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Montpellier‘s Arc de Triomphe – otherwise known as Porte du Peyrou – is the city’s most famous landmark. Here is a brief history of Paris’ southern triumphal arch cousin.
The Porte du Peyrou is a monument dedicated to the glory of King Louis XIV of France, the ‘Sun King’. It was designed in 1690 by François d’Orbay, a French architect involved in some of France’s most iconic landmarks, notably Le Louvre and Versailles.
The build was finished in around 1693 and is situated at the eastern end of the Jardins du Peyrou, on the foundations of the old city walls. In this sense, it is very similar to the Porte Saint-Martin in Paris; another beautiful triumphal arch located at the site of one of the gates of the capital’s ancient city walls.
L’Arc de Trimophe is the entrance to the Royal Palace of the Peyrou. From the palace and Promenade du Peyrou, you can also walk to the Saint-Clément Aqueduct, with great views over to the east of Montpellier.
On the archway itself, noticeable from the street below, you can see various stages of the reign of Louis XIV moulded into its facade, glorifying his reign. These were added about 20 years after the initial build. The badge of the city of Montpellier sits at the highest point of the arch.
Climb the nearly 100 stairs to the top of L’Arc de Triomphe and you’ll have the most incredible views of the city and its surroundings. Visit the Tourist Office for information on the guided tour.
Every Sunday, the Place du Peyrou holds a flea market, which is well worth a visit in order to see this area of the city in a local light.