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A Weekend Getaway in Montpellier

4th November 2018

Montpellier, the capital of Languedoc in the south of France, has become a popular holiday destination due to its warm climate, rich blend of dramatic architecture, cuisine and art galleries. Above all it’s a city of creative contrasts which blend together to create a rich sense of perfection.

When we visited in mid-November the city was basking in 25c of glorious sunshine making it the perfect location for a weekend city break. The medieval city’s car-free narrow streets snake between grand townhouses, elegant boutiques, booming techno bars, ethnic jewellers and unexpected little squares with chic brasseries and bars frequented by the city’s large student population.

World class architects have been employed at great expense to expand the city to the south including creating one of the most grandiose social housing developments to be found anywhere in Europe. Read on to discover our favourite places including where to stay, what to eat and where to visit on your weekend break in this beautiful French city...

A weekend in Montpellier

The beautiful Victoire de Samothrace statue in front of L'Hôtel de Région.

Hotel Baudon De Mauny

The wonderful 18th century architecture at the Hotel Baudon De Mauny

Guide to Montpellier

The modern district of Antigone designed by the Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill, between 1979 and 2000 is well worth a visit to see its dramatic neo-classical buildings, fountains and squares. The redevelopment has now been extended westwards with a new ultra-modern Hotel de Ville (town hall), a sort of hollow cube with its own hydro-electricity power system. 

Philippe Starck has also been persuaded to join the architectural team in Montpellier and has created his own version of a ‘cloud’, a transparent series of elegantly shaped bubbles made of plastic material called Le Nuage. Containing services dedicated to fitness, health, conviviality and well-being, it is well worth the trip to marvel at this unusual inflatable building.

Travelling back to the old city gives you the chance to ride on the City’s trams with an elaborate bodywork design created by Christian Lacroix as a moving tableaux – which have been called “the sexiest in the world”.

Montpellier

If you want to capture Montpellier’s exotic blend of new and old design at close quarters we recommend staying at the Baudon-de-Mauny in the center of the old town, which has the discreet charm of the Montpellier haute bourgeoisie. Its eight rooms date to the 18th century, with 21st-century chic grafted on. Many of the wallpapers and fabrics that adorn the rooms are available from our online shop. As the hotel doesn't offer meals, apart from a light breakfast, they are happy to use their local knowledge to recommend the best restaurants to suit your budget.

A short walk from the Baudon-de Mauny is the Place de la Comédie, the civic centre of the city, with its shiny surface of limestone slabs polished by thousands of pedestrians crossing the oddly shaped square. Bars on the north side provide a wonderful place to ‘people watch’ while enjoying the sunshine and a chilled glass of the region’s delicious Languedoc white wine.

Charles De Gaulle Montpellier


Don’t stay enjoying the wine and view for too long otherwise you will miss the chance to visit the Musée de Fabre, located alongside the nearby Esplanade de Charles de Gaulle, an elegant city park a popular choice for a restful promenade. Founded in 1825 by the painter François-Xavier Fabre, this landmark museum houses one of France’s richest collections of European art. Most of the big names are represented, and a recent renovation has transformed the museum into a light, airy and engaging space.

Montpellier's religious architecture is best represented by the Saint-Pierre Cathedral which is tucked away at the bottom of a steep hill. The two 100ft towers at the entrance, bound to the main body of the building are striking. Time your visit for the late afternoon and walk through the School of Medicine which will be open next door - though is not for the faint hearted!

Please note: Many of the city’s shops and galleries are closed on a Sunday and Monday so plan your visit to Montpellier accordingly.

Planning Your Trip

Where to stay: Baudon-de-Mauny, Rue de la Carbonnerie; 0033 467 022177

Where to eat: Restaurant Le Petit Jardin, 20 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau; 33 4 67 60 78 78

Tourist office: Head to the Place de la Comédie for local events that might be happening during your visit.

Saint Pierre catherdral Montpellier

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Image credits: Header by Radim Badsi via Flickr, Victoire de Samothrace statue by Arnaudinvictus via Wikimedia Commons, Fountains at Charles De Gaulle Esplanade by Dennis Jarvisi, Montpellier Cathedral by Wolfgang Staudt

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