A sun-baked city close to France’s mediterranean coast, Montpellier is a centre of art, culture and good living. A policy of religious tolerance shortly after its founding in the middle ages, ensured a steady stream of freethinkers to the town that, in time, led to the founding of one of the world’s oldest universities. Montpellier, as a result, still exudes a certain intellectual and artistic energy that draws visitors the world over.
Where to go
Wander through the historic centre of the city, famed for a number of medieval buildings made grandiose by rich merchants in the 17th and 18th centuries. Enjoy a picnic in the Jardin des plantes de Montpellier, the world’s oldest botanic gardens. Marvel at the medieval splendour of the cathedral, Saint-Pierre de Montpellier. Enjoy boutique shopping in the city centre and explore the many ateliers selling unique artworks. Pack your swimsuit and head down to the nearby coastal beaches to work on your tan. Spend an afternoon touring some of the many local vineyards.
Food & Drink
Due to its location, close to the Mediterranean, menus in Montpellier are heavily influenced by Italian, Spanish and Greek cuisine. Brightly coloured vegetables feature prominently, as does spicy sausage, lamb and lashings of olive oil. Soft cheeses and bread accompany most meals. Hearty, cab sav reds and fortified, sweet whites can be found in most cellars. For a real taste of Montpellier, we recommend either Les 40 Degres (35 rue Saint-Guilhem) for a contemporary spin on local favourites and La Fine Mouche (12 rue Sainte Anne) for a tasty tour through the many local cheeses.
As a university city, Montpellier has a very active nightlife scene. Nightclubs and pubs can be found en masse throughout the city centre and are particularly active during term times. To avoid the student hordes, we recommend Chez Boris (17 boulevard Sarrail), a delightful wine bar serving the local specialities and By Coss Bar (5 Rue Belmon), a quirky little cocktail bar that delights in subverting expectations.
Where to stay
A short drive out of town, Country Kids
is a luxury resort, perfect for families, that provides both outstanding childcare and pampering for adults. Slightly closer and just ten minutes from the airport (but you would never know it) sits Domaine de Verchant Hotel and Spa
. This luxury retreat is surrounded by hectares of vineyard and offers a range of treatments, including a uice and tea bar, for those seeking to pamper themselves. We continue to be surprised by the excellent level of service provided. Closer to the centre of town, in the historic quarter, Baudon de Mauny
has been a family-run hotel since 1829. Each of the rooms is specially decorated, giving a warm, intimate feel. Again, the service is excellent and the hotel has the benefit of excellent transport links to all the sights.
How to get there
Montpellier is easily reached by the French road and rail networks, via a channel train. Easyjet flies direct to Montpellier from London, with KLM, Eurowings and Air France flying indirectly.