Montpellier - culture on the Mediterranean

Montpellier - a city for students and holidaymakers

Montpellier is an attractive destination for sun and sea on the Mediterranean coast with a dynamic, young spirit thanks to the high student population which account for 25% of the population. A lovely 'Old Town' city centre blends well with an active cultural life, Montpellier is also ideal for families with a zoo, aquarium, parks and of course, fun on the beach for great days out.

A little background to Montpellier

The city of Montpellier dates back to the 10th century under Spanish rule when the city was renowned as a place of learning, home to Arab and Jewish scholars. From the 13th century onwards, the Huguenots, French Protestants who were at home in the liberal-minded city, were constantly in flight or battle against the Catholic Church and were forced to yield or flee to other protestant countries. Remnants of the Medieval period can be felt in the historic centre of town, preserved as a pedestrian area for the visitor's pleasure. Place de la Comédie and L'Ancien Courrier are areas of the old town not to be missed for their beauty.

While in Montpellier…

  • In the heart of Montpellier, Notre Dame des Tables, is a stunning cathedral built on a site once occupied by a chapel for Jesuits and destroyed during the religious wars. The church is a fine example of Baroque architecture and of great importance in the history of Montpellier.
  • Head towards the ancient Benedictine monastery which today serves as the Musée Atger and enjoy works by Dutch, Flemish and Italian artists of the past. Among the hundreds of drawings and paintings, you will find works by Rubens and Carracci.
  • The ancient Jewish bathhouse, the Mikve, has survived the turbulence and wearing of time and stands as another example of medieval architecture and is a treasure for history lovers.
  • There are no less than six museums in town but if you would like to enjoy days out during fine weather the Botanical gardens, the Jardin des Plantes will be a feast for your eyes. Dating back to the 16th century, the greenhouses and gardens are the oldest in France.
  • For more outdoor activities, the beaches such as Espiguette are easy to reach. Highly popular in the summer, sandy beach with shallow water are ideal for young children, though whether you wish to take a dip in the sea or stroll along the long stretch of beach, you will find your pleasure.
  • Outside of Montpellier, mountain lovers can hike or climb in the Cevennes mountains and for a natural beauty spot, the Maguelone charms visitors with its stunning beaches and sand dunes.

Night time comes and there is a wide choice of restaurants, bars, live music and events in the city. The atmosphere is lively with terraces to wine and dine or simply relax in the mild evening temperatures!

For more about your trip to Montpellier: