Guide to Montpellier
Montpellier is a city in southern France, close to the Mediterranean. I had the opportunity to live and study in the city for a summer, and it has become one of my favorite cities in France. Here, I've highlighted a few of my favorite things to see, do, and eat in the area.
Where to Stay
Quartier des Beaux Arts
During my time in Montpellier, I lived with a local host family in a beautiful home in the Quartier des Beaux Arts. This neighborhood is walking distance from Place de la Comédie, but is more residential and therefore less touristy. I would recommend finding an Airbnb in the neighborhood to really experience the city as a local.
If you would prefer to be in the center of all the action, then stay in the quarters of Écusson, also known as la vielle ville (the old city). Not only are all the best shopping and restaurants located here, this part of the city features ancient architecture and beautiful hôtels particuliers.
Where to Eat
There are countless restaurants, bakeries, and bars throughout the city. I tried too many amazing places to name them all, but chances are if you walk into any classic-looking french restaurant (particularly in Écusson), the food will probably be good. Try and stick to the regional wine with your meals while you are here, restaurants are specially proud to serve local and regional offerings.
(travel tip: no matter where you travel, try to always order the local alcohol and/or known specialties of the region as it sustains the local economy—while providing you with fond culinary cultural associations and memories)
Any of the brasseries on Place de la Comédie
The numerous cafés and brasseries on the plaza are the best place to people watch and grab a casual meal. It's the perfect place to start a night on the weekend.
My favorite culinary experience in Montpellier was at this restaurant. Not only is the atmosphere flawless (the restarant is in a stone gothic-looking vault), the food is unique. It is cuisine gastronomique, which means the chefs use innovative culinary techniques to present classic French flavors.
Monday nights are the best night to visit this bar. All of the local and international students come here for the one euro beers and pub-club hybrid vibes. The bartenders are super friendly and entertaining.
Fun and lively discothèque with contemporary music downstairs and Latin music upstairs.
The stretch of beaches rather close to centre-ville. Reachable by tramway or bus. Clean and attractive beaches with good-time vibes, with cute convenience shops and places to grab an apéro along the main roads.
Château de Flaugergues
Gorgeous mansion-style house with collections of Flemish tapestries & an enormous carved staircase. There is a wine cellar, garden, and lemon trees, that make you feel as if you stepped into a fairy-tale.
A major port city reachable from Montpellier by train. Think small, classic, southern French beach town. The beach is gorgeous, probably my favorite one in the region. A great place to buy souvenirs.
Montpellier is a happening city thanks to it's large student population, gorgeous weather, and proximity to so many landmarks (beaches, wineries, medieval towns, etc). I plan to visit again in the next year, so I will have more to post about this lovely city at another time.
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