Montpellier is the principal city of the Languedoc-Roussillon, Occitanie region. Located near the south coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, it is the third-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille and Nice. Montpellier is situated on hilly ground 10 km inland from the Mediterranean coast on the River Lez. The city is built on two hills, Montpellier and Montpelliéret.
Montpellier is one of the few large cities in France without any Roman heritage and also one of the few cities in southern France without a Greek foundation.
The University of Montpellier is one of the oldest in the world, founded in 1160. The Montpellier school of medicine owed its success to the ruling of the Guilhems, lords of the town, by which any licensed physician might lecture there.
- The main focus point of the city is the Place de la Comédie, with the Opera Comédie built in 1888.
- The Musée Fabre.
- The Rue du Bras de Fer – is very typical of the medieval Montpellier.
- The mikve, ritual Jewish bath, dates back to the 12th century and is one of very few in Europe.
- The Jardin des plantes de Montpellier—oldest botanical garden in France, founded in 1593
- The La Serre Amazonienne, a tropical rain forest greenhouse
- The 14th-century Saint Pierre Cathedral
- The Porte du Peyrou, a triumphal arch built at the end of the 17th century, and the Place Royal du Peyrou built in the 17th century, are the highest point of the Ecusson.
- The Tour des Pins, the only remaining of 25 towers of the city medieval walls, built around 1200.
- The Tour de la Babotte, a medieval tower which was modified in the 18th century to welcome an observatory.
- The Saint Clément Aqueduct, built in the 18th century.
- The Antigone District – designed by the architect Ricardo Bofill from Catalonia, Spain
- A number of châteaux, so-called follies, built by wealthy merchants surround the city
- Nearly 80 private mansions were built in the city from the 17th to 19th century, and some of their interior courtyards are open
THE CHÂTEAU AND AQUEDUCT OF CASTRIES
The château of Castries constitutes, with its French formal garden and its aqueduct, one of the most important monumental complexes of the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Even though the inside of the château is only open to guided visits, don’t miss its gardens and its remarkable aqueduct, the biggest private hydraulic infrastructure in France.
Opposite yet complementary to the historical heart of the city, the Antigone area has some greco-roman influences… Vast white stone buildings, cornices, statues, fountains all referring to ancient mythology… yet this part of the city only saw the day at the end of the 80s under the impulse of the Mayor at the time, Georges Frêche. Cross the many public squares (‘Nombre d’Or’ and ‘Millénaire’) stop at the olympic size pool and its glass building and the extremely unusual central public library Emile Zola… this area whose classical and resolutely monumental architecture creates a unique style which forever associates the name of Montpellier to that of the great Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill who designed it.
Latest large-scale project : Port Marianne (1992 till today). The concept of Port Marianne was to create five distinctly different areas but at the same time to be linked by some strong and coherent axis for a complete urban unity : les consuls de mer, Richter, Blaise Pascal, les Jardins de la Lironde and Jacques Cœur are connected by the tram lines, the river and the Jacques basin. These five new areas were designed by wellknown architects; It is the most modern area of Montpellier.
FROM ONE ‘PLACE’ TO ANOTHER
From the ‘Place de la Comédie’, the unmissable square in Montpellier to the ‘Place Royale du Peyrou’ that will captivate history and wide open space lovers through the Canourgue square and its wonderful view of the roof of Saint Peter’s church, Montpellier cultivates the enjoyment for those who love to stroll!
THE PLACE ROYALE DU PEYROU
Thanks to its location and the exceptional view that it offers, the Peyrou square is an emblematic place in Montpellier. In 1685, Louis the 14th chose Montpellier to receive a statue of him on a horse. Building a royal square was the supreme expression of monarchic glory and it meant creating a setting worthy of the King’s statue. The excavation and expansion works started in 1689. It was only 75 years later under the reign of Louis the 16th, in 1766, that the embellishment works were launched. Completed in 1775, the Royal Peyrou square was then considered one of the most beautiful squares of the kingdom due to its location and exceptional view. History continues…
Successively a Benedictine monastery, a Pope’s palace then a health school, the Faculty of medicine was established in 1220. It is the oldest school of medicine in the Western World still active.
A HEALTH LEGACY
Born in Kos, Hippocrates today is ‘montpelliérain’ Birth place of the teaching of medicine for the last eight centuries, Montpellier owes its reputation to its faculty, the oldest medicine school of the western world still operating today. It particularly attracted well known students such as François Rabelais, Nostradamus, and teachers such as Arnaud de Villeneuve or Gui de Chauliac, whose names were given to Montpellier hospitals. A historic legacy that the territory was able to use and nurture to become a reference in the field.
