three characters from Greek mythology, the daughters of the god Zeus.The Rue de la Loge, a 300 metre walk away, is a shopping street where you will also find many ready-to-wear boutiques.700 metres from the Place de la Comédie is the Corum, a superb reception hall to be admired.And if you are looking for a bit of nature and freshness in the centre of the city, head to the Jardin du Champ de Mars. This park, open since 1900 and covering 35,000 m², is a real jewel of vegetation. Stroll along the paths and admire the trees and colourful flowers, all to the sound of the waterfall.
- The historic centre of Montpellier: L’Ecusson, which is the historic heart of Montpellier with its charming little streets, its pretty squares, its churches, the Porte de la Salinière, but also its cafés-restaurants where you can take a break during your discovery of the city. And to enjoy a view of the city, go to the western side of the Ecusson, Promenade du Peyrou, also called Place royale du Peyrou. On this beautiful esplanade, you will be able to admire several historical monuments: the statue of Louis XIV on his horse put in place in the 18th century, a 17th century triumphal arch, or a water tower extended by an aqueduct.
- The Antigone district: Close to the Place de la Comédie, which is often overflowing with activity, the Antigone district, further away from the centre, offers a quieter setting. It is easy to get around the city, either on foot or thanks to its well-developed transport network (bus or tram) and its many cycle paths for cycling enthusiasts.
HISTORICAL MONUMENTS AND MUSEUMS NOT TO BE MISSED
Most of the monuments in Montpellier date from the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as the courthouse, the train station, the theatre and the two churches.
The Tower of Babote and the Tower of Pines
The historic heart of the town contains the Tower of the Babote, a remnant of the old medieval fortress. The Tower became an observatory in the 18th century and was used by the telegraphic services in the 19th century. Nowadays, it is the Fédération d’Astronomie Populaire du Midi which has taken over the premises.
The Tower of Pines dates from the same period. It is 25 metres high and takes its name from the fact that two pine trees are said to have grown on its top. Today it houses a brotherhood of the Barons of Caravetes. Take a walk in the garden at the bottom of the tower.
Saint Pierre’s Cathedral was built in the 14th century and originally served as a chapel for the Benedictines. Visit this imposing religious monument with its Gothic architecture and impressive entrance supported by two pillars several metres wide.
The medieval mikveh
In Rue Barralerie, come and visit the Mikvé of Montpellier, listed as a historical monument. These are Jewish baths dating from the 13th century which had a ritual purification role.
They bear witness to the presence of a large Jewish community in Montpellier which had a major influence on the influence of the city at that time. The Mikvé is very well preserved and is one of the oldest in Europe.
Discover the many museums of Montpellier:
Founded in 1825 by the baron of the same name, the Fabre Museum is one of the most famous museums in France. François-Xavier Fabre donated his collections of paintings to the city of Montpellier: the museum was born. The magnificent art galleries will take you through the ages, between permanent and temporary exhibitions. Allow a small budget of 6 € per person to discover it. Thanks to the city pass, you have free access to the museum.
The Atger Museum has a large collection of several thousand drawings from different European schools.
The Musée du Fougau is located in the Hôtel particulier de Varennes. It is dedicated to the life in Montpellier in the past and to the culture of Provence.
You can admire objects and clothing from the last century, in particular with the “Enfanca” exhibition devoted to children. A great way to put yourself in the shoes of the Montpellier inhabitants of yesterday during your visit. Admission is free.
The Museum of Old Montpellier is also located in the Hôtel particulier de Varennes. Stroll among the furniture and other objects related to the history of the city in very different periods: Middle Ages, French Revolution, Napoleonic era, etc.
Finally, the Museum of the History of Montpellier relates the history of Montpellier between the 10th and 16th centuries.
The Hotel of the Treasurers of France
Also known as the Lunaret Hotel, this building of almost 1,500 m² is the former residence of Jacques Coeur, a 15th century merchant. It was also inhabited by King Louis XIII in the 17th century. The hotel has been listed as a historic monument since 1931. Rehabilitated, it now houses the Languedocien Museum.
The city’s private mansions
Montpellier has several dozen private mansions: the Mirman, Montcalm, de Rodez de Benavent, Saint-Côme, etc. Although most of Montpellier’s mansions are not open to visitors, the Montpellier Tourist Office reveals the mysteries of some of them.
Discover their architecture and what is hidden in the inner courtyards. In the Hôtel de Varennes, for example, you will find the Fougau Museum and the Museum of Old Montpellier.
The plant garden
At the end of the 16th century, the royal garden was created, which is now the oldest botanical garden in the country. It was destroyed and restored in the 17th century and redesigned in the following century.
