Montpellier really is special. Broad boulevards lined with shady plane trees, a huge car-free central square laid out in the 1700s surrounded by elegant balustraded buildings, is a short description of Montpellier. Montpellier is a city in the south of France. It is the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, as well as the Hérault department. The population of the commune of Montpellier at the 2006 census was 251,392, whereas the whole metropolitan area had a population of 600,000 in 2006. In 2008, the estimated population of the metropolitan area was 533,000.
Climate and Geography
Suitable Visiting Seasons ( months) : May-June and Sept-Oct
√ Bikes : - Bikes can be hired to travel around the city and visit different places.
√ Bus : - Montpellier has a comprehensive public bus system.
√ Cars : - Cars can also be availed to travel around the city and there are a lot of parking lots as well for the convenience.
√ Tram : - The trams tend to be very pleasant way of travelling across the city; they are clean, comfortable, and offer a better view of the city as a whole.
Getting Around :
→ Air : - Montpellier's airport is only 8km southeast of the town. Air France flies at least four times daily to Paris (Orly and Roissy). Ryanair operates daily to and from London (Stanstead).
→ Train : - Major destinations from Montpellier's train station are Paris' Gare de Lyon by TGV, Carcassonne, Millau and Perpignan. More than 20 trains daily go to Nîmes and Narbonne.
→ Bus : - The bus station is an easy walk from the train station. Hérault Transport runs hourly buses to La Grande Motte. Eurolines has buses to Barcelona and most European desinations. Linebus has services mainly to Spain.
Shopping and Entertainment
Shopping in Montpellier is divided into three main areas :
◊ The boutiques dotted throughout the back streets of the city.
◊ The Polygone shopping centre just off the Place de la Comedie.
◊ The hypermarkets of all shapes and sizes on the outskirts.
Culture lovers will enjoy the city's wealth of art, in particular the fine collection of European paintings on show in the Musee Fabre, the forever changing and totally captivating exhibitions held in the Galerie Photo de l'Esplanade, or Carre Saint-Anne's. Those interested in local history should make a beeline for the Musee Languedocien, which has magnificent antique and medieval collections as well as the Vieux Montpellier museum for its antique objects and furniture.
Film buffs will find that Montpellier is well catered for cinema lovers with two huge multiplexes: the Mega CGR and the Gaumont Multiplexe, both of which are situated on the outskirts of the city.
As far as theater is concerned, there are many different kinds to suit all ages. Small children will adore the shows put on in the Petit Theâtre de la mer, a small theatre situated in the seaside town of Palavas, just 8km from Montpellier. Adults will enjoy the performances in La Paillade's Theâtre Jean-Vilar on the outskirts of Montpellier, the season at the Theâtre Molieres in nearby Sète, the programme in Clermont-l'Herault's Theâtre Municipal or the Theâtre Lakanal des Beaux-arts' offerings.
In Fitzpatrick's — a typically Irish pub—you can enjoy a pint of draft beer in pleasant surroundings. The theme evenings organized in the Fil and the Inedit are fun too. If you prefer sitting out on the terrace, head for Roule Ma Poule or the La Place bar, both of which overlook two of the prettiest squares of the city. Once the evening's in full swing, a young, student crowd meets up in the Macadam Pub or the Odyssee, while those who are mature tend to favor the cozier, more intimate surroundings of the Circus or the Comptoir.
A number of nightclubs, most of them situated along the coastline near beach resorts, let clubbers in for free: there's Matchico (varied clientele and music), Pulp (great interior design), Villa Rouge (techno music, gay and hetero clientele), and Souleil Galerie (the bronzed hordes' favorite!) for those die-hard clubbers among you!