A SURPRISING EDICT
Montpellier had only existed for 2 years when, in 1180, its Lord, Guilhem VIII signed an incredible edict. It stipulated that anyone, whatever his origins or his religion, had the right to teach medicine in Montpellier. Thus was born the Faculty of medicine and with it, the destiny of the city…
A RICH AND VARIED MEDICAL LEGACY
THE FACULTY OF MEDICINE
Birth place of the teaching of medicine, Montpellier owes its reputation to its faculty, the oldest medicine school of the western world that has never ceased to operate. A historic richness such that the city intends to have it nominated as a UNESCO world heritage site.
THE ANATOMY CONSERVATORY
First intended for the teaching of Anatomy, the conservatory turned out to be an incredible educational tool for generations of students before the existence of current exploration techniques of the human body. The collection, proud of its nearly 5 600 real and wax anatomic pieces, was awarded Historical Monument status in 2004.
THE «JARDIN DES PLANTES» (BOTANIC GARDEN)
The royal garden of Montpellier was created in 1593 by edict. It is the oldest one of its kind in France. Since its opening to the public in 1841, it has never ceased to attract a great number of botanists, doctors, chemists and students as well as flora enthusiasts and tourists alike. The garden has benefited from successive improvements from the 16th century till today with, in particular, a lake (populated with frogs) and an English landscaped garden dating from the second empire.
THE PHARMACY AND CHAPEL OF THE ‘MISÉRICORDE’
The historic ensemble of the ‘Miséricorde’ concealed the last apothecary of Montpellier. Since the departure of the sisters of the Charity of Saint-Vincent de Paul in 2001, this remembrance place, classified Historical Monument, is managed by the city of Montpellier. The pharmacy, made up of two rooms (the 18th century and 19th century dispensaries) contains a very rare collection of ancient pots and jars, bearing witness to several centuries of Montpellier earthenware tradition.
The town of Juvignac, 10km North of Montpellier, is fed by 2 sources, including the well known Valadière source in a place called Fontcaude. This hot water source with beneficial properties was exploited by the Romans. In 1846, the agriculture and trade minister authorised the use of the Fontcaude source and Juvignac became a town known for its hot springs! A spa establishment was then built to welcome spa patients amongst whom was Prosper Mérimée. The operation of hot springs stopped only ten years later for financial reasons, before being revived in 2014 with the opening of a balneotherapy centre in the heart of 180 ha including an 18 hole golf course.
A little further …
Hot springs of Balaruc les Bains, with the medicalized spa treatments on one side and on the other, O’Balia, a unique location for pleasure and relaxation where thanks to the spa waters, everyone can unwind according to their needs and experience a unique moment of relaxation. A one-of-a-kind thermal spa in the Mediterranean.
Intense, Montpellier Mediterrranean increases the enjoyment! Here you move from the city charms to the seaside, from a walk in the surrounding ‘garrigue’ to a excursion to the top of the Pic Saint Loup.
From fresh art to fresh air just one step away! Discover the natural side of the territory!
Discover the territory of Montpellier from the top of the arc de triomphe. On one side, you will see the ‘rue Foch’, the towers and bells of St Pierre cathedral and the church of Sainte Anne, and on the other side, the Mediterranean sea to the South and the Pic Saint Loup and the green spaces to the North of Montpellier as well as the aqueduct of Saint Clément. A 360° immersion !
THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA AS PLAYGROUND
Sunday walk in winter along the 100km of fine sand of the Languedoc beaches, kite surf or stand-up-paddle session after a day of work, electro pop evening near the sea…
Montpellier is 11 km from the Mediterranean sea and the coastline is an integral part of daily life. Accessible by car, you can also use public transport or get there by bike along the cycle path that follows the river…
Montpellier Mediterranean, is also the charm of resorts such as the towns of Grau du Roi, Aigues Mortes near the little Camargue, or Sète, on the river Rhône canal… less than 30 minutes away from Montpellier centre.
The festive coastline, with private beaches also called ‘paillotes’ (straw huts) that open from April to September. Whether you stay for an aperitif or till the end of the night, the lounge bar DJ’s deliver a full bodied sound. Grilled seafood smells fill the air. Your evening on the beach has only started
WHAT IS IT ????
A private beach is above all a place for idleness and comfort, a venue to enjoy the beach and the sea . On site : deck chairs, cocktails, parasols, good meals … a special time to be amazed! From the Grande Motte to Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone through Carnon, more than 30 private beaches await you near Montpellier ! For a whole day, a breakfast, an aperitif or an evening, they are the ideal venues for your summer outings. Luxurious, glamorous, fashionable, authentic or casual beaches… you will inevitably spend a great time on the beach!
