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Montpellier City Breaks

Understated rustic charm

Discover Languedoc Roussillon's captivating regional capital on a holiday to Montpellier City. Compact yet graceful, this city is pleasing in every way. Montpellier is a thriving modern city with a historic centre. Its university dates all the way back to the 12th century while its sweet Old Town makes it one of the prettiest cities on France’s southern coast. It might have an illustrious past, but that doesn't mean that present day Montpellier is any less vibrant. On any given day you can join the throngs of students drinking coffee - or something harder - in the city's bustling squares. Montpellier is a city that puts substance over style, where it’s the beauty of the beaches and not the people that counts. And that includes a substantial meal too - Montpellier is renowned for its rustic regional cuisine and fine wines. A wonderfully satisfying combination.

Explore our map of Montpellier City

Your Montpellier City questions, answered

Montpellier is petite enough to explore by foot or by bike. Alternatively, you can hop on a bus or tram.
Don't leave without trying a grisette, honey and liquorice candies that have been made in Montpellier since the Middle Ages.
Montpellier enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate. You're likely to get more than 300 days of sunshine a year there. This means you can take a Montpellier city break at any season, including winter for indoor pursuits like museums and art galleries. In the spring you'll see the best face of Montpellier City as the skies turn deeper blue and the antique buildings are surrounded with flowers and trees in leaf. You'll also come across a few sporting events. In June and July, Montpellier City gears up for book fairs, theatre and dance festivals and a celebration of the city's architecture.
Montpellier City is ideal for a city break. It has more historical monuments and cultural activities than you could want. There’s a full programme of concerts and plays, literary fairs and dance shows. You'll also have art galleries and museums galore, and a long history of monumental buildings to look at. They include structures like the vast 18th-century aqueduct and water tower. Under the arches of the aqueduct, you'll also find a fresh produce market on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Further, Montpellier City is ideally placed between country vineyards and the sea.
Montpellier doesn't have its own beach but you can reach the beautiful strands of the Hérault Coast in just a 20-minute drive from the centre.
Aside from the city beaches of Carnon, Palavas and La Grande Motte, you'll find a long sandy coastline near Montpellier City that you can get to by bike, tram or bus. At Le Grau-du-Roi you'll find 10 kilometres of wilder beach with dunes at Espiguette. It's about 500 metres wide and is part of a nature reserve, so you'll find it quiet and undeveloped. In the opposite direction, past Palavas-les-Flots, you can catch a train, tram or bus to Sete. It'll take you 15-30 minutes, but it's worth it for the 12 kilometres of unspoilt sand you'll find there.
Montpellier City is a good choice for families as you'll find plenty of things for kids to do. You'll see penguins, flamingos and zebras in its wildlife parks and there are other centres where children can pet sheep or goats. Kids will love tootling around the city on the little road train and you'll see lots of playgrounds on the way. If your children are old enough, you can hire bikes and make the most of Montpellier's network of paved cycling paths. These will take you all the way to the beach for swimming and water sports.
If you just want a city break with some serious style, you can see all Montpellier City's major sights in two or three days. The historic buildings, the parks and rivers, the lagoon and even the beach are possible on a tight schedule. The longer you stay in Montpellier City, though, the more you'll discover. You'll find food and flea markets, castles and vineyards, and you might even fit in a trip to Marseille or Toulouse. If you stay a week you can have a couple of beach days too and, with a family, you can comfortably stay two weeks.
Montpellier City is known for being made the capital of the Languedoc region by Louis XIV, the Sun King. This is celebrated on a colossal Triumphal Arch called the Porte du Peyrou, or Peyrou Gate, completed in 1693. The city is also famous for its 16th-century cathedral and its historic mansions, or hotels particuliers. These were built for royal courtiers and rich merchants in the 17th and 18th centuries, and you can visit them on a guided tour. Montpellier City is also famous for its universities and counts Nostradamus among the many who have studied here.