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Montpellier

Travel Guide Europe France Languedoc-Roussillon Montpellier

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Introduction

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montpellier -

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Montpellier is a city in the central south of France, about 750 kilometers south of Paris and only 170 kilometers from Marseille. It is the capital of Herault department and of the bigger Languedoc-Roussillon region. The city itself has just over 250,000 inhabitants while the greater metropolitan area has well over half a million people within its boundaries. It is located along the Lez river, about 10 kilometers inland from the Mediterranean coastline.

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Neighbourhoods

Montpellier is divided into 7 neighbourhoods. These are however subdivided into many sub-neighbourhoods. Only the main neighbourhoods are mentioned here:

  • Montpellier-centre
  • Croix-d'Argent
  • Les Cévennes
  • Mosson
  • Hôpitaux-Facultés
  • Port-Marianne
  • Prés d'Arènes

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Sights and Activities

  • Place de la Comédie is Montpellier's main square where most of the tourists begin their sightseeing. It is lined with cafes all around and the impressive 19th century Opera House is located on the southern end of the square. This is the place to sit and sip coffee to get a feel of this beautiful city.
  • The Musée Fabre has a vast collection of works from the 16th century onwards and is a must visit for any art enthusiast. An entire floor is dedicated to the gorgeous and impressive paintings of Pierre Soulage.
  • Saint Pierre Cathedral is one of the city's most notable attractions and is well known for its twin church towers, an oversized porch and the recently restored 19th century stained glass windows. The interior boasts of a memorial to a former Bishop of Montpellier, who supported the cause of the vineyard workers who rebelled in early 20th century. The cathedral is open to visitors from Monday to Sunday from 09:00 to 12:00 and 14:30 to 19:00 hrs and admission is free.
  • Chateau du flaugergues is located just a short distance away from the city centre. This impressive and grand 17th century Chateau houses a collection of furnishings, art works and even optical instruments. This is open during summer and there is an impressive wineyard in the neighbourhood, where visitors can test and even purchase wine onsite.
  • The Porte du Peyrou, a triumphal arch
  • The Saint Clément Aqueduct
  • The Jardin des plantes de Montpellier, which is in fact the oldest botanical garden in France, dating back to 1593

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Events and Festivals

Festival de Radio France et Montpellier - held in summer with mainly opera and music, focusing on classical genres and jazz music.

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Weather

Montpellier, like much of the southern coastal area of France, has a typical Mediterranean climate with dry and warm summers (June - September) and generally mild but wetter winter months (December - March). Summer temperatures usually are around 28 °C to 32 °C but temperatures have been known to hit just over 40 °C during rare occasions. In winter, it's usually above zero, but occasional frost and even snow is not unheard off. May and September usually are good months to visit with agreeable weather and usually dry.

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Getting There

By Plane

Montpellier Méditerranée Airport (international code: MPL) serves a number of flights. Several airlines only have seasonal or charter flights, while a number of airlines have permanent connections. Air France flies to Paris, Iberia to Madrid, Transavia to Amsterdam and there are lowcostairlines like Easyjet (London) and Ryanair (Bristol, London, Brussels, Frankfurt) that serve the city as well. There are even seasonal flights to Algeria and Tunisia. Domestic flights include Rennes, Figari and Ajaccio (both on Corsica), Nantes and Lyon.

By Train

French Railways connects Montepellier to the national railway network, including highspeed (TGV) trains to a number of bigger French cities.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Montpellier Tram network offers relatively new tram connections throughout the city, with the first line only being opened in 2000, the second in 2006 and the third will probably open around 2010.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hotel Majestic4, rue du Cheval BlancHotel81
Hotel PrimeParc Lapeyriere, Rue Robert Schumann 34130 Saint Jean de VedasHotel77
Le Lis Casa Blanca55 Impasse des NeufGuesthouse-
New Hotel Du Midi22 Boulevard Victor HugoHotel78
Le Patio3425 av Moulin de Tourtourel LaveruneGuesthouse-
Hôtel Kalliste**14, rue BoussairollesHotel72
Hotel Balladins SuperiorRoute de Carnon Montpellier AirportHotel76
Residence Hotel Le MilosChemin de la Pierre Bleue CastriesHOTEL78
Le Clos des Olivettes147, Rue des Olivettes Ste Croix de QuintillarguesGuesthouse-
Amerique Hotel7 avenue Frederic Fabrege Palavas les FlotsHOTEL-
Hotel le Brasilia9 bld Marechal Joffre Palavas les FlotsHOTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.

Post

La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 43.608176
  • Longitude: 3.8794455

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This is version 13. Last edited at 6:57 on Sep 20, 13 by Utrecht. 23 articles link to this page.

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