The unspoiled coastlines of Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone, the Aresquiers (Frontignan) or the Espiguette (Grau-duRoi), will draw nature lovers. Miles and miles of vast stretches of sand in view…
Coastline for families, in Carnon, Palavas-les-flots or the Grande Motte. Ice creams and castles, swimming and water activities ‘en famille’ without forgetting the emblematic pink flamingo!
VILLENEUVE LES MAGUELONE’S PENINSULA Follow the cycle paths along the Lez river from Montpellier to Palavas-les-Flots (8km), then continue until Villeneuve les Maguelone. Near sandy beaches, the Maguelone peninsula with its cathedral is a must see site. Romanesque style historic monument, the cathedral was the seat of the bishopric for one thousand years. It is in the middle of a green setting in a park surrounded by vineyards, the sea and sea water lakes. The estate of Maguelone is located in a preserved coastline zone with ornithological riches.
THE MÉJEAN NATURE RESERVE reed beds, salt marshes, sea water lake, afforestation, the Nature Reserve is perfect for enjoyable rides in a green and natural setting. Marked routes are recommended, entertainment for all ages is organized. Biker enthusiasts can also make the most to their discovery to the town of Lattes and to cycle along Port Ariane.
THE PATH ALONG THE AQUEDUCT OF CASTRIES To the North of Montpellier, by foot, on horse or on your bike, a ride along the aqueduct of Castries is a must! A journey through history and nature. Please note that there are plenty of marked routes for hiking and mountain biking in the ‘garrigue’ of Montpellier.
FOR LOVERS OF WIDE OPEN SPACES Less than 1 hour away from Montpellier, some ideal family walks around the Salagou lake, climbing the Pic Saint-Loup, canoeing in the Hérault gorges, and even skiing on Mont Aigoual in the Cévennes mountains (1 hour from Montpellier).
From Montpellier, go and discover generous and preserved nature
IN THE HEART OF A REGION WITH GREAT PLACES TO SEE Less that 2 hours away from Montpellier, no fewer than 6 places have been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. : The old City of Carcassonne, the Gard Bridge, the «Canal du Midi», the routes to Compostella, The fortresses of Vauban des Pyrénées, the «Causses et Cévennes»…
THE CHARM OF TRADITIONAL TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Montpellier Mediterranean Metropolis has villages as far as your eyes can see. Here ancient heritage happily mixes with the surrounding nature. Whilst strolling around, you will discover either an 11th century church, a castle from the 14th century that was occupied by the Order of the Knights Templar, a cistercian abbey… all in the heart of olive groves, vineyards and odorant scrubland countryside…
EXPERIENCE THE CAMARGUE
Montpellier Mediterranean includes numerous ‘mas’(farm houses) and ‘manades’ (bull ranches) scattered around the city centre. Open their doors and get familiar with the daily life of a ‘manadier’ (bull farmer). In the heart of Montpellier nature, discover ‘ferrade’ (bull branding), gardian games, attend a demonstration of cattle sorting..
A city break and a golf outing all in one ? In Montpellier, it is possible! Less than 15 mn away from Montpellier centre, two international golf courses offer the visitors the opportunity to play golf for a day or for longer with on-site accommodation.
GOLF OF MASSANE 15 mn from Montpellier in the town of Baillargues. Designed by the californian architecte, Ronald Fream, the Montpellier Massane golf course celebrated its 2O years in 2008. This 18-hole course, with its exceptional landscape and its high quality greens, offers each golfer constantly renewed enjoyment. In addition, a 9 hole compact golf course and the training centre compliment the offer to welcome players of all levels.
GOLF OF FONTCAUDE 10 mn from Montpellier in the town of Juvignac. Designed by the new-zealand architect Chris Pittman in 1991 on odorant dry land of 80 hectares, the international 18 hole course offers an interesting challenge for players of all levels. Its technical complexity makes it a tough course and its greens are well known for their quality and speed.
With 8 elite clubs which play in the highest national leagues and some international sporting events, Montpellier Mediterranean is indisputably a land of sports. Indeed, it was awarded the 2nd position of the most sporty cities of France by the daily sport newspaper ‘l’Equipe’ in 2015… but that’s not all!
Montpellier Mediterranean Metropolis shines thanks to its elite teams but that’s not all. It also hosts international sporting events on a regular basis which contribute considerably to its reputation.
The FISE, International Festival of Extreme Sports is perhaps the biggest. In 2016, the attendance records were broken. 595.000 spectators came and enjoyed this entirely free event that gathers enthusiasts and professionals of extreme water sports, BMX, mountain bikes, scooters, and skateboards on the Lez river banks in the heart of Montpellier.
