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Heading to Provence and searching for the best things to do in Montpellier? Montpellier is one of those cities that blew me away when I first visited. I was not expecting such a Mediterranean vibe. I was met with palm trees in the streets, beaches, and a laid-back vibe that reminded me of places like Portugal. Not to mention the charming labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys that are lined with centuries-old buildings and stunning architecture.
There are so many things to do and see in Montpellier, making it a great destination to add to your France bucket list. It’s definitely up there on mine.
If you like exploring historical sites, tasting delicious French cuisine, or simply soaking up the sun on a beach, then Montpellier is for you. From the iconic Place de la Comédie to the picturesque Promenade de Peyrou, Montpellier definitely has something for you.
In this article, I will share the 27+ best things to do in Montpellier France whether you’re travelling on a family vacation, lovebird trip, or going solo; this essential guide will cover everything. You’ll also find a map with all the places combined.
Is one day enough time in Montpellier?
If you don’t want to do all the attractions and only have specific things in mind to do then you could manage. However, I definitely felt one day was not enough. I found myself rushing to do everything in the city. The museum was a quick stroll through each room without time to read or digest everything. I didn’t have time to visit all the sites and museums in the city, let alone the beaches, which I was really looking forward to. There was also not enough time to hit the flea markets let alone discover the different natural sites on the outskirts of Montpellier.
So How Many Days to Spend in Montpellier?
I believe 3-4 days is the right amount of time to spend in Montpellier at a relaxed pace. You can spend two days exploring Montpellier’s city centre museums and historic sites. And the last day or two rewarding yourself by hitting the beach or exploring nature at many of the great hiking spots.
Is Montpellier Worth Visiting?
In short, yes. Montpellier is one of those cities in France that has it all. For all historic enthusiasts Montpellier has awesome sites to explore like the Saint- Pierre Cathedral, hotels particuliers, and Place de Peyrou.
If you’re an art enthusiast, you will love all the Muse Fabre and all the museums and art galleries Montpellier has to offer.
If you just want to relax and forget the world then you will appreciate Montpellier’s beaches like Pic Saint-Loup where you can swim and sunbathe.
If you’re into the outdoors, you will enjoy the Maison de la Nature and exploring the different hiking areas in the nearby mountains.
Montpellier also has great food and lots of excellent restaurants and cafes.
Where to Stay in Montpellier?
For the complete guide on where to stay in Montpellier for all budgets:
Search for Accommodation in Montpellier, FranceBooking.com
Best Things to Do in Montpellier France
#1 Stroll Around the Place de la Comédie
Place de la Comédie is the main square of Montpellier and it’s a great start to your trip to truly immerse yourself into the city. Grab a drink at the many cafes and restaurants available and admire the Three Graces fountain at the square all whilst watching the world go by- preferably without being a total rando.
#2 Channel Your Inner Artist at the Musée Fabre:
Built in the 19th century, Musée Fabre is Montpellier’s most popular museum. This museum was a must for me and I truly enjoyed how it covered everything from ancient art to more contemporary works. You can find works by famous artists like Courbet, Rubens and Delacroix. Just a few minutes’ walk from Place de la Comedie, heading to the Musée Fabre was a treat in itself. I loved the long walkway and outside architecture leading to the museum entrance.
If you can only visit one museum or art gallery, this is the one without a doubt. It’s definitely up there in the list of best Montpellier things to do.
#3 Admire the Architecture of Saint-Pierre Cathedral
I was immediately struck by its interesting exterior. Saint-Pierre Cathedral is a church dating back to the 14th century. Admire the gothic style, stunning stained-glass windows and magnificent organ. You can take a guided tour of the cathedral to learn more about its history and architecture.
#4 Take in the Scenic Views at the Promenade du Peyrou
If you didn’t visit the Promenade de Peyrou then did you really visit Montpellier? This beautiful park called the Promenade du Peyrou is a must and offers stunning views of Montpellier. It is home to a large statue of Louis XIV, as well as a beautiful aqueduct and several fountains.
Bargain lovers don’t miss the Sunday Peyrou flea market where you can find cool items. The gorgeous scenery alone will force you of bed on Sunday morning.
For the guide on flea markets in Montpellier read: The Best Vintage Shops and Flea Markets in Montpellier (South of France) for Clothes and Antiques
#5 Admire the Aquädukt Saint Clément and it’s Panorama
At the Promenade de Peyrou make sure to admire The Aquädukt Saint Clément, which dates back to the 18th century. It was built to bring water to Montpellier from the nearby Saint Clément spring. Once you stand to admire it look around you and take in that stunning panorama.
#6 Find Refuge at the Jardin des Plantes
The Jardin des Plantes is a botanical garden that’s a great place to escape the city, get your head right and just immerse yourself timelessly into nature. Right at the heart of Montpellier, it’s a great peaceful garden where you can admire the wide variety of plants and flowers from all over the world. Grab a book and just be.
