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Coordinates: 43°36′43″N 3°52′38″E / 43.61194°N 3.87722°E / 43.61194; 3.87722

Commune of Montpellier

Montpellier fg02.jpg
Place de la Comédie
Montpellier is located in France
Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Department Hérault
Arrondissement Montpellier
Canton chief town of 10 cantons
Intercommunality Montpellier
Mayor Hélène Mandroux-Colas
Elevation 7–57 m (23–190 ft)
(avg. 27 m/89 ft)
Land area1 56.88 km2 (21.96 sq mi)
Population2 251,634  (2006)
 - Ranking 8th in France
 - Density 4,424 /km2 (11,460 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 34172/ 34000, 34070, 34080, 34090
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Montpellier (Occitan: Montpelhièr) is a city in southern 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. The whole metropolitan area had a population of 600,000 in 2006. In 2005, it was estimated that the population of the city of Montpellier had reached 248,000[1]. In 2008, the estimated population of the metropolitan area was 533,000.


Montpellier seen from Spot satellite

The city is situated on hilly ground 10 kilometres (6 mi) inland from the Mediterranean coast on the River Lez. The name of the city, which was originally Monspessulanus, is said to have stood for mont pelé (the naked hill, because the vegetation was poor), or le mont de la colline (the mount of the hill)

Montpellier is located 52 kilometres (32 mi) from Nîmes, 168 kilometres (104 mi) from Marseille, 248 kilometres (154 mi) from Toulouse. It is at a distance of 750 kilometres (466 mi) from the capital of France, Paris.

Montpellier's highest point is the Place du Peyrou, at an altitude of 57 m. The city is built on two hills, Montpellier and Montpelliéret, thus some of its streets have great differences of altitude. Some of its streets are also very narrow and old, which gives it a more intimate feel.


Since 2001, Montpellier has been divided into seven official neighbourhoods, themselves divided into sub-neighbourhoods. Each of them possesses a neighbourhood council.

  • Montpellier-centre : historical centre (Écusson), Comédie, Gares, Faubourg Boutonnet, Saint-Charles, Faubourg Saint-Jaume, Peyrou, Les Arceaux, Figuerolles, Faubourg du Courreau, Gambetta, Clémenceau, Méditerranée, boulevard de Strasbourg, Le Triangle, Polygone, Antigone, Nouveau-Monde, Parc à Ballons, Les Aubes, Les Beaux-Arts, Saint-Lazare.
  • Croix-d'Argent : avenue de Toulouse, Croix d'Argent, Mas Drevon, Tastavin, Lemasson, Garosud, Mas de Bagnères, Mas Nouguier, les Sabines, Lepic, Pas du Loup, Estanove, Val-de-Crozes, Bagatelle.
  • Les Cévennes : Les Cévennes, Alco, Le Petit Bard, Pergola, Saint-Clément, Clémentville, Las Rebès, La Chamberte, La Martelle, Montpellier-Village, Les Grisettes, Les Grèzes.
  • Mosson : La Mosson, Celleneuve, La Paillade, les Hauts-de-Massane, Le Grand-Mail, Les Tritons.
  • Hôpitaux-Facultés : Malbosc, Saint-Priest, Euromédecine, Zolad, Plan des 4 Seigneurs, Hôpitaux, IUT, Père Soulas, Universités, Vert-Bois, Hauts de Boutonnet, Aiguelongue, Justice, Parc zoologique de Lunaret, Agropolis.
  • Port-Marianne : La Pompignane, Richter, Millénaire, Jacques Cœur, Consuls de Mer, Grammont, Odysseum, Montaubérou, La Méjanelle, La Mogère.
  • Prés d'Arènes : Les Prés d'Arènes, Avenue de Palavas, La Rauze, Tournezy, Saint-Martin, Les Aiguerelles, Pont-Trinquat, Cité Mion.


Montpellier is one of the few large cities in France without a (Gallo-)Roman background.