In terms of tennis, each year the Open South of France brings together nearly 40.000 supporters of the small yellow ball in the Arena venue, where the best national and international players challenge each other.
Thanks to the quality of its equipment, Montpellier Mediterranean Metropolis hosts major sporting competitions each year: Eurobasket in 2015, European karate championships and the Tour de France in 2016, handball world championship in 2017…
Young, dynamic and decisively precursor in many areas, Montpellier took a bet on extreme sports from a very early stage, symbol of a new generation of athletes, and increasingly popular amongst the general public; 2017 will see the FISE 21st edition, one of the greatest sporting events in Europe. This emblematic Montpellier event has inspired many of the young generations encouraging them to participate thus creating a real extreme sport spirit in Montpellier.
Another must see event that will keep the thrill seekers in suspense is the FESTIKITE festival- International Kitesurf Fair. In Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone, in the centre of Montpellier Metropolis, kitesurf and kitefoil champions and enthusiasts challenge each other in front of a 3.000 m2 village dedicated to extreme water sports. Amongst them, many local talents such as Sebastien Garat, several times France and World champion and Charlotte Consorti, world speed leader for years
SAFETY Entirely pedestrian, Montpellier town centre offers real peace of mind for families. A real plus for children who sometimes forget to hold your hand…
GREEN SPACES AND PLAY AREAS EVERYWHERE IN THE CITY Between two cultural visits, children will appreciate stretching their legs in one of the many city parks and playground areas specially designed for their needs.
FUN TRANSPORT With colourful trams, a little touristic train that meanders through the historical centre, open top mini-bus to see the city differently, taxibikes for tired little legs or public bike-sharing stations, moving around Montpellier with a family couldn’t be easier!
SELF-SERVICE CHILDREN’S BIKES AND BABY SEAT RENTAL TaM (Montpellier Tram Association) provides equipment specifically adapted for children from 8 years of age, bicycle trailers and bikes for adults equipped with baby seats. The best way to discover the city in complete safety along the cycle paths which take you to the sea among other destinations.
FUN WITH THE FAMILY The archeological Lattara museum to discover ancient traditions, guided tours for children in the Fabre fine art museum, as well as in the city with the Tourist Office guides, theatre for children etc… there is something for everyone.
Spoiling the kids or controlling the budget? We have decided to let you do both.
In Montpellier, we bend over backwards to turn your family stay into an unforgettable experience for the young and the young at heart. … and it can all start with a free guided tour by the city of Montpellier Tourist Office for all under 18s accompanied by their parents…
AQUARIUM MARE NOSTRUM Tram Line 1- Stop at ‘Place de France’ – www.aquariummarenostrum.fr Mare Nostrum is the 1st touristic site in the Hérault region and the most visited paying site in Languedoc-Roussillon. Constantly enriched with new animations, it offers more than two and a half hours of visit and wonders for big and small. More than 400 species, 30.000 marine animals, a 1.8 million litre giant pool without forgetting all the cultural and educational activities such as the penguins training ! A must see experience for the whole family !
SO MUCH MORE THAN AN URBAN DESTINATION ! Holidays with the family in Montpellier also include the treetop adventure park and the maze in Villeneuve lès Maguelone, the Méjean Nature Reserve in Lattes, to discover the local fauna and flora, educational mini-farms for children, outings to ‘manades’ (bull farms) to meet young bulls, the Haribo Sweet museum, the dinosaur park in Mèze and so many other moments to share!
FREE ZOO The Lunaret zoological park Lions, giraffes, zebras, brown bears, birds of a thousand and one colours, fun monkeys, they are all there! Free access to everyone, Montpellier’s zoo also offers the visitors some picnic tables and areas dedicated to photo souvenirs, as well as a vast playing area for children of all ages. To complete the visit, the zoo has an amazonian greenhouse (Admission charge.)
THE SEASIDE ONBOARD THE LITTLE TOURIST TRAIN Children LOVE it! Every summer, The beach of Villeneuve lès Maguelone, 10km from Montpellier, proposes families to reach the seaside onboard the little tourist train. At the bottom of the car park, it awaits children and parents to reach the sandy dunes and the pleasure of the seaside. Children get impatient « There it is! I can see it!! » ; Smiles appear: the holiday can start… Note that the little train is free.
ODYSSEUM, THE LEISURE ZONE FOR THE YOUNG AND THE YOUNG AT HEART Tram Line 1 – Stop at ‘Place de France ‘and ‘Odysseum’– www.centre-commercial-odysseum.com This unique leisure concept will delight the whole family. 100 branded shops, themed restaurants, leisure activities such as the Mare Nostrum aquarium, the Vegapolis ice ring, the Galilée Planetarium, the indoor climbing wall, etc..
