A triumphal arch in Montpellier, France
Arc de Triomphe of Montpellier (Port de Peyrou)

Inspiring Destinations – Montpellier, France

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Montpellier, France

Located 10km inland from the Mediterranean coast, Montpellier is the capital of the Hérault department in southern France.

The city was founded when 2 hamlets were combined and a castle and walls built around them. The city was first mentioned in documents in 985AD. After the War of Religions in the 16th century, Montpellier became the royal capital of Languedoc.

For a walking guide to the city, check out our Self-Guided City walk of Montpellier.

The main square Palace de la Comedie is always busy and vibrant. Popular for conversation and coffee, watching buskers trying to win you with a smile or just sitting near the fountain to watch people enjoying their day.

A large plaza with historic buildings
Place de la Comedie is a focal point of the city. Many people meet at the 3 Graces fountain

The Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, distinguished by conical towers, dates to 1364. It suffered extensive damage during the Wars of Religion between Catholics and Protestants in the 16th century. It was rebuilt in the 17th century.

A large cathedral with twin towers
Montpellier Cathedral and its twin conical towers

There is a youthful vibrancy in the city with three universities located here. Founded in 1220, the University of Montpellier is one of the oldest in the world. The famous astrologer and physician (and reputed seer), Nostradamus studied medicine here.

The Musee Fabre has a wide collection of paintings from the 15th to 20th century, and entry is free.

Inside a museum in Montpellier France
Inside the Musee Fabre, the range of paintings is vast

Promenade du Peyrou is one of the favorite places of Montpellier. The promenade displays a statue of Louis XIV on horseback in its centre. At the city end you will find the Arc de Triomphe of Montpellier (Port de Peyrou) was built in 1692 replacing one of the doors of the old rampart.

How to Experience Montpellier like a Local
Place du Royale du Peyrou, Montpellier

At the far end is the Saint-Clement Aqueduct. It  was built in 1766 to bring water from Saint-Clement to Montpellier, a 14 km distance.

How to Experience Montpellier like a Local
Aqueduc Saint-Clément reaches 14km in length

The city is ideal to be walked with many pedestrian precincts. The River Lez Promenade is designed to be enjoyed by everyone, whether for a morning walk or run, or simply just relaxing with a book.

A promenade alongside a river
River Lez Promenade, Montpellier

We have been fortunate to have had two month-long stays in Montpellier. To read more about this superb city check out How to Experience Montpellier like a Local.