Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Montpellier (France), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Montpellier is one of the largest cities in France. It’s a major urban center in the Occitania-region. During medieval times, Montpellier was an important city of the Crown of Aragon. It was also here that James I was born.
The city is also famous for its University of Montpellier, which is one of the oldest universities in the world. Students account for around 1/4 of the population of Montpellier.
The Cathedrale St-Pierre is one of Montpellier’s most impressive buildings and is famous for its beautiful cylindrical twin-tower arched main entrance that gave the church the nickname ”Fort of St-Pierre” as it looks so imposing.
The cathedral is accessible for free during weekdays. If you decide to come here don’t miss the adjacent botanical gardens as they are a real oasis in comparison to the city’s bustling streets.
Château de Flaugergues
The Château de Flaugergues is built just outside Montpellier and has served as a residence of numerous wealthy merchants. The antique furniture of the country house has been restored and a visit here in many ways feels like entering a time capsule.
Musée d’Anatomie de Montpellier
The Musée d’Anatomie is an interesting museum belonging to the faculty of medicine of the local university. It houses a comprehensive conservatory of anatomy that features nearly 6,000 exhibits that are used for teaching when they are not exhibited in the museum.
The anatomical collection consists of both animals and humans. There are plenty of dissections to be seen as well as pathological anatomy, embryology and much more.
Montpellier’s Triumphal Arch may not be as famous as its counterpart in Paris but it is nonetheless a landmark and symbol of Montpellier. It was constructed in the 17th century and offers a rusticated surface that sets the arch apart from many other buildings of its time.
Particularly interesting are the reliefs depicting King Louis XIV of France added in the 18th century. The arch is known for its fantastic gold and white color combination and walking through it is an experience that shouldn’t be missed when coming to Montpellier.
Place de la Comédie
The Place de la Comédie is considered Montpellier’s commercial heart and the main transport hub of the city. The beautiful square has an oval shape which gave it the funny nickname l’œuf (meaning the Egg in English).
Right in the middle of the square is a statue of the Three Graces, which are considered the empathic goddesses of the city.
The Place de la Comédie is crowded throughout the day as many people pass through here on their way from or to work and there are also many people coming here to meet with friends, go shopping or have dinner in one of the many adjacent restaurants.
There are also many street artists found here and watching their interesting shows can be interesting especially for kids.
Promenade du Peyrou
The Promenade of Peyrou is the city’s most flamboyant promenade and offers a fantastic view of the coastline. It features the stunning Porte du Peyrou as well as several monuments dedicated to King Louis XIV
You’ll also find a beautiful park with plenty of big trees allowing for plenty of shade during Montpellier’s warm summers. The promenade is not just one of the most scenic places in Montepellier but is also of historical significance.
It was constructed in the 17th century and looks back on a rich history. Here is where many of the city’s most influential residents and celebrities have spent their time.
Take the tram to the beach
Montpellier offers a number of beautiful beaches just minutes away from the city. The easiest way to explore them is by taking a tram from the city center. Simply take a tram to Palavas-les-Flots and in only a few minutes you are right at the beach.
Montpellier’s beaches are very wide and beautiful and are never too crowded. Even during the warm summer months, so if you come here during the summer, don’t miss to visit some of the lovely beaches near Montpellier.
The Musée Fabre is one of the most interesting museums of the city. It was founded in 1825 by a local painter and has since then developed into a first-class art museum. This significance is further underlined by the museum’s status as a “Musee de France”.
The museum is known for its fantastic collection of paintings that not only include historic artworks from the 15th to the 18th century but also contemporary and even modern art. Additionally, there are also many sculptures to be found here.
Jardin des Plantes
The Jardin des Plantes is a fantastical botanical garden brimming with beautiful greenery. It is one of the oldest of its kind in all of Europe and was founded in the 16th century by Henri IV.
Over time the once humble garden has grown in size and now features an arboretum and a landscape park. The gardens were classified as a Historical Monument by the French government.
Bertrand Bosc is a famous tour guide that is specialized in taking visitors around the lesser-known sides of Montpellier. He offers a number of great tours that bring visitors around beautiful wine yards as well as the fantastic landscape surrounding the city.
Many of the tours include some easy hiking or cycling and are suited for the whole family. Some of Bertrand Bosc’s tours also focus on culinary highlights and are perfectly suited for food lovers.
Le Pavillon Populaire
The Pavillon Populaire is a modern photography museum known for its fantastic temporary collections on various subjects. The collections consist of a mix of regional and internationally renowned artists.
Due to the ever-changing exhibitions, there is always something new to experience here which makes many residents of Montpellier come here multiple times a year.
Marche Du Lez
The Marche Du Lez is much more than just a regular market, it’s a cultural melting pot that is the center of a lot of young, creative energy and open-minded dialogue between the cultures.
The market consists of regular produce vendors, thrift shops, restaurants, art galleries and exhibitions. One of the most attractive aspects of the Marche Du Lez is its charming premises feature plenty of industrial chic as well as beautiful greenery and the river Lez which acts as the namesake of the market.
The Church of Saint-Roch is a beautiful neo-Gothic building from the 19th century. This beautiful church is located in the Ecusson neighborhood that is known for its many cafes and atmospheric streets.
Taking a walk in this area is a great activity and one of the best ways to enjoy the historic old city of Montpellier. If you aren’t into long walks you can just take a seat on a bench next to the Eglise Saint-Roch and marvel at its imposing main façade.
The Kawa Theater is a modern comedy theater that is much less pretentious than its bigger opera counterparts. The theater was opened to offer great comedy performances in an informal and accessible setting that is suited for visitors of all ages.
Many of the country’s most famous stand-up artists have performed here and entertained thousands of visitors. Make sure to check the schedule.
Villa Des Cent Regards
The beautiful castle Villa Des Cent Regards was recently turned into an art gallery. The mansion was the former residence of Victor Grazzi who escaped Italy during Mussolini’s rise to power.
After the death of his wife, Grazzi invested most of his time and resources into building the villa as beautifully as he could and added interesting features like a lighthouse and a vineyard.
This is not a traditional villa by any means and the only building materials used were either concrete or recycled materials from other buildings.