Medieval period

In the Early Middle Ages, the nearby episcopal town of Maguelone was the major settlement in the area, but raids by pirates encouraged settlement a little further inland. Montpellier, first mentioned in a document of 985, was founded under a local feudal dynasty, the Guillem counts of Toulouse, who joined together two hamlets and built a castle and walls around the united settlement. The two surviving towers of the city walls, the Tour des Pins and the Tour de la Babotte are later in date, however. Montpellier came to prominence in the 10th century as a trading centre, with trading links across the Mediterranean world and a rich Jewish cultural life and traditions of tolerance of its Muslims, Jews and Cathars—and later of its Protestants. William VII of Montpellier established a faculty of medicine in 1180, recognised by Pope Nicholas IV; the city's university was established in 1220 and was one of the chief centers for the teaching of medicine. This marked the high point of Montpellier's prominence. The city became a possession of the kings of Aragon in 1213 by the marriage of Peter II of Aragon with Marie of Montpellier, who brought the city as her dowry. Montpellier gained a charter in 1204 when Peter and Marie confirmed the city's traditional freedoms and granted the city the right to choose twelve governing consuls annually. Montpellier remained a possession of the crown of Aragon until it passed to James III of Majorca, who sold the city to the French king Philip VI in 1349, to raise funds for his ongoing struggle with Peter IV of Aragon. In the 14th century, Montpellier gained a church (not yet a cathedral) dedicated to Saint Peter, noteworthy for its very unusual porch supported by two high, somewhat rocket-like towers. With its importance steadily increasing, the city finally gained a bishop, who moved from Maguelone in 1536 and sat in the neighbouring community of Montpelliéret (eventually absorbed into Montpellier proper). In 1432, Jacques Cœur established himself in the city and it became an important economic centre, until 1481 when Marseille took over this role.

After the Reformation

At the time of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, many of the inhabitants of Montpellier became Protestants (or Huguenots as they were known in France) and the city became a stronghold of Protestant resistance to the Catholic French crown. In 1622, King Louis XIII besieged the city and took it after eight months, building the Citadel of Montpellier to secure it. Louis XIV made Montpellier capital of Bas Languedoc, and the town started to embellish itself, by building the Promenade du Peyrou, the Esplanade and a large number of houses in the historic centre. After the French Revolution, the city became the capital of the much smaller Hérault.

Rue Foch with its typical 19th century architecture.

Modern history

During the 19th century the city developed into an industrial centre. In the 1960s, its population grew dramatically after French settlers in Algeria were resettled in the city following Algeria's independence from France. In the 1980s and 1990s, the city drew attention with a number of major redevelopment projects, such as the Corum and especially the Antigone District.

Lords of Montpellier

Tour de la Babote.
Saint Clément Aqueduct.

Main sights


The University of Montpellier is one of the oldest in the World, 1160, having been granted a charter in 1220 by Cardinal Conrad von Urach and confirmed by Pope Nicholas IV in a papal bull of 1289. It was suppressed during the French Revolution but was re-established in 1896.

It is not known exactly at what date the schools of literature were founded which developed into the Montpellier faculty of arts; it may be that they were a direct continuation of the Gallo-Roman schools. The school of law was founded by Placentinus, a doctor from Bologna university, who came to Montpellier in 1160, taught there during two different periods, and died there in 1192. The school of medicine was founded perhaps by a graduate of the Spanish medical schools; it is certain that, as early as 1137, there were excellent physicians at Montpellier. The statutes given in 1220 by Cardinal Conrad, legate of Honorius III, which were completed in 1240 by Pierre de Conques, placed this school under the direction of the Bishop of Maguelonne. Pope Nicholas IV issued a Bull in 1289, combining all the schools into a university, which was placed under the direction of the bishop, but which in fact enjoyed a large measure of autonomy.

Theology was at first taught in the convents, in which St. Anthony of Padua, Raymond Lullus, and the Dominican Bernard de la Treille lectured. Two letters of King John prove that a faculty of theology existed at Montpellier independently of the convents, in January, 1350. By a Bull of 17 December 1421, Martin V granted canonical institution to this faculty and united it closely with the faculty of law. In the sixteenth century the faculty of theology disappeared for a time, when Calvinism, in the reign of Henry II of France, held complete possession of the city. It resumed its functions after Louis XIII had reestablished the royal power at Montpellier in 1622; but the rivalries of Dominicans and Jesuits interfered seriously with the prosperity of the faculty, which disappeared at the Revolution. The faculty numbered among its illustrious pupils of law Petrarch, who spent four years at Montpellier, and among its lecturers Guillaume de Nogaret, chancellor to Philip the Fair, Guillaume de Grimoard, afterwards pope under the name of Urban V, and Pedro de Luna, antipope as Benedict XIII. But after the 15th century this faculty fell into decay, as did also the faculty of arts, although for a time, under Henry IV of France, the latter faculty had among its lecturers Casaubon.