Languedoc wines, Grés of Montpellier, wine estates, wine tasting training, wine bars, cellar master, excursions in the vineyards, local produce… Montpellier Mediterranean is also to discover with your taste buds!
The Languedoc is the birthplace of wine making in France. 25 centuries of existence thanks to the Greeks who came from Phocaea and introduced vine and olive cultivation. They got it right. Rapidly, these two types of farming found a land of predilection. And even though Montpellier didn’t exist 2500 years ago, fossilized grapes have been found in Lattes. The planting of vineyards in the heart of our metropolis was well underway then!
AND TODAY ?
Heir of all this know-how, Montpellier continues to weave some unique bonds with the wine-making of tomorrow – the city houses one of the five greatest schools of french agronomy (ENSA), a research centre (Agropolis) dedicated to agronomy without forgetting the window of Languedoc ‘appelations’ at the Mas of Saporta and the vineyards that make our Metropolis proud.
A STORY SET IN STONE
It’s in its heritage that Montpellier shows its credentials when it comes to wine making. Here a bas-relief at the top of a beautiful façade, there the bust of a famous person, a little further streets with meaningful names:
The Planchon public park, opposite the Saint Roch train station ; passers by often don’t know but the bust that overseas the entrance to the park is the illustrious botanist Planchon, the providential scientist of Montpellier who, with his team, managed to rescue the French vineyards during the phylloxera disaster;
Further along on the Place de la Comédie, stop at the feet of the Haussmanian building nicknamed the ‘Scaphandrier’ (diver). By observing closely the elegant façades dating from the end of the 19th century, one can discover two bas-reliefs located on each side of a stone balcony, one depicturing a wine press and the other a fireplace representing a locomotive that illustrates the mid-19th century railway track that lead to Sète, a major wine tanker port of the time. A rich past set in stone for this wine activity that would have made the city wealthy during the last centuries. Another emblematic venue is the faculty of medicine where you will discover the portrait of a well known chemist Jean Antoine Chaptal, this graduate from Montpellier gave his name to the ‘chaptalisation’, a process that enables to raise the alcool content by adding sugar
VINOFOLIA, « OUTSTANDING VINEYARD IN THE HEART OF THE CITY »
Located in the center of Montpellier, don’t miss the 25 hectares of the château de Flau-gergues vineyards. Take a tour of the modern and sustainable wine cellar in the heart of the vineyards! Tasting workshops available, VIP day with the wine maker pre-booking required…Without forgetting the unmissable visit of the château, an 18th century folly, property of the count and countess Henri de COLBERT. The tour comprises the interior of the Chateau and the French and English designed gardens. www.flaugergues.com
WALK THROUGH THE VINEYARDS… AND MEET PASSIONATE PRODUCERS!
Do not miss out on this wine tradition, follow the ‘vineyard route’ of Montpellier Mediterranean Metropolis. It will lead you to the discovery of many cellars and follies (the equivalent of private mansions but in the heart of Montpellier countryside scattered at the four corners of the territory. If the vineyard is an inclusive part of the territory, it is first and foremost a story of passion. Don’t hesitate to go and meet these men and women who are behind these appellations…
MONTPELLIER IN A BOTTLE
The Grès of Montpellier have their own ‘appellation’ and bottle. Red wine connoisseurs will appreciate its deep ruby colour, its red fruit aromas as well as its taste that is powerful and subtle at the same time that lasts in the mouth.
FRAGRANT MARKETS IN THE CITY CENTRE
4 covered markets, daily markets and a must-see market, to taste all the local produce: the Arceaux market : located underneath the Aqueduct below the royal square of the Peyrou. Every Tuesday and Saturday mornings, regulars meet there around the local produce stalls. Olives, asparagus, apricots from the Roussillon, strawberries from Mauguio, ‘pélardons’ (local goat’s cheese) … all the gourmets meet here!
FROM PRODUCER TO CONSUMER
Montpellier Mediterranean is full of good spots to fill your shopping basket with fresh local produce in season. Producers’ shops, farmer’s market, organic producers market, endless possibilities in an area that puts agro-ecology and nutrition as a priority for the challenges of tomorrow!
Reknowned chef, Charles Fontès, of the Réserve Rimbaud, obtained his first star in the Michelin guide in 2010. A green setting opposite the Lez, the river crossing the city. New address, the RBC Kitchen, nestled on the first floor of the RBC, temple of design by Jean Nouvel and located in the heart of the new Port Marianne new district, cantine chic that offers a cuisine using mainly organic seasonal produce. For those nostalgic of the ‘Jardin des Sens’(1 star in the Michelin guide), the Chefs, Jacques and Laurent Pourcel have opened a pop up restaurant called Terminal #1, on the banks of the river Lez …
Think about it !
