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August 14, 2020 | By: Matthew Williams
If you are looking for a city break that offers elegant architecture, glorious sunshine 300 days of the year and some fantastic places to eat and drink, then head to Montpellier. This elegant city in the south of France is a vibrant and multicultural metropolis. It is the country’s fastest growing city and over a quarter of the population is made up of students. This is great news for visitors as it means there is always something new and exciting to explore in the city with different events, festivals, workshops and exhibitions throughout the year. Still not convinced? Well, read on and let us convince you with our 5 top reasons to visit Montpellier.
Montpellier was founded in the 10th century by the Counts of Toulouse and since then has grown into an important centre for trade and education with its renowned university. The large old town retains its medieval charms with narrow winding streets and picturesque buildings, but contrasts with the grandeur of the 19th century architecture on the Place de la Comédie. One of the best ways to get to know the city is to join a Montpellier Free Tour with their passionate and knowledgeable local guides. Tours last around 2 and half hours and start at 10 am every day on the Place de la Comédie (look out for the blue umbrella). As well as the free tour they also offer private and couples tours, a craft beer tour and a street art tour. The entertaining guides will ensure that you come away with a new appreciation for this magical city and of course that you have some fun at the same time!
Montpellier has long been a centre for the arts with the Fabre Museum founded in 1825. It houses one of the country’s greatest collections of European art and a visit to Montpellier would not be complete without at least an hour spent here! It displays works by Rubens, Corot, Delacroix, Monet, Degas and local artists Bazille and Soulages. The city also enjoys a spectacular street art scene and it is well worth wandering around or joining a tour to witness some of the best examples across the city. Contemporary art fans also have to check out MOCO, a new museum with an impressive building, cutting-edge artworks and displays and regular events and lectures.
Being situated so close to the Med and with rich agricultural lands all around, Montpellier enjoys a delicious selection of fresh local produce, unforgettable traditional dishes and inventive reinventions from exciting new restaurants. Make sure to check out Les Halles Laissac covered market and food hall to experience a range of different local delicacies and the Marché du Lez where you will find markets, food trucks and vintage shops around a courtyard. For a tipple of local red or rosé wine head to the Old Town and choose a seat at one of the many terraces or try one of the local craft beers at Hopulus.
With a quarter of the city population made up of students, Montpellier has a young and vibrant nightlife. You will find live music, popular outside terraces in the cities many squares, wine bars, cocktail bars, craft beer pubs and much more! The party really gets started here from 11 pm onwards like many Mediterranean destinations and continues into the early morning. Some of the best spots include the Shakespeare pub with its beers and live music, La Chistera one of the most popular bars with its unique décor and Rockstore for its fantastic live music and events.
Montpellier is only around 30 minutes by public transport from the Mediterranean coast with some gorgeous beaches to discover. Espiguette is one of the region’s most breathtaking beaches with rolling sand dunes, tufts of tall grass and the azure blue waters of the Med. You can spend your time relaxing on the sands or choose some of the many water sports on offer. You can try your hand at paddleboarding, diving, kitesurfing or just a swim in the warm waters.
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We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.