Montpellier the must-see city in the South of France
A little of history…
Montpellier has attracted visitors for more than 1000 years! At the crossroads of the big communication routes, like the via Domitia, and thanks to an easy access to the sea, Montpellier quickly developed. It has attracted traders, craftsmen, jurists and scholars. As of the XIIth century, the city was known for the quality of its university education.
History has proven Montpellier to have its share of tragic events, such as the religious wars in the XVIth century or the phylloxera infestation in the XIXth century. But the inhabitants of Montpellier have always know how to rise above these difficulties and the city has maintained its momentum throughout this time.
In 2018, Montpellier, the second largest metropolitan area of the Occitanie region, was ranked 7th among French cities with 275 000 inhabitants. It is France’s 2nd city in terms of economic development and 3rd for its quality of life and was selected by the New York Times among 45 cities to be visited in the world!
In spite of this metamorphosis, the small streets and squares of the historic city center, the Ecusson, take visitors back to medieval times. Its mansions of the XVIth century, botanical garden (just two minutes from our institute) and its churches make a city of arts that tourists enjoy discovering.
Cultural and sports events
All year round, festivals add to the vibrant culture of the city: from the “Printemps des comédiens” drama festival, to “Montpellier danse” contemporary dance festival and the “Cinemed” Mediterranean film festival, cultural offerings are rich and varied. Many museums and galleries await visitors in between festivals.
The City of Montpellier also welcomes national and international sporting events such as the French swimming championships or the mythic Tour de France bicycle race. The festival of extreme sports, the FiSE, gathers every year in May more than 500 000 people on the banks of Lez river. More than 400 riders come to compete and reveal their talent. In 2019, do not miss the European volleyball championships which will take place in Montpellier Et alors, la coupe du monde du foot féminin??!
The reputation of Montpellier is also due to its long sandy beaches and salt marshes with hundreds of flamingos. Many beaches are accessible from the city center by the widely-developed public transportation system. The Mediterranean is only 11 kilometers from the city, near enough to be able to take a swim, kite surf or try the new water sport rage, paddleboarding.
The Occitanie region
Montpellier is at the crossroads of the Cévennes mountains, Provence and Camargue regions. You can take advantage of your weekend to go on an excursion with our partners to discover this magnificent region. Whether you are passionate about nature or culture, you can find what you are looking for. The back country will charm you with its wild and authentic side, ideal for hiking. Cities such as Nîmes, Avignon or Carcassonne are places of culture classified as UNESCO world heritage sites. Less than two hours from Montpellier, they are the perfect destinations for weekend travel.