Sweet treats to bring back from a trip to Montpellier : les Grisettes of Montpellier, small round sweets made of honey and licorice, the Saint Roch ‘pavés’, delicious chocolate with spices or the ‘Ecusson’ of Montpellier.
TRADITIONS ROOTED IN THE SOUL OF THE TERRITORY
Here, in the margin of the displayed modernity of the Languedoc capital, traditions and customs of yesteryear survive and live on. The territory of Montpellier is also the ‘courses camarguaises’ (bull games) and the Spring/Autumn ferias in the surrounding villages, the tradition of the tambourin game, the celebration of the stone in Beaulieu, the ‘Pailhasses’ in Cournonterral etc… Events to experience and rediscover the typical atmosphere of our traditional villages.
At the entrance of the ‘petite Camargue’, Montpellier Mediterranean nurtures a passion for bull games. But here, no death penalty for the bull but a balanced alchemy between man and bull. Whether in the arenas or in the streets during village fairs or in bull farms (manades) it is possible to experience these bullfighting traditions all year long and to meet these passionate people !!
Historically, Montpellier has always been a land of tolerance and of intermixing of populations. This history started in the 14th century, when Urban V signed an incredible edict allowing everyone, whatever his origins and religion, to study medicine in Montpellier.
Thus the medical teaching and expertise of the territory started to develop and also the tradition of open mindedness that Montpellier Mediterranean endorsed completely…
500 YEARS OF THE REFORM
The stones of Montpellier talk about reform! Discover the history of protestantism and its incredible influence on Montpellier life. Amongst the essential locations, the Citadelle, that materializes the Royal power against the Protestants, the Esplanade where numerous pastors were executed, the temple of the reformed church, or the Rockstore…
A NEW LIFE FOR MONTPELLIER PLACES OF WORSHIP
In Montpellier, nothing is impossible, nothing! In the same way as some heritage sites, some places of worship have been desacralized and transformed into social meeting places.
THE ROCKSTORE the former protestant temple transformed into… the temple of Rock ! Located in the city centre, this venue has welcomed the greatest French and international rock bands for years! A real institution !
THE CARRÉ SAINTE-ANNE A church transformed into a contemporary art exhibition centre.
THE MAISON DES CHŒURS former chapel Saint Charles, has become a concert venue dedicated to choirs.
MIKVAH, JEWISH RITUAL BATH The Mikvé, medieval Jewish ritual bath dating from the 12th century, is one of the oldest in Europe. It reflects the importance of the Jewish community in Montpellier. Cleverly hidden by heavy doors, one can only access it after taking stone stairs that go down into a little pool into which water comes from under the ground.
Our tip : Can only be visited with a guided tour from the Tourist Office. www.montpellier-france.com
SAINT PIERRE CATHEDRAL OF VILLENEUVE-LÈS-MAGUELONE Near sandy beaches, the Maguelone peninsula and its cathedral is a must see site. Romanesque style historic monument, the cathedral was the seat of the bishopric for one thousand years. It is in the middle of a green setting in a park surrounded by vineyards, sea and sea water lakes.
CATHEDRAL SAINT PIERRE OF MONTPELLIER The Pope Urban V, former student of Montpellier, had a monastery and its church built in 1364. The church was then transformed into the cathedral Saint-Pierre in 1536. Its Mediterranean Gothic style, massive and imposing shape with its front porch supported by two circular pillars give the feeling of a medieval fortress. Do not miss the breathtaking view of the territory from the top of the Urban V tower.
SAINT ROCH CHURCH IN MONTPELLIER Saint Roch is the patron saint of Montpellier, his birthplace. Pilgrims who travel on the way to Saint James of Compostela are welcome there.The church built in the 19th century houses his relics
VIGNOGOUL ABBEY IN PIGNAN Cistercian abbey classified as a historical monument since 1862. The abbey church is the only remains of a monastery of Benedictine then Cistercian nuns for the first half of the 12th century. Redesigned from the 13th century till the 15th century, the building shows Gothic characteristics filled with romanesque nostalgia and annonces the beginning of Gothic art in Languedoc. Today, it houses many musical events: choirs, Gregorian chants, church music, chamber music…
GELLONE ABBEY IN ST GUILHEM LE DÉSERT Classified as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO, the Gellone abbey is described as a « Jewel of Languedoc first romanesque art’. The abbey is an essential spiritual landmark on the Saint James of Compostela way. 45mn from Montpellier Mediterranean, a must-see!