The Montpellier school of medicine owed its success to the ruling of the Guilhems, lords of the town, by which any licensed physician might lecture there; there was no fixed limit to the number of teachers, lectures were multiplied, and there was a great wealth of teaching. Rabelais took his medical degrees at Montpellier. It was in this school that the biological theory of vitalism, elaborated by Barthez (1734–1806), had its origin. The French Revolution did not interrupt the existence of the faculty of medicine.

The faculties of science and of letters were re-established in 1810; that of law in 1880. It was on the occasion of the sixth centenary of the university, celebrated in 1889, that the Government of France announced its intention – which has since been realized – of reorganizing the provincial universities in France.


Line 1 of the tramway network, at the Corum stop.
Map of the tramway system.

Montpellier is served by railway, including TGV trains. Montpellier's main railway station is St Roch.

The Montpellier-Méditerranée Airport is located in the area of Fréjorgues, in the town of Mauguio, southeast of Montpellier.

The Transports de l'agglomération de Montpellier (TaM) manages the city's public transportation, including its tramway network consisting of two lines and several parking facilities. Line 1 runs from Mosson in the west to Odysseum in the east. Line 2 runs from Jacou in the northeast to St. Jean-de-Vedas in the southwest. They intersect at Gare St. Roch station, Place de l'Europe and again in front of the Corum. Work on Line 3, which is planned to be in service by 2012, has started. This 22.4 km (13.9 mi) line will link Juvenac and Perols with a branch to Lattes and will serve 32 stations. A fourth line is planned.

The TaM also manages the large bike sharing scheme Vélomagg', started in June 2007, comprising 1200 bicycles and 50 stations[2][3].


Montpellier was the finish of Stage 11 and the departure of Stage 12 in the 2007 Tour de France. The city is home to a variety of professional sports teams:


The Festival de Radio France et Montpellier is a summer festival of opera and music held in Montpellier. The music festival concentrates on classical music and jazz with about 150 events, including opera, concerts, films, and talks. Most of these events are free and are held in the historic courtyards of the city or the modern concert halls of Le Corum. Le Corum cultural and conference centre contains 3 auditoriums.

Twin cities

Montpellier is twinned with:

Famous inhabitants of Montpellier

Montpellier was the birthplace of:

Other famous inhabitants include:

Other locations named after Montpellier

"Montpellier" is used as the name of other towns and streets in as many as four continents.[6] Many places in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland carry the name Montpellier. Often they are in resort locations claiming some of the healthy attributes for which the French city was renowned in earlier centuries. The variant spelling "Montpelier" is common, and is of quite early provenance. Brewer uses that spelling.

Secondary Montpelliers/Montpeliers are also found in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the Caribbean.

The capital of the American state of Vermont was named Montpelier because of the high regard held by the Americans for the French who aided their Revolutionary War against the British. Several other American cities are also named Montpelier.

See also


  1. ^ "Estimations de population et chiffres-clés" (in French). Résultats des enquêtes annuelles de recensement de 2004 à 2007 pour les grandes villes. Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. January 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-25.  
  2. ^ Midi Libre (a major daily newspaper in the South of France): "In 2008, 76,000 stations, used 800,000 times, have been registered in Montpellier. A success, and little vandalism compared to the Velib in Paris."
  3. ^ Tous à Vélo AFP 19/10/2007: "Paris, Orléans and Montpellier receive the 'Bicycle Trophy 2007' for their achievement in Bike Sharing programs".
  4. ^ Official website
  5. ^ "Barcelona internacional - Ciutats agermanades" (in Spanish). © 2006-2009 Ajuntament de Barcelona.,4022,229724149_257215678_1,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-13.  
  6. ^ "All the Montpelliers". 2005.  
  • Lewis, Archibald (1971). The Guillems of Montpellier: A Sociological Appraisal.  

