If you are struggling to think of a holiday destination this summer then why not consider Montpelier? The city in the south of France is known for its medieval heart and honey-coloured architecture. It is an ideal place to visit if you are in search of a warmer climate, some heritage and aren’t looking to travel too far from home.
One of the first things that will strike you about Montpellier is its attractiveness. The old town is filled with beautiful passageways that no cars can travel along and are lined with boutiques that have very inviting window displays. The buildings themselves are a result of architects in the 17th and 18th centuries that rebuilt large chunks of the town after it was damaged during religious wars. This medieval street plan has remained all but untouched and tends to open up into pretty courtyards where there is generally a place of interest such as an old church. The town even has its own (granted smaller) Arc de Triomphe!
Whilst Montpellier may not have the status of other French towns that are near the coast, such as Nice or Cannes, this adds to its charm and ensures you aren’t caught up in the tourist trade. As well as the coast there are a host of other attractions that make Montpellier as attractive to holiday goers and here are a few of our favourites:
Montpellier Parc Zoologique
A short trip north of the city centre will land you at one of France’s best zoos, it is in fact the second largest in France and has a huge number of creatures great and small from African Lions to Asian snakes and Australian emus. Admission to the zoo is actually free but if you want to take a step inside the Serre Amazonienne, which repliactes the humid environment of the Amazon rainforest, complete with some of its most interesting inhabitants, think piranhas and reptiles, then there is an admission charge.
You can’t visit a town without taking in a bit of its history and where better to do so than in one of France’s landmark museums that is home to one of the country’s richest collections of European art. The galleries are split into three sections so if you know your particular art tastes then you can always skip the Old Masters for the Modern Movements and vice versa. The third section is made up of Decorative Arts and will draw you in with its mix of expensive jewelry and furniture.
In terms of food and wine, Montpellier is a town that will leave you spoilt for choice. However a favourite place of ours is Chez Boris. It is an establishment that will suit all moods, whether you want a full on sit-down dinner or just want to wind the evening away with a glass of wine. There is a classic atmosphere that is complimented by rough wood detailing and upturned wine barrels, creating a comfortable and stylish feel.