Montpellier is one of the best cities to visit in France but it’s so underrated because let’s face it, this is France we’re talking about and there are so many popular cities all across France that not all cities get quite the attention they deserve.
It’s funny because most people know the name of the city but when you go down to the number of people who have visited it compared to say Paris or Nice or Bordeaux, those numbers do go down a lot more.
The thing is though, Montpellier is actually an amazing city to visit and there’s so much to do in the city and also just outside of the city, making it a great spot to add to a French road trip.
Anyway, enough waffle from me, here are the best places in Montpellier that you need to check out when you visit.
1.) Place De La Comédie
The Place de la Comédie is a great spot to start your trip to Montpellier as it’s kind of the ‘heart’ of the city.
This is like the city’s main square and there are lots of bars and restaurants dotted all around here so if you’re not sure where to pop into for a drink to cool off (because Montpellier gets really hot in summer), this is a great place to pop into, granted with a tad higher prices than if you venture out a little further away.
Place de la Comédie is also home to Opera Comedie, an absolutely gorgeous theatre with stunning interiors.
Generally, places like this tend to be overlooked when visiting (it tends to be more of a thing you do when you live there than say when you’re in Montpellier for a say a weekend) but it’s absolutely one of the best places in Montpellier to visit if you want to explore the city like a local.
It is worth checking in advance of visiting Montpellier for shows at the Opera Comedie so you can plan appropriately and hang out with the locals in rather grand fashion.
2.) Musée Fabre
Musee Fabre is absolutely one of the highlights of the city and one of the best places in Montpellier even if you’re not an art buff.
It’s this grand museum which plays home to so much incredible art from ancient grand masters. We’re talking Botticelli, Monet, Raphael and so many more.
There’s also a really cool gallery inside dedicated to the work of Frédéric Bazille.
Musee Fabre is actually regarded as one of the best art galleries in all of France which is saying a lot.
We actually showed up here intent on a quick visit before going for lunch and found ourselves still here 2 hours after the original time we were supposed to leave so it’s definitely worth setting aside a fair bit of time to explore the place.
3.) Promenade Du Peyrou
Promenade du Peyrou is one of the best places in Montpellier to while away a sunny afternoon.
It’s a gorgeous kind of mini-park next to the Arc de Triomphe (which is also worth visiting for reasons we’ll list below – spoiler alert, you don’t have to just look at it from afar – you can actually climb up inside it).
In Promenade du Peyrou you’ll find an incredible statue dedicated to King Louis the 14th of France, the famous Sun King who called the beautiful palace of Versailles his home. where you’ll see the monumental equestrian statue devoted to Sun King.
And if you’re looking to leave Montepellier with something of an unusual treasure, on Sundays there is a flea market here from around 7:30 a.m. till 2 p.m. that’s absolutely worth visiting.
If you’re looking to just visit to relax, it’s worth noting that there’s an organic farmers’ market at the Boulevard des Arceaux at the Boulevard des Arceaux (which is right next to this) where you can pick up some fresh produce and have a bit of an impromptu picnic in the park.
The farmer’s market at Boulevard des Arceaux is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays and runs from 7 a.m. till around 1:30 p.m.
4.) Cathédrale Saint-Pierre
No visit to Montpellier is complete without a visit to the amazing Cathédrale St Pierre.
It’s without a doubt one of the most iconic buildings to visit in the city and is as impressive inside as it is from the outside.
The Cathédrale St Pierre is considered to be the most important Gothic building in Montpellier.
It took around 200 years to build and is totally free to visit (which means you have even less of an excuse not to 😉 )
5.) Château De Flaugergues
One of the places people tend to miss out on visiting in Montpellier is the amazing Château de Flaugergues and understandably so as most of the other places to visit in Montpellier are within easy walking distance from each other and this one is a little bit further out.
It is worth noting though that it’s only like an hour’s walk from the Place de la Comédie and just a 12-minute taxi ride so it’s really not that far.
Château de Flaugergues is definitely one of the best places in Montpellier to visit because it’s actually got a fair bit going on there so you can very easily while away a few hours here.