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Montpellier [1] is the principal city in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southwest France.

Get in

By car

From the A9 motorway, take either of the 5 exits that serve Montpellier:

  • Vendargues
  • Montpellier Est
  • Montpellier Sud
  • Montpellier Ouest
  • Saint Jean de Vedas

The A75 is free of charge between Clermont-Ferrand and Montpellier.

Park at a tramway station (eg Occitanie, Jacou) and take a tram - parking in the town centre can be hard, so be sure to have your lisenes

By train

Montpellier's main train station is Montpellier St. Roch. It is serviced by a TGV connection from Paris, 3hr 15m, Lille, 4hr 50m and Lyon, 1hr 40m, Valence 1hr 45m, Nice 4 to 5 hrs. It is also serviced by the Talgo service to Barcelona. Most destinations in Southern France are also easily accessible by rail from Montpellier.

By plane

Montpellier Méditerranée Airport, formerly Fréjorgues Airport, is situated on the outskirts, a bus service called Navette operates to the centre of Montpellier - although the driver does not feel bound to the schedule (10 minutes off the time is usual; driving time around 20 minutes). Cost is 5 euro.

The airport is fairly well connected by way of Air France's central hub in Paris. Ryanair [2] flys from Brussels-Charleroi - (CRL), Frankfurt-Hahn (HHN), London-Stansted (STN), although on a reduced timetable over the winter months. There are also regular flights to Copenhagen with Sterling [3].

From May 1st 2008 EasyJet will run a service from London Gatwick. is also offering direct flights Amsterdam - Montpellier.

By boat

The nearest sea port, situated in Sète has ferry crossings to the Balearic Islands, Mahgreb and Corsica.

By coach

There is a coachstation situated in the city centre, less than 500m from the main train station.

Get around

Montpellier is a compact city and walking across the whole city center does not take long.

By bike

The tourist information office have a map Montpellier à vélo, which shows you where the best places to go by bike are, and also indicates places where it is dangerous to cycle. The city has an extensive network of cycle paths, often separated from traffic for added safety. There is also a bike path running all the way to the beaches at Palavas-les-Flots and Carnon. The ride from the city to the beach takes about an hour.

Bikes may be rented at machines (Velo Magg) in various places in the city centre including Virgin, the tourist office on the place de la comedie and the main TAM velo office, located adjacent to the train station. The price is 2€ for one day. Just remember if cycling in the old centre that there are streets which are actually staircases and although they are a sight to behold (the rue du bras de fer), a glorified shopper bike will not tackle them as well as a fully suspended Cannondale (guess which one you can hire and which one you can't)!

Be adivsed that only a small subset of the Velo Magg kiosks operate on Sundays, in which case it may be better to visit one of the manned offices, either adjacent to the train station or near la opera.

By bus

Montpellier has a comprehensive public bus system. Many buses leave from stops in front of the train station. Buses use the same tickets as the tram; you can purchase tickets from the automatic machines located at each tram stop, or you may purchase tickets from the driver. If you purchase a ticket from a machine, be sure to validate it in the machine when boarding. One-way tickets cost 1.30 euro and can be reused for transfers up to one hour from the first validation. Round-trip (aller-retour) tickets are 2.40. Also, be warned that bus service is limited on weekends and the last buses run before nine o'clock all week.

The most notable bus lines for visitors are line 28, which runs from the Port Marianne tram station to the beach at Palavas les Flots, and L'Amigo late night bus, which runs from the main bus stop in front of the train station to the nightclubs on the outskirts of town. Please note that the 28 is often crowded, and that in addition, the last stop is actually a twenty-minute walk from the beach itself. Still, this is the best way to get to the beach if you do not have a car.

For more information, see the website for Montpellier Transport [4].

By car

There are several parking lots in the city centre. However, it is inadvisable to travel in the city centre by car, it gets busy, you will get stuck in traffic and it's not very well signposted. The city centre is also a traffic-free zone! Your best bet is to park by a tram station at the end of a line such as Odysseum on line 1 or Sabines on line 2, but if you do insist on driving on regardless, may I suggest parking in the Polygone shopping centre to save you a lot of your precious spending money!

One of the Montpellier trams
One of the Montpellier trams

The Montpellier tram service features two lines that form an 'X' across the center of town. A third is currently being planned.