LO CAMIN ROUMIEU FOOTSTEPS ALONG THE SAINT JAMES OF COMPOSTELA WAY
Montpellier has been a stopover city on the way to Saint James of Compostela for more than nine centuries. The first written records mentioning Montpellier date back as early as the 12th century. The pilgrims could rest in its hostels, its hospices and consult scholars and doctors.They also stopped in Montpellier to worship the Black Virgin in the Notre-Dame-des-Tables church.
At that time, most of the ‘romieux’ entered the city by the Pila-Saint-Gély door then walked along the rue de la Vieille Aiguillerie, the rue du Collège, rue Jacques Coeur then the Grande Rue. This itinerary was the most used because it was the most accessible. However, each pilgrim would determine his/her route according to their level of tiredness, religious fervor, and their next stopover. Thus, those who were leaving to worship the relics of saint Guilhem left Montpellier by the faubourg Saint-Guilhem, those who were leaving directly for Toulouse left the city by the faubourg de la Saunerie. The way to Saint-James has contributed significantly to the economical development of Montpellier. The money-changers of the Notre-Dame-des-Tables square, the innkeepers of the area as well as the merchants and traders of the Middle Ages all became rich due to the pilgrim passage and the cultural intermixing that it generated.
Like other large cities in Spain, bronze studs, set every 5 to 6 meters, mark on the ground this itinerary from the Pila-Saint-Gély door to the faubourg du Courreau.
A TRAM NAMED DESIGN With 4 tram lines, 84 stops and 56 km of rails, the tram serves 7 towns of the Metropolis. It is the ideal way to move from site to site and to discover the area. In addition, you will be travelling in style as each tram is also a moving work of art, designed by Garouste and Bonetti for lines 1 and 2, and Christian Lacroix for lines 3 and 4 !
ART IS EVERYWHERE Works of Art along the tram lines, ephemeral art, frescoes and trompel’oeil. Throughout its territory Montpellier Mediterranean takes you from the unusual to the even more original. Learn to look at the territory in a different way …
INTENSIVE CULTURE – STREET ART Vast murals, bikes that seem to fly, tiny mosaics on street corners, dancing beings without faces, collages in Montpellier streets, columns set near the arena in Baillargues ornate with bulls and ‘raseteurs’ (participants in the local bloodless bull games), ephemeral works along the tram lines in Pérols… here, street art is king!
Must see !
«Festival des Architectures vives» Festival of living architecture An original itinerary of architectural discovery in the heart of the historical centre of Montpellier. Exceptional sites – private mansion courtyards – reinterpreted through the ephemeral work of a young generation of architects, landscape architects and scenographers…
«Cœur de ville en lumières» The heart of the city lit up A dreamlike journey, a sound-and-light experience, on the facades of some of the most beautiful monuments of the city centre. Three days of performances, soundand-light shows, another way to discover Montpellier’s heritage. A free celebration open to all.
PRIVATE MANSION COURTYARDS… IN THE CITY ! Massive doorways, vast lit up courtyards, staircases with wrought iron balustrades, Montpellier has nearly 80 private mansions on its territory, built in classical times. True hidden jewels, these private townhouses can only be visited today with the Tourist Office guided tour…however, keep your eyes open! It is not unusual on the corner of a street to see some of these doors opening for a few precious moments. The city stroll then takes an unexpected turn…
THE FOLLIES… AMONGST THE LEAVES! These «houses amongst the leaves » emerged on the outskirts of Montpellier in the 18th century becoming for the dignitaries of the time the equivalent of private townhouses in the countryside. Even if all these follies shelter magnificent gardens, it is nevertheless important to distinguish between the ‘country follies’ such as the châteaux de Flaugergues and of the Mogère or the Engarran and the «’city follies’ such as the ‘Hôtel Haguenot’, built on the buttress of the Peyrou.
The Henri Prades museum – Archeological site of Lattara Built near a lagoon on the river Lez delta, the antique port of Lattara, was occupied from the 6th century BC till the 3rd century AD and was a prominent place for trade and cultural exchanges for all the western mediterranean populations. Here, Etruscans, Greeks, Iberians, Romans, interacted with the local Gaullic communities. After a parenthesis that lasted several centuries until the Middle Ages, Lattes became the port of Montpellier. Overlooking the archeological site and set in an exceptional natural environment, the Henri Prades museum invites visitors to discover the remains of the ancient city that came to light after numerous excavation campaigns that took place from 1963 till the present day. More than 1500 objets are to discover during a chronological and thematically archeological visit.