There’s a restaurant here, a great tour of the chateau itself, incredible gardens, wine shops and so much more.
Just be sure to book your ticket in advance to avoid any disappointment of not being able to get in on the day. You can do it on their official website and it’s easy enough to do so.
6.) Jardin Des Plantes
Jardin des Plantes, is quite literally the botanical gardens in the city and is another great place to visit when you want a bit of downtime exploring in Montpellier.
Back in the day, Montpellier was considered to be a medicinal city and as such a lot of interesting medicinal plants can be found here.
It’s kind of a cool way to dip into the history of the city via an unusual route. The Jardin des Plantes is also one of Europe’s first botanical gardens.
It was built in 1593 under the orders of King Henri the 4th and has since then become a model for many other botanical gardens dotted all around France.
7.) The Mikvé
The Mikve is one of the spots most people in Montpellier would never think of visiting and understandably so, as it’s kind of hidden underneath the city and you can only access it if you book a tour with official guides from the city.
For the uninitiated, a Mikve is a ceremonial Jewish bath which is done to purify those who bathe in it.
This Mikve in Montepellier dates back to the 13th century making it one of the oldest in Europe.
It’s also one of the best preserved and is definitely one of the best places in Montpellier to visit to get another perspective on the city’s history.
8.) Pic Saint-Loup
If you head up north in Montpellier, you’ll find the Pic Saint-Loup which is an incredible mountain and something of an iconic symbol of this part of the South of France.
I do have to say, it’s not necessarily the most sensible place to visit if you are only in Montepellier for a weekend as it does take a fair bit of effort to visit, however, if you find yourself with more time in the city then it’s one of the best places in Montpellier to visit for nature.
If you decide to visit, be sure to bring your hiking shoes with you as to get to the peak of this mountain, you can do a six-kilometre trail from Cazevieille, which is on the South side.
If you are planning on doing this hike from the North side, it is worth getting a guide to do this with as it is trickier from there.
It is worth noting that there are lots of really cool caves and vineyards all along this area so they make for fantastic distractions and indeed great (and rather tasty) reasons to do this hike.
9.) Arc De Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe, which you might remember I mentioned earlier on is another iconic part of Montpellier.
Similar in structure to Paris, it’s a grand monument that serves as is the royal entryway Promenade de Peyrou.
It was built in 1693 so there’s a fair bit of history here. The best part of the Arc de Triomphe is that you can actually go inside it and climb up to the very top.
The view from the top is, of course, one of the best in town and so it’s again easily one of the best places in Montpellier to visit for great views and a bit of the city’s history.
Speaking of history, if you are indeed something of a history buff, you’ll find a visit here rather fascinating and there are many reliefs and inscriptions on the arch worth noting.
Some of said notable sightings are the Canal des Deux Mers’s constriction and the Capture of Namur from the Nine Years’ War.
And in a random bit of trivia, this arch is also known as the Porte du Peyrou since it is actually like a door to Place Royale du Peyrou.
10.) Place De La Canourgue
Now while the Place de la Comédie might be the busiest square in the city, the Place de la Canourgue is actually the oldest square in the city and definitely worth popping into.
It is relatively quieter and has a cute little garden vibe, complete with a unicorn fountain and a view of the cathedral in the background.
There’s not a whole lot to do there, it’s more a place to relax in but it’s worth popping into on your jaunt through Montpellier
There’s enough to do in Montpellier if you are visiting for a relatively short period of time (e.g. just for a few days) but if you do fancy a jaunt outside the city, a really beautiful place worth visiting from Montpellier is Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.
Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert is one of the most gorgeous villages in France and feels like a village nestled in the side of a mountain, almost like it’s been carved from it.
Only like 243 people live here so it’s fairly quiet and I think it just adds to make for a more well-rounded visit to this part of France.
When you’re there be sure to check out the early-ninth century’s Benedictine abbey, which is now a UNESCO-listed Heritage Site.
In Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, you will also find an incredible 18th-century organ which was built before the French Revolution (designed by Jean-Pierre Cavaillé) and has been brilliantly preserved.
This organ is said to be one of the best works of Cavaillé, so it’s definitely worth making the time to see this piece.
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