Montpellier travel guide




Montpellier

   Montpellier is a very charming little city of south of France. Its location makes it a crossroad between Spain and Italy and with its 250 000 inhabitants it's the 8th largest city in France. Known for being the favorite city of French people (by a recent poll) and a famous student town, Montpellier has grown in an exponential way those past decade, under the influence of George Freche (former mayor and president of the region) and become a centerpiece in south of Europe. The capital city of Languedoc Roussillon has everything you can dream of: sun all year long, the beach at 20 min, an old medieval midtown and cafe with terrace everywhere where young and elderly enjoy rose wine all year long. The mix between the old city center and the new expansion of the agglomeration makes it quite interesting in an architectural point of view with the place de la comedie, the old st Anne church, St pierre cathedral connected to the oldest medicine school in the world on one side, and the very new city hall, the neighborhood of Antigone and port Marianne on the other side. The importance of the universities make the city a real paradise for young people, where something is always happening: sports, club, pubs, and culture are often celebrated.

I grew up in Montpellier and spent pretty much all of my studies there. I, thus, know the city pretty well and I think that this travel guide is a good way to enjoy the most of the Languedoc capital sight if you have half a day ahead of you, or more for those who walk very slowly.

Of course, there are a lot of other things to see in the city, so do not hesitate to explore if you feel so and go beyond the city tour that I propose to you...

Let's take a tour

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estimate time: 4 hours

estimate budget: 0 €


1 - Place de l'Europe


This travel guide of Montpellier start on "place de l' europe". To do so, you can take the blue Tramway to the stop "Place de l'europe".

This big square is one of the few green areas of Montpellier. You will, so, see a lot of people procrastinating here on sunny days. The big rectangular building that you see is the Languedoc-Roussillon regional hall. It was built in 1988 by Ricardo Bofill and was the ending piece of the all Antigone neighborhood.
montpellier regional hall


2 - Antigone


montpellier Antigone
This all area is one of the many heritages left to the city by the former mayor Georges Freche. This neighborhood started to be built in 1977 as an echo of the "old city" to which it links, all the way from the Polygone shopping mall to the Lez river and the Regional hall. The district was built in an ancient Greece fashion style and is full of restaurants and café.

Many fountains and statues can be seen if you take a walk along the Antigone area. Those sculptures are perfect copies of very famous one that can mainly be found at the Louvre museum. Many interesting buildings can be found there such as the Olympic swimming pool or the city library.
montpellier antigone zeus statue


3 - Allée Charles de Gaulle


montpellier allee charles de gaulle
This "path" links the famous "place de la Comedie" to the Corum. It is one of the most popular walking areas of the Montpellier inhabitant. The place used to be a military field but was sold by the army to the city in 1900 that made it a public space. It host a lot a lot of events through the year

Many interesting sight can be seen, such as the garden of champ de Mars with is little pond or the children amusement park built in 2008 around the topic of music. Some important building can also be found long the "esplanade" such as the Fabre museum, the most important of the city and the region Languedoc or the Corum.
montpellier allee park


4 - Corum


montpellier view from corum
The Corum of Montpellier is a particular building that hosts a conference center and an Opera. Also a legacy of former mayor Georges Freche, it was ended in 1988 and was subject to many criticisms about his look (made of pink marble) and the high cost of the building. It's possible during day time to climb on the top of the building where you can have a nice view of the city.


5 - Place de la Comedie


The place de la Comedie is certainly the most central and busy point of Montpellier. The square takes his name from the city theatre which is used as the historic opera of the city. The square was created in 1755, while the fountain of the "three graces" was placed there in 1790. The one on the square, though, is a reproduction but the real sculpture lies in the hallway of the Comedie opera
montpellier place de la comedie

montpellier comedie by night
The opera of the comedie is the main building of the square and one of the most beautiful of Montpellier. It was built in 1755 at the same time of the square but face two major fire in 1788 and 1881 that demolished it. The decision was made to build another one in 1888 that remain the same since then.

Has the central place of the Languedoc Roussillon's capital city, the square is full of historic buildings, café , restaurants and is the scene of many event and art performance all along the year. A good place to enjoy a drink even if it's a typical touristic place and a bit more expensive than everywhere else in Montpellier.
montpellier comedie building


6 - Chamber of trade and industries


montpellier chamber of trade and industries
While walking through the narrow streets of the historic city center of Montpellier you may find some interesting buildings. The hotel saint-come is one of them. Host of the Chamber of trade and industries of the city since the 20's, it used to be an anatomy hall until the surgical school was merged with the medicine school in 1794.


7 - St Roch Church


The St Roch church is a neo-gothic style building in the heart of Montpellier that was named after the Holy protector of the city. It was built during the XIX century at the very same position of a previous destroyed church (that some remains can be seen at the rear of the building) but never was really finished.
montpellier St Roch Chuch

montpellier st roch wall draw
In front of the entrance you can see one of the most beautiful "trompe-l'oeil" of Montpellier. A wall drawing where the church is reflected. You can find several of those wall art dispatched around the city.


