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11 Gorgeous Attractions in Montpellier, France

Nestled in the heart of the Occitanie region in France lies Montpellier, a captivating city that draws tourists from around the globe. With a history dating back to the 10th century, Montpellier boasts a unique blend of ancient and contemporary architecture, creating an unparalleled atmosphere. This vibrant city is renowned for housing Europe's oldest and most prestigious university, attracting a diverse mix of young students, intellectuals, and creative artists. Exploring its picturesque streets offers opportunities to visit notable attractions such as charming cafés, boutique shops, and bustling markets that embody the essence of French life. Prepare to immerse yourself in all that Montpellier has to offer - discover what sights are truly worth seeing and experiences worth having.
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1. Château de Flaugergues

Château de Flaugergues
This grand mansion, constructed during the 17th century, stands as a testament to the illustrious history and remarkable architecture of the city. Impeccably conserved, it embodies the extravagant lifestyle enjoyed by its previous inhabitants. The wealthy Bertrand de Plaguereges family commissioned its construction in 1969, resulting in rooms adorned with furniture and various decorative items that exude pure French aristocracy. Additionally, within the estate lies a garden embellished with statues, fountains, and rare plants - a tranquil sanctuary away from the bustling city. Strolling through this garden feels akin to stepping inside a painting; one can admire panoramic vistas of Montpellier's skyline directly from this vantage point.

2. Place Edouard Adam

Place Edouard Adam
Located in the heart of the city, this historic square bears the name of a former mayor of Montpellier. It serves as a venue for cultural and social events, with its origins tracing back to the 18th century when it was a bustling market and commercial center. Even today, the square remains vibrant with numerous cafes and boutique shops. At its center stands an elegant fountain that adds to its lively atmosphere. If you wish to observe local life in action, this is the ideal spot.

3. Porte du Peyrou

Porte du Peyrou
One prominent landmark in Montpellier is Porte du Peyrou - a triumphal gate constructed towards the end of the 17th century as a tribute to King Louis XIV. Fashioned after Paris' Saint-Denis gate, it has become an iconic symbol of Montpellier where tourists flock to climb its 88 steps and enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape. Many guided tours include this activity upon arrival at Porte du Peyrou.

4. Quartier Saint-Roch

Quartier Saint-Roch
Montpellier, being a city known for its student population, exudes a Bohemian allure that is most prominent in the Saint-Roch neighborhood. Situated near the city center, this vibrant area seamlessly blends together both ancient and modern architectural styles. Its origins date back to the Middle Ages, and over time it has transformed into a melting pot of diverse cultures. With numerous cafés, art galleries, and unique boutique shops dotting its streets, exploring the narrow alleys of Saint-Roch allows you to immerse yourself in its Bohemian ambiance while stumbling upon hidden treasures like street artists displaying their exceptional talents or charming bookstores brimming with character.

5. Cathedrale St. Pierre

Cathedrale St. Pierre
A visit to Saint Pierre Cathedral is truly a voyage into the historical and architectural heritage of the city. This grand Gothic church is not just a place of worship, but also an exquisite masterpiece that has stood for centuries. Its construction began in the 14th century and spanned several generations, ultimately becoming an emblem of both architectural and artistic excellence. The magnificent facade boasts intricately carved sculptures and ornate windows, while inside, visitors are captivated by a sculpted ceiling, breathtaking stained glass windows, and elaborate altar decorations.

6. Jardin des Plantes

Jardin des Plantes
Another beloved destination in Montpellier is the Jardin des Plantes. This enchanting botanical garden has been enchanting locals and tourists alike since its opening in 1593, making it one of France's oldest gardens. Initially established as a sanctuary for medicinal plants, it has since evolved into a haven for visitors seeking solace amidst nature's beauty. As you explore this magical garden on foot, you'll encounter exotic flora species, as well as serene lakes inhabited by ducks and swans. From certain vantage points within the garden grounds itself offers panoramic views of both the cityscape below and vistas extending towards the Cévennes​ Mountains in the distance.

