Home to stately boulevards, elegant architecture and idyllic Mediterranean beaches, Montpellier is a picturesque coastal city. Founded in the 10th century, Montpellier flourished into a prosperous trading port and is today one of the most multicultural and fastest-growing cities in France.
Things to do in Montpellier
A highlight of any visit to Montpellier is the Musée Fabre, founded by local painter François-Xavier Fabre in 1825. It boasts an outstanding collection of 17th to 19th-century paintings, including numerous works by Delacroix and Raphael, as well as exquisite ceramics from across Europe.
Don’t miss a visit to the Gothic-style Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, which was built adjacent to the monastery of Saint-Benoît in the mid-14th century. It’s distinguished by its two monumental conical towers that flank the canopied porch and once bore the coat of arms of Pope Urbain V.
Adjacent to the cathedral is the Jardin des Plantes, France’s oldest botanical gardens that date back to 1593. Stroll around the historic Montagne de Richer gardens and the 18th-century orangery designed by Claude-Mathieu Delagardette, then admire the grand Martins greenhouse from 1860.
Want to see the “Champs-Élysées of Montpellier”? The Antigone district stretches to the east of the city centre towards the River Lez and was designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill in the late 1970s. It was one of the largest urban development projects in France and features monumental neoclassical buildings, with giant pediments and pilasters.
Getting around Montpellier
Montpellier Méditerranée Airport is situated around 20 minutes’ drive south-east of the city centre, and trains depart from Montpellier St. Roch station to Paris, Lille and Lyon. An extensive network of bicycle paths crisscrosses the city, although many of the attractions are within an easy walking distance of one another.