8 - St Anne Church


The St Anne church is one of the highest of the region, you can see his steeple from pretty much everywhere in Montpellier. Built in the XIX century along the economic development of the city, it is used since 1991 as the modern art museum of Montpellier.
montpellier St anne Church

montpellier st anne church
The square surrounding is a vibrant place full of people day and night with his Irish pub and many restaurants. With the music conservatory in front of the church, it makes it a very artistic area of Montpellier.


9 - Law court


On your way to the top of the city you might see the law court of Montpellier. This is one of the historical buildings of the city. His construction started in 1846 in a neoclassical style and ended in 1853
montpellier Law court


10 - Triumph arc


montpellier triumph arc
The triumph arc is one of the main sights of Montpellier. This old monument was erected in 1691 as the entrance gate to the Peyrou park. The Latin words on the arc are dedicated to Louis XIV and means: Louis the great, whom reign last 72 years brought peace on earth and seas after he separated, maintained and linked to allies inhabitants in a war of 40 years.


11 - Peyrou park


The Peyrou park or royal place of Peyrou is an old park created in 1689 and dedicated to king Louis XIV. Built on the top of a hill, this is the highest point of the city. You can have a wonderful view of the city and the whole Languedoc region. The main construction on the park is the water tower of the city. Built in 1768 by Henry Pitot, it was used to bring drinking water from the Lez to Montpellier inhabitants.
montpellier peyrou

Behind the water tower you can see the magnificent aqueduct Saint-Clément that was used to bring the water to the city. This huge monument is 21.5m all and 14 Km long
montpellier arceau

thanks to koakoo for this picture

montpellier louis XIV statue
In the middle of the park you can observe the statue of king Louis XIV. The first one was erected there in 1718 but was destroyed during the French Revolution era (like most of the monument from the monarchy). A new one was placed in 1828, and remains there since then.


12 - Botanic garden


The botanic garden is part of University Montpellier 1. Founded in 1593, it is the oldest botanic garden in France. It is still visited today by pharmacist or medicine students. You will be able to find there around 3200 different kind of plants from all around the world. The garden is open every day but Monday and as free entrance.
montpellier botnic garden

thanks to koakoo for this picture



13 - St Pierre Cathedral & the medecine school


montpellier medecine school
One of the most impressive buildings of Montpellier contains the cathedral St-Pierre and the medicine school of the city on his side. Founded in 1220 (though the classes were done at the students home at the time), the medicine school of Montpellier is the oldest one in the world that is still in activity. You can enter and take a look at this historical school his beautiful inside courtyard.

First erected as a church in 1364, the cathedral became so in 1536. This is the biggest gothic monument of the whole Languedoc Roussillon region and definitely a must see monument among the beautiful French Cathedral. The entrance can be found on the left of the building.
montpellier st pierre Cathedral


14 - Place Albert 1er


montpellier albert 1er
This square was called: square of the general hospital until 1934 due to the big building that used to be one important Hospital of Montpellier. Nowadays, the buildings are used for the University of Montpellier.


15 - "Agora", city of dance


By going up on "rue de l universite" you can see a unique place in France and Europe. Housed in an old convent from the 14th century, the: agora, city of dance is a building entirely dedicated to the creation and spread of dance
montpellier agora, city of dance


16 - place de la Canourgue


montpellier canourgue
The Canourgue place is a little square in the top of the city were you can have a nice view on the cathedral and in which you could find a lot of nice coffee and restaurant. One of the big house surrounding the area used to be the city hall of Montpellier from 1816 to 1975 (then it moved near the place of Comedie and since 2011 in the neighborhood of port Marianne).

In Montpellier we believe in unicorn, that's why you can find this fountain in the middle of the place Canourgue. The statue represents the arms' of the Castries family. The marble statue was first erected on the square Jean Jaures (square of the city hall at the time) in 1776 bt was moved in the Canourgue square in 1865 where you can still see it.
montpellier unicorn statue

thanks to koakoo for this picture



17 - prefecture


montpellier prefecture
On your way down you can see an old historic building: the prefecture of Montpellier. This administrative building is typical from the XIXth century architecture.

On the right of the building is the square of the flower market. This little square is a vibrant place always full of people having a drink in one of his numerous café. The square is a central place in the historic city center and his now a main spot of the gay neighborhood of Montpellier. A fountain with a sculpture of Ochoa can be found in the middle of the square.
montpellier marche au fleur


18 - rue de la loge


montpellier rue de la loge
This long street is probably the most important shopping street of the city. You will be able to find pretty much everything there. This is an arterial pedestrian road of the city and it's always animated with artists


The end


Check out our What to do section, if you are looking for activities to do in Montpellier

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