#7 Take a Hike
If you’re a nature lover or just tired of being a tourist in the city, Montpellier has some breathtaking views. Don’t miss the once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the desert, Mourèze and its cirque with other-worldly rock formations. This is the fresh air NATURE fix your body needs.
#8 Explore Hidden Gems and SECRET Places locals don’t want you to know about
A ‘magical’ well hidden behind the till of a shoe store, a mystery canonball stuck in a busy street facade, a 400 year old wishing tree where people have been slipping their wishes in for years. Don’t miss these Montpellier secret spots:
#9 Be wow’ed by the Surprising L’Atelier musée Fernand MICHEL Arts brut et singulier
If you have a fun spirit and want to see cool and quirky art not many tourists have the chance to see, then head to L’Atelier musée Fernand MICHEL Arts brut et singulier.
This small museum is a unique one in Montpellier that is dedicated to ‘art brut’. The museum’s collection includes works by artists who are self-taught or who have little formal training, but don’t let that deter you. You will be met with an explosion of colour and though provoking pieces covering everything from sculpture to painting. What a joyful delight! Oh and don’t miss the charming garden while you’re there.
#10 Scavege Away at Montpellier’s Best Thrift Stores
Montpellier is great for unlocking great vintage pieces. I always say instead of going for the unoriginal souvenirs, why not bring why not bring back unique items you can proudly wear and treasure for years! For a complete list of the best vintage stores in Montpellier see the full guide:
#11 Visit the Château de Flaguergues
If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting a castle then Château de Flaguergues is a great, iconic 18th-century castle that is located just outside of Montpellier. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and vineyards. You can take a guided tour of the castle and learn more about its history and architecture. If you’re into wine tasting, then go for it, if not I wouldn’t bother and recommend exploring other areas and sites in Montpellier.
#12 Grab Lunch in the City Center
Montpellier has many incredible food options. If you are vegan, vegetarian or a curious adventurer check out these awesome vegan spots:
#13 Admire Cool Photography at the Pavillon Populaire
If you’re looking for free things to do in Montpellier, the Pavillon Populaire is a free exposition featuring photographs. Be sure to check out the awesome photographs by national and international artists.
#14 Get Lost in the Historic City Center
Take a walk through the labyrinth of narrow walkways and streets lined with magnificent hotel particuliers (17th-century private residences) and incredible architecture.
Did you know Montpellier’s historic center is known as “l’Écusson,” because it is distinguished by having a shape that is a reminder of an old-style French shape or ecu, similar to a pentagon.
#15 Visit the Musée Atger Dedicated to the Art of Drawing
This low-key museum that most tourists overlook has a collection of 8,000 drawings, sketches, and watercolours from artists adhering to the French, Italian, Dutch, German, and Belgian schools. If this stuff is your mojo then you would love to know that it features famous artists such as Rubens, Fragonard, Natoire and Giambattista Tiepolo.
#16 Wander Around Place de la Canourgue
According to some, the most romantic and historic square in Montpellier is the Place de la Canourgue. The Fountain of the Unicorns (I am not making this up)- in French Fontaine des Licornes runs the length of the garden. From here you can admire the architecture of the hotel particuliers and Saint-Pierre Cathedral with an unparalleled view.
There are also cafes and restaurants around for you to take a break and savor a drink.
#17 Discover the Treasures of the Archaeological Musee Henri Prades
If you grew up with a love of treasure hunting, excavations and get low-key excited by archaeology then head to the Musee Henri Prades. Located outside of Montpellier, the Musee Henri Prades is a small but impressive museum that showcases objects discovered during the excavations on the archeological site of Lattara. My precious.
#18 Explore Montpellier’s Street Art
Montpellier is filled with amazing street art especially in the historic city. Walk around and hunt down all of them. There is always something new.
Turn it into a game with your kids.
#19 Soak up the Sun at the Beaches of Montpellier
When the weather is warm enough, don’t miss a trip to the beach. I mean who doesn’t love a day at the beach? Unless you’re Casper the friendly ghost. Montpellier is located near the Mediterranean Sea, and there are great beaches to hit. You can join most of these by public transport from the city.
For the best beaches near Montpellier check out: A Beach for Every Mood: The 5 Best Beaches near Montpellier (South of France)
#20 Journey into the Sahara Momentarily at the Musee Saharien
This museum located just outside of Montpellier is dedicated to you guessed it- the culture and history of the Sahara region. The owner of the museum Bernard Adell has collected many objects from the Sahara like uniforms, Berber jewellery, bags, flags, you name it, which you can find displayed here. Learn more about various tribes and cultures along with the history and traditions of each region.