7. Musée Fabre

Musée Fabre
If you're interested in seeing some good artwork, the highly recommended destination is the Fabre Museum, which is housed in a beautiful neoclassical building with historical significance. Within its walls, you'll find masterpieces by renowned French painters like Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, and Peter Paul Rubens. Additionally, the museum boasts an extensive collection of European art spanning from the 17th to the 19th centuries, as well as contemporary works by modern artists.

8. Promenade du Peyrou

Promenade du Peyrou
Situated near Piero Gate at a high elevation within the city lies Peyrou Promenade - a must-visit spot for breathtaking panoramic views of Montpellier. Established during King Louis XIV's reign in the 17th century to commemorate his visit to Montpellier, this promenade features an impressive statue of him on horseback and a striking arch structure that exudes power and grandeur. As you stroll along this promenade, observe locals engaging in activities such as picnicking with their families or partaking in games of pétanque while basking under the warm sun.

9. Planet Ocean

Planet Ocean
Montpellier offers an exciting attraction called Planet Ocean. This unique establishment combines the elements of an aquarium and an interactive marine museum. It boasts a remarkable 3D underwater display as well as a stormy sea simulator, which are unparalleled throughout Europe. Additionally, visitors can explore the largest covered aquarium tank in France, standing at an impressive height of 10 meters and width of 18 meters. Planet Ocean is a perfect destination for families with children or anyone seeking a one-of-a-kind experience. Here, you will have the opportunity to marvel at tropical fish, coral reefs, and even observe black-footed penguins.

10. Place de la Comedie

Place de la Comedie
Another notable location in Montpellier is a square called Place de la Comedie. This vibrant square has served as a cultural hub for centuries since its establishment in the 18th century. Adorned with magnificent Ottoman-style buildings, it offers luxury shops and excellent cafés for visitors to indulge in. The focal point of Place de la Comedie is the Fountain of the Three Graces situated right at its center. This beloved landmark serves as a popular meeting spot among locals and adds to the lively atmosphere found within this bustling square. Throughout the day, street performers and musicians entertain crowds further enhancing its vibrant ambiance.

11. Vieille Ville

Vieille Ville
Vieille Ville (Old Town) is another must-visit attraction that showcases Montpellier's rich history through its charming streets lined with medieval architecture. It boasts a multitude of delightful districts that form a labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets enveloped by medieval structures and hidden courtyards at every turn. This section of the city has been meticulously preserved and offers visitors a glimpse into Montpellier's vibrant history. It showcases magnificent Gothic-fronted churches and even houses one of Europe's oldest Jewish mikvahs. The old city is teeming with lively markets, charming boutique shops, as well as numerous cafés and restaurants to keep you entertained throughout your stay. So be prepared to immerse yourself in the wonders it has to offer.

12. Aigues-Mortes

If you have the opportunity during your time in Montpellier, it is advisable to plan a day trip to Aigle Mort, which is conveniently located nearby. This walled medieval town is situated in a charming region of marshes and salt flats, all of which have been remarkably preserved. The entire area captivates with its beauty and is highly recommended for exploration. One of the highlights includes visiting the citadel where you can take in an awe-inspiring panoramic view of the surrounding landscape – an experience that is truly unique. To further enhance your visit, consider taking a boat ride to witness the incredible wildlife that inhabits the lagoons and salt flats, such as flamingos and untamed horses.

13. Saint Guilhem-le-Désert

Saint Guilhem-le-Désert
Located just 40 km away from Montpellier, this medieval village is a must-visit for a day trip. Situated in the charming Gallon Valley and surrounded by cliffs, it boasts a well-preserved 9th century church with stunning Romanesque architecture. Taking a leisurely walk along the cobbled streets and narrow alleys will transport you to another time, immersing you in the historic and enchanting atmosphere of this place. Additionally, you can cool off by taking a refreshing swim in the nearby Harrow River. Don't miss out on sampling the local cuisine while you're here - there are numerous restaurants offering an array of delicious local cheeses and freshly baked breads for your culinary enjoyment.
Photo sources: depositphotos, Montpellier MuralGwendolyn Stansburymontpellier-france.com
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