Nestled on the Mediterranean coast, Montpellier is a sophisticated and cultural hub with a relaxed atmosphere and a nice variety of historical and educational attractions
Due to its distance from Calais, Montpellier is a less visited city in terms of British school tours, and that's a shame as it has a real charm, historical significance and a chic modern outlook, unlike many other French cities.
Its modern incarnation delivers a young and vibrant atmosphere largely down to its student population; in excess of 60,000 attend the hugely respected university, founded in the 13th century. The world-renowned Musée Fabre houses many Old Masters which could easily become the focus for an Art tour.
But of course, this ancient place, a centre of commerce for over 1000 years, is very close to the Mediterranean coast so time at the beach could be an option as could a trip to the nearby bigger and brasher neighbour, Marseille.
All visits are covered by our externally verified Safety Management System and are pre-paid when applicable. Prices and opening times are accurate as of May 2018 and are subject to change and availability. Booking fees may apply to services provided by Voyager School Travel when paid on site.
The Place de la Comédie is the main focal point of the city. The square is named after the theatre located there, which burned down in 1785.
The Place became the main focal point of the city when, in the mid-19th century the main railway station was built just south of it.
At the center of the square is a fountain called the Three Graces, built by sculptor Étienne d’Antoine in 1790. The original piece was placed in the Musée Fabre in 1989.
A number of hôtels particuliers can be found in the historic centre. In fact, the majority of buildings in the historic centre of Montpellier have medieval roots and were modified between the 16th and 18th centuries.
The Porte du Peyrou is a triumphal arch in the centre. It is situated at the eastern end of the Jardin de Peyrou, a park near the centre of the city.
The arch was designed by François Dorbay, after the model of the Porte Saint-Denis in Paris. Its construction was completed in 1693. Its rusticated surface is crowned by a Doric entablature, suitable to a martial monument. Its later panels in bas-relief and inscriptions glorifying King Louis XIV of France were added in 1715.
Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and history of Gallo-Roman farms. See original historic displays like an original mosaic from 2nd century AD and find models of the agricultural field retracing 600 years of history, along with objects found during archaeological excavations.
This municipal museum holds a collection of local interest pieces, from antique furniture to tapestries and weaponry. The 18th-century room is particularly interesting, as it still has its original period decor.montpellier.fr
Montpellier’s monumental Cathédrale St-Pierre began life as a church attached to the 14th-century monastery of St-Benoît, and was raised to cathedral status in 1536. Heavily rebuilt after the Wars of Religion, it’s now the seat of the city’s archbishops.cathedrale-montpellier.fr
Aigues-Mortes is a striking, walled Medieval town sitting on the flat marshes of the Camargue, and is considered the purest example of 13th-century military architecture. There has been little development meaning it looks today pretty much like it did in the Middle Ages.ot-aiguesmortes.com
After a €61 million renovation, this landmark museum houses one of France’s richest collections of European art. The galleries are split into three main sections: Old Masters, Modern Movements and Decorative Arts, collectively representing the last 600 years of artistic activity in Europe.
Montpellier’s Zoo is the second largest in France with a fantastic array of animals from around the globe. More akin to a safari park in design it is laid out over 60 hectares with a fantastic tropical greenhouse, the ‘Serre Amazonienne’ hosting alligators, piranhas and more!zoo.montpellier.fr
This excellent aquarium and planetarium offers over 800 square metres of different aquatic environments, from polar waters to tropical forests. Some of the tanks are really imaginative – there’s an Ocean Balcony where you stare down over submarine cliffs patrolled by sharks and rays, and a huge Amphitheatre, the largest covered tank in France with 1.8m litres of seawater. Kids will also love the interactive attractions, such as a simulated cargo ship battling through stormy seas.planetoceanworld.fr
North of place Royale du Peyrou is one of Montpellier’s hidden gems, the Jardins des Plantes – the oldest botanical garden in France. Established in 1593, it was used as a model for the much better-known Jardins des Plantes in Paris, laid out nearly 30 years later. Along its shady paths you’ll find more than 2500 different species, including nine varieties of palm, 250 medicinal plants and an arboretum of rare trees, as well as a glorious greenhouse dating from 1860.
Parc naturel régional de Carmague is a protected area along the shoreline of the Camargue. The park protects the wetland environment and adjacent marine area. The boundaries of the park have been expanded to include a lagoon called the Étang de Vaccarès.parc-camargue.fr
A 90 minute drive from Montpellier stands this famous confection factory museum, learn about the process of sweet making, the ingredients, the machine room, the story of the brand and its advertisement campaign through the years. And pick up a few sweet treats along the way too!museeharibo.fr
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