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Montpellier, France Travel and Tourist Information

September 25th, 2008

montpellier-arch.jpgNot to be confused with Montpelier, the capital of Vermont, the original French city of Montpellier is located very close to the Mediterranean Sea and makes a nice place to visit for travelers or tourists. Interestingly, I found out earlier today that the city in Vermont was actually named after this Montpellier (with a slight variation in spelling) in honor of the French who provided assistance during the period of the American Revolution. This article by Patrick MacGougan provides some basic information about the main attractions in Montpellier that might be of interest to visitors. Meanwhile, for additional information you can also visit the official site of Montpellier here.

This city in the south of France is 10 kilometers inland from the Mediterranean Sea, situated on hilly ground. Whilst it is based near the coast, it does not have the style of a typical city in the area like Marseille and Nice, which are further east from Montpellier and have beaches in close proximity to their city centres. Beaches that are nearby to Montpellier are reachable by bus, however, not on foot.

First mentioned in 985, Montpellier became prominent during the 10th century as a trading centre. In the 19th century, the city developed into an industrial centre, and during the 1980s and 1990s a number of redevelopment projects took place, raising awareness about the area to potential habitants.

The city is served by train to its main station – St Roch. The closest airport is Montpellier-Mediterranée, which is situated in the town of Mauguio. Two tram lines cross the city, one holding blue trams, the other with red, yellow and green. These operate until midnight, making travelling through Montpellier easy at most times of the day.
Place de la Comédie provides a fairly central point in the city. First mentioned in 1755, the area is named after the opera house located there. The fountain of Three Graces sits in the centre of this beautiful focal point of the city. Close to Place de la Comédie is the Musée Fabre, an art museum which is classified as a Musée de France by the French Ministry of Culture.

Other historical buildings in Montpellier include Saint Clément Aqueduct, the Roman Catholic cathedral, which is a national monument of France and the Porte du Peyrou, an Arc de Triomphe modeled on Porte Saint-Denis of Paris and completed in 1692. Exploring the streets is part of Montpellier’s charm as the winding, typically French style streets are scattered in parts with historical architecture in the form of interesting buildings and monuments.

Montpellier is an attractive and relaxed city with a number of interesting landmarks. There is a nice contrast between the old historical areas and the modern sections. Whilst it lacks the energy of Paris or Marseille, it is a nice, calm place to visit. Most of the city is easy to reach by walking, although the tram can also prove useful. It may be a little different from the Mediterranean beach cities along the south of France, but for a tourist, Montpellier can provide a fulfilling visit.

One Response to “Montpellier, France Travel and Tourist Information”

  1. comment number 1 by: Mr French

    Awesome place to live… I enjoyed my time there

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