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Montpellier Holidays

A city full of character

You don’t need to be studying to get the most out of this cosmopolitan student city. Montpellier holidays are a cultural wonderland, with palaces, museums and art galleries to peruse, meaning you’ll certainly be put through your scholarly paces. The medieval city is home to several universities and, as a result, more than a third of its population is students. The youthful residents give the city a vibrant energy and, unsurprisingly, a lively night scene.

Holidays to Montpellier are an explorer’s paradise, so be sure to pack a pair of comfortable shoes. Start at the Place de la Comédie and amble through the cobbled streets of the old town, looking at the city’s grand ‘hôtels particuliers’ (private mansions) with their romantic Gothic courtyards. As the sun goes down, order a bottle of the local Languedoc wine at the Place de la Canourgue, Montpellier’s oldest square, and soak it up with a plate of Roquefort cheese and warm bread. Strolling around the medieval streets, it’s easy to forget that Montpellier is a coastal city. Most beaches can be reached within half an hour by bus, or you can hire a bike and cycle there. Whether you like having your nose in a guidebook or a plate of cassoulet, Montpellier is bursting with possibilities.

All resorts in Montpellier

Three tips for a top trip

Consider getting the tram

Having a rental car can be more of a hindrance than a help in this bustling city. Instead, save money and time by getting the tram and local buses.

Order some local wine

Order a bottle of Languedoc wine. It won’t let you down, especially if it’s from the Pic Saint-Loup vineyards located in the Hérault region just outside Montpellier.

Do not skip breakfast

Montpellier is known for its delectable ‘boulangeries’ (bakeries), patisseries and family-run cafés that offer some of the best breakfast spreads to get your day off to the perfect start.

Best attractions to see in Montpellier

Art by the Old Masters

Art lovers are well catered for at the Musée Fabre, which houses one of the country’s richest collections of European art, including works by Monet and Rubens.

The Botanical Gardens

Established in 1593, the Botanical Gardens of Montpellier are the oldest in France. The majestic glasshouses and exotic foliage make for the perfect backdrop for a picnic.

Modern art at La Panacée

This creative-art venue is in the former Royal College of Medicine. It’s an exhibition space and café for the public and artists to share ideas.

Your Montpellier questions, answered

The Languedoc beaches are some of the most beautiful in France, boasting white sand and clear, tranquil waters. Le Grande Motte beach is a 30-minute drive from the city centre.
The airport is just 8 kilometres from the city. You can also fly to Nice and drive along the coast, stopping off at picturesque villages for a scenic alternative.
You'll find it pleasantly warm in Montpellier from May to September, with very little rainfall. The highest average temperatures reach 27°C in July and August, when you'll be wanting to spend time on the beach. In October it becomes much wetter and from December to February it'll probably be about 11°C and less rainy. You can choose from lots of events, from wine and food tastings in the summer to the Christmas fair. Sporting events you might want to watch include a tennis tournament and a marathon in February/March, extreme sports in May and beach volleyball in August.
Montpellier’s temperate Mediterranean climate means it’s great to visit all year round. It gets cooler in winter, but the sun is an almost permanent fixture.
Whatever kind you like, from city break to seaside sun lounging. Montpellier is a coastal city set against hills and vineyards, so you can go hiking, horse riding and especially cycling. The city is well set up with bike trails and rentals, and there are plenty of places to visit. If you're there for the history, this is the city where Nostradamus went to university, and there are many beautiful old buildings to see. You can go to concerts and museums, art galleries and public parks, and finish your day with some great places to eat, drink and maybe dance.
You can pick your position according to your pocket because, even away from the centre of Montpellier, the tram network and bike trails will get you around comfortably. If you're looking for something luxurious, some of the city's old mansions, or hotels particuliers, have been converted for holiday accommodation. For some truly indulgent pampering, you might choose a spa resort and palatial country house set in outlying vineyards. At the other end of the scale, there are many beachside campsites and also plenty of apartments to rent and affordable hotels around the city.
You don't always realise that Montpellier is near the coast, but it's close enough to bike or bus it there in half an hour. You'll find many beaches on its attractive, unspoilt coastline, starting with the nearest, Carnon beach. It's the city beach and can be crowded, but it'll only take you 15 minutes to get there by bus or tram. Palavas and the Grande Motte beaches are about the same distance, though not so easy to reach on public transport. If you're driving, make time to visit the 18-kilometre Espiguette beach, which is largely quiet and undeveloped.
How long you stay in Montpellier depends on whether you want to visit other major cities in the region like Toulouse, Marseille, or even Nice. It's possible to see the major sights in Montpellier City in a couple of days if you're just there for a weekend break. If you're looking for a more restful experience, you should go for at least a week so you can also see some of the surrounding countryside. You'll then have time for the beach, too. And if you're a family you could happily spend two weeks here.
Montpellier is very welcoming to families, with lots of things to see and do. There are wildlife parks where you'll see penguins, zebras and flamingoes, and walk with goats and sheep. Older children can race around the woods on quad bikes, while little ones can drive the small unmotorised box cars. You can also experience the Amazon, visit an aquarium or watch the ducks in the Jacques Coeur basin. A good way to see the city is to hire bicycles and follow Montpellier's network of bike trails. You can get to the beach, too, and play some fun water sports.