10 Reasons Why You Must Visit Montpellier France

2018/11 – Visit Montpellier France

One of the most surprising hidden gems of my short sojourn in Europe was time spent in the beautiful southern French city of Montpellier. Montpellier is an absolute must see for those who want a uniquely French cultural experience without quite as many tourists to get in your way. With a population nearing three hundred thousand, Montpellier is the 7th largest city in all of France and is a fast-growing destination for young people. Let’s take a look at the 10 Reasons Why You Must Visit Montpellier France.

10 Reasons Why You Must Visit Montpellier France
10 Reasons Why You Must Visit Montpellier France

My wife and I were able to take in a whirlwind tour of the city with our son, Mark, while visiting him and his host family during his study abroad experience. We found that Montpellier is home to some of the coolest architecture, nicest people, and best food/drink in all of Europe! If you’re not convinced, take a look at my 10 reasons why you must visit Montpellier France and make sure it is on your travel itinerary.

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The Little Arc de Triomphe

Reason one: The little Arc de Triomphe. Though not quite as impressive as the Parisian Arc de Triomphe, this beautiful landmark should not be missed.

Little Arc de Triomphe Montpellier France
Little Arc de Triomphe Montpellier France

Plus, if you are lucky enough to take a guided tour of the city or be present on European heritage day (September 15-16), you can take a trip up to the top of the Arc, and obtain a beautiful view of most of the city’s Old Town, as well as a view of the nearby Pic Saint Loup.

Little Arc de Triomphe Montpellier France
Little Arc de Triomphe Montpellier France

The Fabre Museum

Reason two: Musée Fabre (the Fabre Museum). France is home to great museums such as the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, The Centre Pompidou and more. They are all amazing museums, but the Fabre may give them a  run for their money. The Musée Fabre has one of the most extensive collections of European art in the world and is an absolute must see for true art lovers. The museum is located in the heart of Montpellier and is home to both pieces from the far reaches of Europe, and the local Occitanie region.

The Architecture

Reason three: The architecture! The trip I took through Italy and France was my first time through either country, and I was shocked by the unique nature of Montpellier’s architecture. I had this vision of what Mediterranean architecture was supposed to look like, and I expected to find that in our time in Italy, but surprisingly, that vision was most represented in Montpellier’s old town.

The Architecture of Montpellier France
The Architecture of Montpellier France

Montpellier is an interesting blend of neoclassical, gothic, and modern architecture—all in the span of a few miles. From the pillars of the Opera house, to the high arches of the cathedral, to the modern design of their train station, Gare St. Roch, Montpellier has it all.

The Markets

Reason four: The markets. For most of the year, with weather permitting, Montpellier holds a massive farmer’s market under the aqueducts at the edge of the Old Town.

Roman Aqueducts Montpellier France
Roman Aqueducts Montpellier France

These beautiful and vibrant markets sell anything from fresh French cheeses and wines to local fruits, veggies, and pastries. It’s truly a treat to behold (and a treat to eat the cheeses).

Markets Montpellier France
Markets Montpellier France

The Promenade du Peyrou

Reason five: The Promenade du Peyrou. Near the Arc de Triomphe, this beautiful park displays perfectly manicured trees and a statue symbolizing Louis XIV.

The  Promenade du Peyrou
The Promenade du Peyrou

The promenade, is topped off by the beautifully constructed Chateau d’Eau (Castle of Water), which is its emblematic monument.

Les Trois Grâces

Reason six: Les Trois Grâces. The Three Graces statue in Montpellier is the centerpiece of the Place de la Comedie.

Fountain of the Three Graces Montpellier France
Fountain of the Three Graces Montpellier France

The beautiful work, crafted by Etienne d’Antoine in 1790, was placed in the Musée Fabre in 1989, but was moved again during the refurbishment of the museum to its current spot on the Comedie.

La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre

Reason seven: La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. I’m an architecture buff, which is why the cathedral of Saint-Pierre was maybe my favorite spot in our short tour of Montpellier. I could have stayed there shooting for hours, but my son dragged us on to see the other cool spots in the city.

La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre Montpellier France
La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre Montpellier France

The cathedral is one of the great indicators of Montpellier’s longstanding history, as it was built in 1364 when it was commissioned by Pope Urban V. Later, in 1536, it was converted into a cathedral when the archbishop was transferred from Maguelone to Montpellier.

La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre Montpellier France
La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre Montpellier France

What I thought to be particularly interesting was the fact that the old college of Medicine is attached to this fantastic building at the hip. Great history!

The Beach

Reason eight: The beach. Just minutes from the heart of downtown is Espiguette beach. Accessible by the light rail, this incredible allows you to experience all that the Mediterranean has to offer. With rolling sand dunes and incredible sea food nearby, this is one of the beautiful landmarks that will be bringing us back to Montpellier soon.

The Nightlife

Reason nine: The nightlife. Montpellier is home to many college students and young adults. Its slight Spanish influence makes the city come alive late at night. Though famous for their wines, the pub and brewery scenes are starting to make an appearance in the south of France. For some incredible tap beers, make a stop at Les Berthoms or The Black Sheep—both easy to find and just minutes off the Comedie. For great food, you can’t go wrong. By walking around old town, all you need to do is spin around and point and you’ve managed to find yourself a great restaurant. That being said, Casa di Giorgio Pizzeria on Rue de la Loge is incredible, and I would highly recommend it.

The People

Reason ten: The people. In our short time in Montpellier, we were able to share a meal with Mark’s host family, and we were able to meet a family we can truly call friends.

Fabulous Hospitality of The Mercer Family Montpellier France
Fabulous Hospitality of The Mercer Family Montpellier France

The Mercier family is a perfect example of the reality of many of the nature of French people. Many Americans think that French people are rude and snobbish toward Americans, when we found the opposite to be true. The reality of it is, French people are just that—people! The French love their culture. If you are willing to engage with it and share it with them, then you will soon find yourself making a friend. Make an effort! You’ll be better off for it.

Conclusion

Montpellier is, in my humble opinion, one of the best towns in all of Europe. Undoubtedly, we will be back again soon. I hope one of these reasons convince you to include Montpellier in your French itinerary. Maybe we’ll see you there!

If you have any questions about this adventure or Montpellier please Contact Us. And until next time, get out and capture the adventure!

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