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 than traveling on buses. Trams arrive every three to five minutes at peak hours but less frequently at night, once every fifteen minutes. One major advantage of the tram is that it operates until midnight, making much more of the city easily accessible after dark. Ticket prices are the same as for the buses and the tickets are interchangeable.

Purchase tickets before boarding - there are multi-lingual ticket machines at each tram stop. A day pass is available, and recommended for anyone who plans to see anything outside of the centre. Longer-term passes are available as well from the TaM office situated across from the train station. Be sure to validate your ticket in the machines, as being found without a valid ticket will result in an on-the-spot fine (28 euro). Not speaking French or being a traveller will not be accepted as an excuse.


Of particular interest in the old centre

  • La Place Royale du Peyrou
  • Les Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Garden)
  • La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, L'Ecole de Médecine, and Le Musée d'Anatomie
  • L'Hôtel des Trésoriers de la Bourse
  • La Place de la Comédie
  • Musee Fabre - art museum.
  • Take a walk on the Esplanade one day when the weather is nice, (most of the time). Lined with trees, benches, a couple of outdoor restaurants, and often the tents of a market selling clothing and food, the Esplanade is a lovely place to spend the afternoon. Keep to the well lit part at night, unless you wish to buy drugs or be mugged or both (this has improved since a new police station was opened close by recently). The police station is right next to the tourist information building so all your tourism needs are located right next to eachother.
  • Visit the zoo, 50 avenue Agropolis, Montpellier [5]. The zoo has an outside part with lions, bears etcetera (free admission), and an inside part with an amazonic forest (about 6 euros).


For upscale shoppers, the best bet is in centre-ville. There is an abundance of clothing stores, the most high-end being found on the main streets leading away from the Place de la Comedie and on the rue Foch. For those with a more modest budget, the Polygone shopping center, also near La Comedie, contains a large variety of stores, including major French chains such as Inno and FNAC. There is also a small area in the centre where most of the 'offbeat' shops have typically clustered together, along with plenty of kebab shops and sandwicheries.

If you like to haggle and want a different experience, there is an enormous flea market every Sunday morning. Take the blue line tram all the way to the last stop at Mosson, and then just follow the crowd of people. The market sells just about everything under the sun, including brand-name clothing, movies (mostly pirated), and the usual assortment of household odds and ends. Haggling is the norm but the prices are generally reasonable to start with. The market (marche aux puces) is particularly well-known as a place to buy bicycles, although be sure of the quality before you buy. There have been 'some' reports of stolen bikes turning up at the market as well.

Visit Sauramps bookstore (Le Triangle, at one end of la Comedie) and the Gibert Joseph bookstore (at the Place de la Prefecture). These independent bookstores are real treasure for the city and offer a wide variety of topics and languages.


Montpellier is very cosmopolitan for a city of its size and has a wide variety of ethnic cuisines available, in addition to traditional French food. The centre features a plethora of over-the-counter sandwich shops and similar places specializing in kebabs (nearly as many of these as there are hair salons and real estate agencies). If you're looking for the classic French cafe experience, try any one of the many bistros near La Place de la Comedie. For a good coffee in a more relaxed atmosphere, there's also a nice cafe near the Louis Blanc tramway stop.

Montpellier is dotted with eateries ranging from very touristy to truly authentic. Geography plays a large role here: the matrix of restaurants in the town square generally cater to visitors who are optimizing for convenience, but not for price or quality so much. Head away from the city center--north, south, west, but generally not east--for a more genuine experience.


France is the country for wine and the Languedoc Roussillon region produces more annually than the whole of Australia! There are too many varieties to name here (it deserves its own wiki) but as a pointer for red try a mid priced pic st loup The white for the local seafood and especially the oysters is picpoul de Pinet, no need for lemon juice! During the summer months many people stick to rose, but a lot of restaurants also serve chilled red wine. For sweet-tooths, the neighbouring towns of Lunel and Frontignan produce good quality muscat and have their own appelations.