This Jardin des Plantes, located near the Faculty of Medicine in Montpellier, is ideal for a walk if you are looking for a little coolness, especially in the summer season.
Stroll through the various areas of the park and discover a multitude of plants of all kinds. Perfect for a real moment of rejuvenation in connection with nature in the heart of Montpellier. Access is free.
A must for summer in Montpellier: the beach
Palavas-les-Flots beach, La Grande Motte, Carnon, l’Espiguette, Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone… Around Montpellier, there is no shortage of beaches where you can cool off or sunbathe.
Nature lovers will be delighted at the Aresquiers beach in Frontignan, a magnificent wilderness area under protection.
The remains of former cantonments are visible, but everyone can enjoy the peace and quiet of the lush nature. An ideal beach to relax on! It is supervised during the summer season.
EVENTS IN MONTPELLIER
Cinema, dance, music, literature, sport… Montpellier is a dynamic city where all kinds of renowned festivities take place every year.
For example, the Montpellier Marathon, which starts and finishes at the Place du Nombre d’Or, is over 42 km long and attracts over 6,000 participants. Every autumn, the International Mediterranean Film Festival (or Cinémed) is held.
This event allows you to learn about the cinema of the Portuguese, Armenian and Black Sea regions. Its fame ranks it just behind the famous Cannes Film Festival.
The Montpellier Danse festival of contemporary dance presents free performances in the city. The Radio France Occitanie Montpellier festival offers concerts of various musical styles. The Montpellier Urban Trail brings together 2,000 runners starting from the town hall square, and is a good opportunity to exercise.
The best restaurants in Montpellier
Would you like to wake up your taste buds by tasting delicious local dishes for lunch or dinner? Then the gastronomic restaurant La Diligence, on Place Pétrarque, will meet your expectations.
In a 13th century listed building, you can enjoy your meal in a beautiful and refined setting, inside or in the patio in case of hot weather.
Chicken stuffed with shellfish, fish soup, octopus caught in the Mediterranean, white asparagus from Aigues-Mortes… So many dishes that make your mouth water and a cuisine that cannot be ignored when visiting Montpellier!
There are many other restaurants in the city serving regional cuisine, such as the Michelin-starred Réserve Rimbaud and Le Petit Jardin, which will whet your appetite and satisfy your taste buds. Those who prefer more eclectic cuisine can try the dishes at Dolce Italia or Bollywood Boulevard. You are sure to have an unforgettable time!
Bars and tea rooms in Montpellier
The city has many bars and tearooms where you can enjoy a snack, a meal or a drink in a friendly atmosphere to enjoy your holiday.
Stroll the streets of Montpellier and leave it to chance. Whether you’re a fan of tea rooms to enjoy a fruit juice or a hot chocolate or a wine bar, you’re bound to come across a welcoming bistro or pub.
Look for a terrace with a lively and friendly atmosphere where you can sit in the shade of a welcome parasol and drink a refreshing cocktail.
Take a break at the Maison des Chats, the bar A l’Origine, Café Joseph or Au Fut et à Mesure… The choice is almost unlimited!
In the evening on the Place de la Comédie, which is at the heart of Montpellier’s effervescence, many terraces remain open for visitors wishing to prolong their relaxation.
In the Antigone district you will find a multitude of bars, such as the Arlequin, Place de l’Europe. Beautifully illuminated at night, this esplanade is the ideal place to get some fresh air while sipping your favourite drink, facing the banks of the Lez.
Montpellier’s buzzing nightlife: the ideal place to have fun
In the evening, there’s nothing better than making the most of your holiday by going out. Montpellier can be visited during the day, but its rhythm is also frantic at night!
If you want to party after dark, you can’t miss the discos and clubs. Montpellier is full of nightclubs and bars for all tastes and styles.
Rock music fans will be happy at the Rockstore, rue de Verdun, with its resolutely rock atmosphere. The entrance to this music bar is decorated with the rear end of a Cadillac.
Latin music lovers can go to Nu-Bahia in the Beaux-Arts district, where you can enjoy the warmth and dynamism of Brazil while eating tapas.
The Jam concert hall, located on rue Ferdinand de Lesseps, is ideal for jazz lovers for a dive into the heart of the 1930s with live music.
Finally, those who need to dance until the early hours of the morning while listening to music will be won over by the wide variety of discotheques in Montpellier.
Would you like to visit Montpellier but are wondering where to find accommodation? Camping Paradis Le Cayola, less than an hour’s drive away, offers you a warm welcome.