#21 Thrift at the Lez Flea Market
Open every second Saturday of the month, Les Puces du Marché du Lez is an iconic flea market outside of Montpellier. Head here to find amazing vintage and antique finds, art, and local produce. Stuff your face at the food trucks, treat yourself to flowers from the florist and if you’re feeling cheeky get a haircut at the local hairdresser.
#22 Immerse Yourself in Nature at the Maison de la Nature
Escape the bustling city Montpellier at the Maison de la Nature: a park with boardwalks, streams, bird observation spots, and walking and cycling pathways. In this conserved plant and animal center, you can rent a bicycle for cheap and cycle down the area.
It’s great if you don’t have transportation and want to visit more than just the usual tourist sites in Montpellier. It’s also awesome for kids and families and makes a great way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.
#23 Swoon at the Costumes at the Hotel Sabatier D’espeyran
Turn back time and immerse yourself in the life of the aristocratic and bourgeois societies of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Your ticket for the Musee Fabre provides you with free access to this museum. Basically their Department of Arts and Decoration is housed here at the Hotel Cabrières- Sabatier d’Espeyran.
When I visited I was able to see gorgeous costumes from theatre pieces along with preserved apartments with their furniture. So stunning.
#24 Head to Les Halles Castellane for Local Produce
Les Halles Castellane is one of Montpellier’s food markets where you can find local products. Prices are higher than average, but the quality is up to standard. If you just want to experience the hustle and bustle of a classic French market then definitely do check it out for a fun experience.
#25 Explore the Antigone District
Take a stroll through the Antigone neighborhood in Montpellier and admire the impressive modern 80’s architecture. Make sure you have your camera out to snap memorable photos of the impressive neo-classical architecture.
Once you’re done quench your thirst with a drink or bite to eat at the many cafes and restaurants.
#26 Become a Child Again at Pomme de Reinette et Pomme d’Api
Go back to childhood by visiting one of the oldest toy stores still open in France today. This unique toy’s store is an icon in Montpellier. Located in the city center, you simply can’t pass by without swooning. Upon entering you are surrounded with so many cool and unique music boxes, puppets, dolls and magic boxes you and your childhood self couldn’t resist. It’s hard to resist and leave empty handed. I double dare you.
#27 Head to Le Polygone Shopping Center
Still not satisfied with the stores in the city center and want a closed style mall? Head to Le Polygone Shopping. You will find all the generic brands of shops here along with a couple restaurants.
Frequently Asked Questions about Montpellier
What is the best time to visit Montpellier?
Keeping the weather and peak season in mind, the best time to visit Montpellier is during April, May, June, September, and October when the weather is enjoyable, and there are fewer crowds. Avoid the months of July and August which is when it’s basically peak tourist season. However, if you love the beach, these months are perfect for you as the beaches are at their best during this time.
What are some day trips from Montpellier?
Montpellier is geographically situated in the heart of the Languedoc region. There are many options for day trips from Montpellier like visiting the medieval village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert or hiking in the Pic Saint-Loup mountains.
Is Montpellier Worth Visiting?
In short, yes. Montpellier is one of those cities in France that has it all. For all historic enthusiasts Montpellier has awesome sites to explore like the Cathedral, hotels particuliers, and Place de Peyrou. If you’re an art lover you will love all the Muse Fabre and all the museums and art galleries Montpellier has to offer. If you just want to relax and forget the world you will love Montpellier’s beaches like Pic Saint-Loup where you can swim and sunbathe. If you’re into the outdoors, you will enjoy the Maison de la Nature and exploring the different hikes in the nearby mountains. Montpellier also has great food and lots of excellent restaurants and cafes.
What is the best way to get around Montpellier?
The best way to get around Montpellier is by foot, bike, or through public transportation. It’s a relatively small city and most of the attractions are located in the historic center, which is closed off to vehicles. The city’s tram is also efficient and affordable.
What is Montpellier France famous for?
Montpellier is famous for its historic old town and landmarks such as the Place de la Comédie, the Opera House, and the Saint-Pierre Cathedral. It’s also known for its thriving art scene with numerous museums, art galleries and expositions. Montpellier is recognized for its great food and gastronomy with many excellent restaurants and cafes that serve up traditional French cuisine as well as more international cuisines. It has a rich student body and is known for the University of Montpellier, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe. It also hosts emblematic festivals and cultural events that take place throughout the year such as the Montpellier Dance Festival, the Printemps des Comédiens theater festival, and the FISE World Action Sports Festival.
Is Montpellier a Walkable City?
Yes, the city is small and flat which makes it great for walking around on foot. Plus, most of the attractions are located within walking distance of each other. The historic city center is also entirely pedestrian with no vehicles allowed to circulate.
Map of Best Things to Do in Montpellier
More Montpellier resources:
What was your favorite thing about Montpellier? If you haven’t visited yet, what are you looking forward to the most? Let me know in the comments.
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