The aparetif liquor of the south of France is Pastis, which, while not for everyone, is a definite part of the local culture. Pastis should normally be served onto a single ice cube and then diluted to taste. There are, however several bizarre permutations of this drink that can be concoted using grenadine, mint syrup and orgeat (almond and rose flower)

  • The Greyhound Pub, Place de la Comedie. Loosely English themed pub that serves a wide variety of beers and other alcoholic drinks. Friendly service. The owner was in the Tour de France!
  • Macadam pub, 1 rue des Deux Ponts (not far from the railway station and the famous rockstore), [6]. With a nice international atmosphere (with special "american", "erasmus" nights), ideal for students. It has a pub part on the ground level, and a "club" part in the basement.  edit
  • Martins Club [7], 8 Rue de la Monnaie. A cosy, exotic lounge bar that proposes a wide range of exotic cocktails, narguiles (hookah pipes), teas, and a lot of themed parties. The staff is very friendly.
  • Le Corto Hole in the wall located near the Faculte de Medicine in the centre. Quality beer and a must for anyone who likes the atmosphere of a small bar. Be sure to check out the basement - one table has been jammed into a tiny grotto for a literal 'hole in the wall' experience.
  • Vert Anglais is an English-owned bar and restaurant with a friendly English-speaking staff. Located behind the Virgin Megastore. Lunch service, extensive cocktail list, half-price beer happy hour, and students get half-price beer all night on Mondays.
  • le capucin located place du marché aux fleurs juste in front of the prefecture, not far from gibert bookshop, this cafe is anachronic, a rural-cafe in the heart of the town
  • le cafe de la mer located place du marche aux fleurs, close to " le capucin " enjoy the terrasse, this bar is one of the gay headquarters of the town
  • la pleine lune ( full moon bar)rue de figuerolles, ( walk boulevard gambetta, opposite to St denis church, at the end of gambetta take left, you will find a kind of place and the ba on your right ) sometimes crowded, very bohemain to the point that the walls sweat patchouli oil!
  • Fitzpatricks An Irish pub. Guinness, Kilkenny and Strongbow cider on tap. Owned by the same family as O'Carolan's up near Place St. Anne.
  • le Kaboum 18, Rue du Saint Sépulcre , near place Sainte 08 73 67 87 93 . tuesday - saturaday 11:30 - 15:00 and 19:00 - 01:00. A original bar with a lot bears (bear with chocolat or honey...)and crasy cocktails.Price are very cool like the's also possible to eat (crepe or faritas..)

Salsa Clubs

There are a few places to dance salsa, but you need to know when and where:


  • Oxymore - 12, Rue Boussairolles - 04 67 58 64 39


  • Le Kilimanjaro - 60, Avenue du Pont Juvenal - 04 67 13 24 16
  • El Cuba Café - Odysseum - 1 Pl France - 04 67 15 17 17


  • Apollo Jazz Café - 129, Avenue de Palavas -
  • B4 Freestyle Bar - 110, Avenue du Pont Juvénal


  • Cotton Club - 129, Avenue de Palavas


  • El Cuba Café - Odysseum - 1 Pl France - 04 67 15 17 17
  • Havana Night - Route de la Mer - 63, Chemin Mas de Gau, Lattes - 04 99 52 23 75 (only 4th friday of the month)


  • Studio Latino - 1, Av de la Mer - Lattes - 04 67 99 07 81 (only 1st and 3rd saturdays of the month)
  • Rock System - 26, Rue Charles de Gaulles, Fabregues (only 2nd and 4th saturdays of the month)


  • Apollo Jazz Café - 129, Avenue de Palavas -
  • El Cuba Café - Odysseum - 1 Pl France - 04 67 15 17 17
  • Oxymore - R'n'B/Dance music with cheap drinks.
  • Cargo - Dance music, affordable drinks, located near the train station in the center of town. Student friendly.
  • The Fizz - Opens after the bars close, and features indoor smoking room and a lower level dance floor that can be viewed on gold-framed monitors from the upper level bar.


