The old quarter and medieval heart of the southern French city of Montpellier, set just back from the Mediterranean, reveals converted historic manor houses and ivy-clad places to stay, bookable on Culture Trip.
Delve into central Montpellier and you’ll find yourself in Écusson, the city’s fascinating ancient heart. Once home to the Crown of Aragon in the 13th century, much of its rich history is still on display, epitomised in the elegant Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. Get lost among the labyrinth of medieval lanes, people-watch on Place de la Comédie and dip into the thriving food scene at numerous excellent restaurants. But first, book yourself into one of these top Écusson hotels.
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Located just outside the city’s historic centre – between the Beaux-Arts and Boutonnet districts – a stay at this 18th-century manor house puts you within easy walking distance of much of Écusson. You can start the day with breakfast on the leafy summer terrace and return to evening drinks here, too. When you’re ready to turn in, guest rooms combine classical French elegance with modern comforts.
This charming ivy-clad hotel is set in the city’s La Lironde neighbourhood, just across the Lez River from Écusson. It stands out for its wonderfully lush park setting, dotted with contemporary sculptures and traditional busts. Inside is a playful blend of classical and retro flourishes, continuing to the five uniquely styled guest rooms that feature the likes of 1920s furniture and works by street artists. Dining channels the spirit of a Parisian bistro, with a daily changing menu and a lovely sun-dappled terrace.
If you’ve an eye for contemporary design, you should book a stay at this attention-grabbing slice of modern architecture. Swish 21st-century styling continues inside, though is toned down for the guest rooms where comfort takes priority. A breakfast buffet is full of fresh and seasonal produce, getting you ready for the 10-minute stroll to the historic heart of Écusson.
One of the swankier stays in town, the upscale credentials of Hotel Oceania Le Metropole Montpellier are writ large on its handsomely ornate facade. Historically, it’s attracted such stellar guests as Marcel Marceau and Ella Fitzgerald. A huge renovation restored its ornate 18th-century interiors with a touch of exoticism and thoroughly modernised its guest rooms in a smart and soothing style. A garden swimming pool and an indoor spa make lingering at the hotel a must when you’re not out exploring Écusson.
Leon Beckenham contributed additional reporting to this article.
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