Montpellier travel guide

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Visit Montpellier (Occitanie, France)

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The town of Montpellier is in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, 10 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean and quite a sizable town, with more than 250,000 inhabitants - it is said to be the fasting growing city in France. Montpellier also has a reputable university, which has played a large part in the town itself, keeping it young and vibrant.

Explore Montpellier

France This Way review: a nice, clean, attractive city, there are several interesting tourist attractions to visit in Montpellier as well as numerous fountains, gardens, buildings and monuments to discover as you explore - many of them not in themselves especially important, but each contributing to the appeal of the city as a whole.

Opera house in Montpellier, France

The focus of the city is around the beautiful Place de la Comedie and the adjoining large open, tree-lined areas of the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle, and in the narrow streets of the old town to the north and west of these boulevards. A large part of the city centre is pedestrianised, so try and park slightly outside and walk in.

A visit will usually start from Place de la Comédie, the so-called “egg” and the main square in Montpellier – it is ovoid in shape because it was built along the perimeter of the ancient city ramparts. In the centre of the Place stands the ‘Fountain of Graces’.

The square is dominated by the facade of the Theatre (late nineteenth century), artistically interesting and very spacious inside with a bell shape and a series of galleries with wide corridors. The theatre, which was inspired by the Paris Opera, is by Cassien Bernard (1848-1926).

Continuing towards the Esplanade you will find a beautiful street full of shady plane trees. To the west of the old city is the Promenade du Peyrou, where you can admire a triumphal arch, which in reality is not of Roman origin (Montpellier was not born until the early Middle Ages) but was was built by Louis XIV to exalt his kingdom.


Just down the street there is the Corum (1988), in concrete and red granite - a modern project by architect Claude Vasconi. Another building that stands out here is the Opera Berlioz, which can accommodate thousands of spectators.

Going along the Rue de la Loge and Rue J. Coeur, there are magnificent townhouses known as ‘Hotels’. Many deserve a mention but see in particular the Hotel de la Trésorerie, the origins of which date back to the fifteenth century; and which became the seat of the Treasurers of France in the eighteenth century.

The classical architecture combines successfully with the modern in Montpellier - for the best example move east from the Place de la Comedie to the district called Antigone – an impressive modern work by Ricardo Bofill that unites modern materials (eg pressurised concrete) with the neoclassical style, giving the neighbourhood a truly monumental feel.

Arc de Triomphe, Montpellier, Languedoc

Other places to visit around Montpellier

The most important religious monument in Montpellier is the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre, an imposing church dating in part from the 14th century and in the gothic style. The most striking aspet of the cathedral is the entrance, between two stone towers. Inside, the rose windows and the stained glass windows around the apse are the highlight.

The basilica Notre-Dame des Tables in the town centre was built in the 18th century. It is in the baroque style and has quite a plain facade, but the baroque interior of the basilica is interesting with its statues and paintings.

You can’t leave Montpellier without visiting the University district, with the Church of Saint Pierre (of Romanic-Gothic style) and the Museums of the Faculty of Medicine of which Montpellier is justly proud. Next door is the curious ‘International Academy of Music’, which celebrates some instrument makers from 18th century Montpellier.

Other places to visit in Montpellier include the Park Zoo and Amazon Greenhouse. These are found to the north of Montpellier and are open every day except Mondays. The botanical gardens are France's oldest botanical garden, dating from the 16th century, and are now a classified historic monument and very pleasant to visit. The gardens are open in the afternoons.

Garden enthusiasts will be pleased to find several other interesting gardens around Montpellier, including the Jardin de Poitiers - a recreated medieval garden around the ruins of an old church.

Montpellier's new Odysseum district is a vibrant mix of shopping centre and leisure activities with great shops, a planetarium, aquarium, ice-rink, bowling alley and lots more and all in a somewhat Florida style with palm trees and lots of bright colours.


Montpellier Museums and Art

For art lovers, Montpellier also has some treasures, for example, the Museum of Languedoc has a wide range of artefacts: Romanesque, Gothic, Flemish tapestries, paintings and furnishings typical of the Languedoc, porcelains...

The artistic heart of the city is the Museum Fabre, which contains a remarkable number of paintings from the most varied artistic trends in Europe. These include (among many others) ‘Women of Algiers’ by Delacroix; ‘The meeting’ and ‘The Bathers’ by Gustave Courbet; a ‘View of the Country’ by Jean Frederic Bazille – also works by Paul Rubens, Edgar Degas Nicolas Poussin, and some important Italian painters (Paolo Caliari, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, Alessandro Allori).

To learn more of the local traditions of Montpellier, we suggest visiting the magnificent ‘Palace of Varennes’, the ‘Musée des Vieux’ and the ‘Musée Fougou’, which contains folklore material of the nineteenth century and various objects of daily use.

See also the so-called Agropolis Museum (in the Agropolis Avenue), which is a veritable museum of nutrition, dedicated to international cuisine of which a very wide variety is presented.

Montpellier cathedral

Montpellier cuisine, food and wine

It is perhaps inevitable that a city like Montpellier, traditionally a regional wine capital, has a particular focus on cuisine and local produce. Each morning the visitor can find various markets in the city – try the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle in the Antigone district with its farmers market for a good selection.

In Montpellier and region you can enjoy local fish dishes such as the ‘Rouget’ or the ‘Dorade à la Provençale’, coquillages (shellfish), bouillabaisse (fish soup, a tasty traditional recipe), or the Seiches à l'Armoricaine’.

Note: every two years Montpellier holds a Fair called ‘Aux Origines du Goût’ (The Origins of Taste) to celebrate the typical products of exceptionally fertile land of the region.

Of course your food should be accompanied by one of the wines of Montpellier, either the white (Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Viognier and Colombari) or red (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon), or perhaps other wines from the Herault (the region around Montpellier, and very productive and suitable for the cultivation of vines because of its volcanic soil).

Attractions near Montpellier

There are a few places in Montpellier where you can see a mountain in the distance to the north of the city. This is called the Pic du Loup and is visible from much of the Herault department.

You can find more travel ideas in the Herault guide and the Languedoc-Roussillon guide.

See also: 

Photos of Montpellier

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Map of Montpellier and places nearby


Visit near Montpellier with France This Way reviews

Montpellier-Antigone District

Montpellier-Antigone District

In the Antigone district of Montpellier you can see several exeptional examples of neo-classical architecture

Montpellier-Antigone District guide
Montpellier-Odysseum District

Montpellier-Odysseum District

The Odysseum district of Montpellier is the vibrant modern new centre in the town, with the aquarium and the planetarium

Montpellier-Odysseum District guide


At Palavas-les-Flots you will find a long beach and a resort that is popular in summer

Palavas-les-Flots guide


The Cathedral at Maguelone stands on a small volcanic island on the southern edge of the Etang de Thau

Maguelone guide
Les Matelles

Les Matelles

The small medieval village of Les Matelles makes a pleasant break from the coast when you are staying near Montpellier

Les Matelles guide
La Grande-Motte

La Grande-Motte

The 1960's architecture gives La Grande-Motte its unique character, and the long beach attracts the crowds!

La Grande-Motte guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Herault

Tourist classifications for Montpellier

Montpellier has received the following tourist classifications: historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé);

Address: Montpellier, Languedoc-Roussillon, 34000, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 43.611944, longitude 3.877222

Plan your visit to Montpellier, Herault

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

The French version of this page is at Montpellier (Francais)