Top Unique Experiences to be Had in Montpellier
Montpellier | © Jacqueline Macou / Pixabay
Montpellier has almost endless days of sun each year, it’s one of the fastest growing cities in France and has a relaxed, chic air that we can only hope to pull off ourselves. In terms of unique experiences, then, look no further than this dynamic southern French city and its surrounds.
Just north of Montpellier at the start of the Cévennes foothills, and popular with outdoorsy locals, is Pic Saint-Loup. It houses great hiking trails and incredible views of the plains and coastline. Happily an experience that you can do free of charge, just a good pair of hiking boots will be all you need. You should reach the peak in an hour of hiking and the trail is obviously marked.
To get to Pic Saint-Loup from Montpellier, numerous bus lines run throughout the week. Have a look at the Herault Transport site for times and details.
Pic Saint-Loup | © Isabelle Blanchemain / Flickr
Numerous and very typical of the area are hôtels particuliers. These grand private mansions were built in and around Montpellier by wealthy merchants and noblemen in the 17th and 18th century. They can be visited on an interesting guided tour by the Tourist Office; Château de la Mogère and Château de Flaugergues are two of the most popular to visit, giving a glimpse into the wealth and life of Montpellier’s elite in those times.
Montpellier lies in the heart of wine-making country and so what better experience than a vineyard tour. From small groups to private tours, wine tasting or just vineyard exploration, there are numerous companies dotted in and around Montpellier offering a package that will suit you. Not only do you get to experience the fine wines of the region, but you’ll take in the landscape itself.
Languedoc Vineyards | © Tara Hunt / Flickr
Montpellier is an artsy hub in the south of France and whether you’ve noticed it or not, there are street art pieces galore, scattered about the city. With murals and graffiti, amateur or professional, Montpellier is a canvas for a variety of artistic flourishes.
To the north of the old town, in the Verdanson district, you’ll find the ‘graffiti canal’ and in Place Rondelet, street artist Mist has left his colourful mark on a building’s facade. You’ll see “half-bikes” popping out from walls here and there and artist Space Invader has made a huge contribution to the city’s street art collection.
Street Art | © Caroline Léna Becker / Flickr
Visit France’s oldest botanical garden
Montpellier’s Jardin des Plantes is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe and was the first to be created in France. It was created in 1593 by Pierre Richer de Belleval, professor of botany and anatomy at Montpellier University, and is free to visit all year round. For botany lovers, this garden really is the pot of gold.
The River Lez runs right through the city centre in Montpellier and it is a view of the city like no other. If you’re after an activity to include in your stay, then seeing the sites by kayak can’t be beaten. From the river you’ll have an incredible perspective of the Antigone district of Montpellier, whose 70s modern design still makes quite the impact today.
River Lez | © Alexander Baranov / Flickr
Take a nude dip
Nudist beaches are popular in the region, so to skinny dip and feel completely free and easy on holiday, head to the Occitanie coastline. At the beautifully wild beach of Espiguette, the nudist area is just several minutes away from the car park.