The Castellas Oppidum and the Paul Soyris museum – On the actual site where the excavations of the Castellas Oppidum took place in Murviel-lès-Montpellier, discover the ancient forum, with the remains of a supposed temple, portique and mosaics … The archeological discovery ends in the archeological museum where all the objects found on the site are exhibited. Our recommendation: discover the antique city with an accredited Tourist Office guide
What makes Montpellier Mediterranean so unique? What to do in 1 or 2 days without missing out on the must-sees of this destination? 10 suggestions to make the best of what Montpellier has to offer…
- Have a drink on the must see ‘Place de la Comédie’
Beating heart of Montpellier, the ‘Place de la Comédie’ is THE unmissable place of Montpellier. Formely known as ‘place de l’œuf’ because of its egg-shaped design, it constitutes one of the most extensive pedestrian zones of Europe, dominated by the Comédie opera house. In its centre proudly stands the ‘3 Grâces’ fountain-statue created in 1773. Montpellier’s unmissable square to feel the pulse of the city.
2. A breath of fresh Art
If you hesitate between Fine Art and Contemporary Art, you must visit these two locations: The Fabre museum, considered as one of the most beautiful Fine Art museums in Europe, housing European pieces of art from the Renaissance period till today. It also has a wing completely dedicated to the contemporary artist Pierre Soulages. And also the Panacée, the contemporary cultural centre, a versatile and constantly changing space displaying several contemporary art exhibitions simultaneously.
3. Meander in the medieval lanes
Montpellier possesses numerous medieval lanes which are a symbol of its proud past.The ‘rue de la Valfère, rue du bras de fer, rue de l’argenterie’ take you on a journey to the past, for a total change of scenery…How to best discover them? Forget the map and get lost in the narrow lanes. You can shop in the beautiful arched ceiling boutiques where fashion designers, antique dealers, tea shops have nestled. You can also visit the cultural Carré Ste Anne, the St Ravy Art galery etc… a journey through time!
4. The car free experience
Pedestrian destination, Montpellier is to discover by foot, by bike or with the tram. No more stress, no more noise. Cars are forbidden here in the heart of the city. From the moment you arrive in Montpellier St Roch train station, you find yourself in a vast pedestrian zone. The discovery is more intense this way, between street artists and café terraces from which one can see the colours of the four tram lines that serve the city.
5. Head towards the sea by bike all year long and to the private beaches in summertime
With the Mediterranean sea a mere 11 km away, the seaside is an integral part of the Montpellier area. To recharge one’s batteries, an excursion to Villeneuve les Maguelone is a must. You will discover the cathedrale of Maguelone, a romanesque jewel in a beautiful environment, nestled between the vineyards and the sea. From April to September, the private beach areas open their doors. These restaurants, party and temporary concert places are well sought after by Montpellierains and tourists alike. The best way to get there? By bike…for a complete feeling of freedom!
6. Enjoy the surrounding nature
Montpellier Mediterranean offers a blend of colours and atmospheres. All around Montpellier, the city in its epicentre, a genuine ode to nature exists: vineyards, hiking paths, seaside, ‘Pic Saint Loup’ mount to climb less than an hour away, Languedoc villages … The best point of view to discover this variety of countrysides within Montpellier? From the top of the ‘Arc de Triomphe’ or from the château d’eau.
7. Get away during an architectural journey
What immediately strikes the visitor in Montpellier is the diversity of places. Here each neighbourhood is different from the next like an illustration of the one thousand year existence of the city. A perfect blend of historical and contemporary architecture which takes you from medieval lanes to the architectural prowess of the greatest international architects such as Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Massimiliano Fuksas and so many others!
8. Pulsate All year long, everywhere, all the time !
Vibrant and bustling, Montpellier Mediterranean vibrates to the beat of its top events: Montpellier International Danse Festival, France Radio Festival, International Extreme Sport Festival, national and international sporting competitions, but also traditional bullfighting trophies, Festival of the Sea and so many others..; Combine your stay with one of these events, the best way to enjoy and share Montpellier Mediterranean !
9. Discover the ‘terroir’ with your taste buds
The discovery of Montpellier Mediterranean would be incomplete without a gastronomic experience ! A must ? Combine tasting and encounter with the passionate local producers: wine tasting in the surrounding vineyards, oyster and mussel tasting from the Thau sea water lake 20 mn drive from Montpellier, olives and oils directly tasted at the producers mill… without forgetting the ‘estivales’ every Friday evening in July and August where this time, the producers gather in the centre of Montpellier on the Esplanade to meet the public for some festive and savoury evenings!
10. Meander day and night
Get on the tram line 4 and travel around the city centre to discover the most beautiful gems of Montpellier historical heritage: Place royale du Peyrou, the Faculty of medicine, the Pins and Babote Towers…. Our recommendation? Visit the city in the evening and discover these treasures illuminated!
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