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The Travel Well Guide
City: Montpellier State: N/A Country: France
Montpellier is a cosmopolitan city that never fails to attract visitors, thanks to its vibrant atmosphere, popular tourist attractions, rich heritage and innovative architecture. Montpellier was founded in the 11th century, soon becoming an important trading centre and by 1220 it had a university noted for the teaching of medicine. The city was much improved in the 17th century, and by the 19th century was developing a strong industrial base. Montpellier has a huge student population, amounting to a quarter of the total population of the city, all of which adds to its vitality. Montpellier's growing popularity as a holiday destination can also be explained by the wide variety of tourist attractions on offer. From historic mansions and religious buildings to horse-drawn carriage rides and family entertainment, there's plenty to keep the whole family amused. The last great change came in the 1960s, with a huge influx of French settlers who were repatriated after Algeria gained independence. Montpellier expanded rapidly thereafter, a process that continues today with its transformation into the country's fastest-growing city and the powerhouse of Mediterranean France. For all the city's burgeoning suburbs, modern architecture and new infrastructure, a wonderful old walled town lurks in the civilized heart of Montpellier, known as the Ecusson. The 14th-century St Peter's Cathedral broods over a labyrinth of steep, picturesque medieval streets, and there are many fine churches, hidden squares, private mansion houses and intriguing courtyards dating from the 15th to the 17th centuries. The Rue Foch leads to an ornate triumphal arch (Porte de Peyrou of 1691) from whence the terraced Promenade de Peyrou, laid out in 1689, provides far-reaching views. It leads eventually to the 18th-century St Clement Aqueduct modelled on the Roman Ponte du Card at Nimes.There are some very good museums in Montpellier - like the recently refurbished Musee Fabre with a wonderful picture collection, the Atger Collection inside the medical faculty (a former monastery) and the Musee du Vieux Montpellier with traditional crafts, costumes and furniture.
Climate | When to Visit
Visit during: April to November
Directions | How to Reach
By Air : Montpellier has direct flights from/to Paris. It has Direct flights from/to Lille, Strasbourg, Nice, Bordeaux, Corsica and others. British Airways provides daily flights from/to London. It also has weekly flights from/to Copenhagen (Cimber Air). By Rail : The city has trains from/to Paris (gare de Lyon) which can be covered in only 3 hours and 15 minutes. There is also a new cheap night TGV service, slower, which starts from Paris (gare de Lyon) and arrives in Montpellier. Regional trains are known under "TER Languedoc-Roussillon".By Road : The international and regional bus station is close to the train station, one minute from the Place de la Comedie, center of Montpellier. Eurolines has direct lines between Montpellier and Barcelona, Madrid, Marakech, Roma, Venezia, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne, Berlin, Prague and Belgrade.