HI-Montpellier Youth Hostel, Rue des Ecoles Laiques, Impasse Petite Corraterie, 34000 Montpellier, phone:+33-4-67603222

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MONTPELLIER, a town of southern France, capital of the department of Herault, about 7 m. from the Mediterranean, and 31 m. S.W. of Nimes on the Paris-Lyon railway between that town and Cette. Pop. (1906), 65,983. Montpellier, the seat of a university and the principal place of lower Languedoc, is situated in a fruitful plain less than a mile from the right bank of the small river Lez. Composed for the most part of narrow winding streets, the town has at the same time several spacious thoroughfares and some fine squares and promenades, notably the ,muchfrequented Place de la Comedic, the Esplanade and the Peyrou. The last terminates in a terrace commanding a magnificent view of the coasts of the Mediterranean, and of the Pyrenees and Alps. On the terrace is situated the reservoir of the town, the water being brought from a distance of about 8 m. by an aqueduct. In the centre of the square is an equestrian statue of Louis XIV., while opposite the entrance is the Porte de Peyrou, a triumphal arch erected at the end of the 17th century to commemorate the achievements of Louis XIV. The Boulevard Henri IV. to the north leads past the botanical garden, founded in 1593 and thus the oldest in France, the medical college, and the cathedral; to the east the Rue Nationale leads to the palace of justice, the prefecture, and the citadel. The cathedral (14th century), which until 1536 was the church of a Benedictine monastery, suffered severely during the religious wars, and about the middle of the 19th century the choir and one of the four towers at the angles of the nave were rebuilt in the style of the 13th century. The monastery, after being converted into the bishop's palace, has since 1795 been occupied by the famous medical school. A gallery devoted to the portraits of professors since 1239 contains one of Rabelais. Close to the medical school is the Tour des Pins, the chief relic of the medieval fortifications. The museum (Musee Fabre) contains rich collections of Italian, Flemish, Dutch and modern French paintings and of French sculptures. Its nucleus was the collection given to it by the painter F. X. P. Fabre (1766-1837), born at Montpellier. The principal public buildings are the palace of justice - a modern structure, the theatre and the prefecture, also modern. Montpellier possesses old houses of the 15th and 16th centuries. The Lez is canalized so as to connect Montpellier with the canal du Midi and with the sea at Palavas. The town has a considerable trade in wine, brandy, fruit and silk. The principal industrial establishment is a manufactory for candles and soap. There are also tanneries, distilleries and manufactories of cotton and woollen goods, chemicals, casks, hosiery and chocolate. The town is the centre of an academie (educational division) and has long been renowned as a seat of learning. Montpellier university comprises faculties of medicine, law, science and letters, and a higher school of pharmacy. Montpellier is also the seat of a bishop and a prefect, of courts of appeal and assizes, tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce, a board of trade arbitration, and headquarters of the XVI. army corps.

Montpellier first rose into importance after the destruction of Maguelonne by Charles Martel in 737. In the Toth century it consisted of two portions, Montpellier and Montpellieret, held from the bishops of Maguelonne by the family of Guilhem. The Guilhems were succeeded, through marriage, by the house of Aragon, a member of which in 1349 sold his rights to Philip of Valois, Montpellieret having already in 1 292 been ceded to the Crown by the bishops. In 1141 Montpellier acquired a charter afterwards materially extended, and the same century saw the rise of its school of medicine. Several of the ablest teachers of that school were members of an important Jewish colony established in the town. It had a school of law in 1160, and a university was founded by Pope Nicholas IV. towards the close of the 13th century. Louis IX. granted to Montpellier the right of free trade with the whole of the kingdom, a privilege which greatly increased its prosperity. The importance of the town was enhanced when the bishopric of Maguelonne was transferred thither in 1536. During the wars of religion the town was a stronghold of the Protestants, who captured it in 1567. It strenuously supported the duke of Rohan in his revolts and in 1622 only succumbed to Louis XIII. after a siege of eight months. In 1628 the duke was defeated there and the walls of the town razed, the royal citadel built in 1624 being, however, spared. Louis XIII. made Montpellier the seat of one of the generalites of Languedoc, and the states of that province met there during the 17th and 18th centuries.

See A. C. Germain, Histoire du commerce de Montpellier ante'rieurement a l'ouverture du port de Cette (2 vols., Montpellier, 1861), and Histoire de la commune de Montpellier (3 vols., Montpellier, 1851); Aigrefeuille, Histoire de la vine de Montpellier (4 vols., Montpellier, 1875-1882).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun


  1. The capital city of the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France.


Simple English

Montpellier is a city in France. It has about 250,000 inhabitants.

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