Perhaps one of the lesser known southern cities of France, Montpellier is a relaxed and beautiful city with plenty on offer to suit all interests. A third of the population of the city is made up of students, resulting in a vibrant night life as well as many bars and cafés that cater to younger crowds.
Style oozes from the streets as the grand buildings are complimented with a cosmopolitan vibe and framed by fantastic leafy plant life. It is a quintessential French city, the likes of which is often depicted in films and a great location for anyone looking for a big city without the massive population.
In most places in France, a hatchback is the ideal choice for getting in and around the city as well as fitting into often tight parking spaces.
With a recent renovation thanks to an investment of €61 million, the Musee Fabre is France’s leading collection of European art. The gallery is split into three sections; Old Masters, Modern Movements and Decorative Arts, meaning there’s something for every art enthusiast.
For those interested in religious architecture and history, Cathedrale St-Pierre is one of the most significant buildings in the city especially since it was raised to cathedral status in 1536. Despite heavy rebuilding after the Wars of Religion, it is still a genuinely impressive and awe inspiring building.
Those interested in modern culture and music should frequent the Rockstore, one of the leading venues in the region for indie music. With Cadillac’s used as outdoor decoration on the entrance, it’s a sight to behold and you’re sure to catch an up-and-coming music act before they make it big.
There are almost limitless possibilities for dining out, most of which are sure to tantalise and delight everyone’s taste buds. Jardin des Sens is one of the best restaurants in town with two Michelin stars while Tamarillos is a creative and innovative experience which really comes into its own for dessert.
The roads can be badly signposted and if you do not have a strong understanding of the language then navigating can be confusing. Investing in a map or GPS system is very highly advised.
There are multiple parking options within the city, though those furthest away from the centre are cheaper and often much less busy.
The city centre itself is traffic free and the roads surrounding the area can become very congested. It is advised to avoid driving during rush hour traffic in the morning and late afternoon.
Montpellier Mediterranee Airport is based on the outskirts of the city and is easily accessed from the city centre. Many flights connect to the airport from Paris with a few connecting flights to major airports in England.