You may visit only on a tourist office guided tour. The blood froze in winter and boiled in summer. It remained astonishing value for money. As I visited, it was moving out of these classical buildings. Wriggle back through the old town.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn. In my old St Roch district, what had been dark and functional had gone light and lively. For a present, bring home a box of Grisettes, honey and liquorice candies, claimed to have been made in Montpellier since medieval times. Spend some time on these sleepy stone streets, where the houses are set off by the dramatic limestone landforms around them.
At over six feet, I was noticeably taller than the locals for whose height the awnings had been tailored. Purposeless tourists were a surprise. These days, it is the grandest pedestrian square in Europe, disturbed only by the swish of trams way too graceful to be public transport. Then bike three miles along the spit of land to the medieval Maguelone cathedral, dating ekaterinburg stirringly isolated between sea and lagoon.
World-class architects are forever turning up to add showpieces. Flaugergues was established in the lates and today has been enveloped by the city, sitting incongruously in a modern district of warehouses and commercial estates. Behind, the medieval squeeze of the old town scurries with a sense of conspiracy in which everyone can join. Take a turn around the neatly-trimmed gardens and go inside to see the exquisite interiors with paintings, historic furniture and five Flemish tapestries from the s portraying the life of Moses. Workers and bourgeois lived cheek-by-jowl.
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So there are many mansions to be seen around the extensive old quarter, as well as exalted monuments like the Promenade de Peyrou, fit for a regional capital. Please refresh the page and retry. Take coffee at any of the bars along the central canal. Time to push out le bateau.
Save Telegraph Travel's tips to your phone. It appeared only in the Middle Ages, owing its notoriety to medical skills born of Arab and Jewish influence. On foot you can conquer Pic Saint-Loup from the south side, on a six-kilometre trail from Cazevieille, while the sheer bluffs on the north face can be tackled with the help of a guide. Just to pick the closest, Palavas-les-Flots has long sweeps of sand and pebbles totalling seven kilometes, review shielded from the open sea by breakwaters.
Most of the apartment buildings and houses are historic, dating from the s and s, and if you can see past the sturdy wooden doors, many of these residences have internal courtyards. Less than a minute tram ride from the centre, it has a terrace, gardens and friendly staff. Medical excellence has since been a constant. The vast, sun-roasted square is where the medieval layout loosens its grip and the city sighs with relief. You can also see a relief showing the constriction of the Canal des Deux Mers, a colossal engineering project that connected the Bay of Biscay with the Mediterranean during the s.
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Montpellier, the capital of Languedoc, a few miles from the Mediterranean coast, was where I discovered France. Check out the recommended hotels in Montpellier, France. The Montpellier orchestral season is truffled with highlights orchestre-montpellier.
Take the brand new cycle track past lagoons to Palavas, a fishing port turned haphazard seaside resort. Him, and the rest of the world. Elegant, subversive and sensual, dating it has become the most cultured and tolerant city in France.
The nearby Arc de Triomphe also flattered the Sun King. This was begging, Montpellier style. There was a sunshine ferment of leisure and lounging with labour, once to the fore, now lost down in the mix. The monumental bounds of neoclassical imagination used are unseen since Mediterranean culture led the world.
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The Pic Saint-Loup wine terroir is one of the most acclaimed in Langudoc-Roussillon, so after your descent you have a catalogue of caves and vineyards to discover. The car-free historic centre bristles with bars, bistros and family-run restaurants. It felt sunnily subversive.
It led to a monumental avenue of posh shops upon whose awnings I would, in the s, frequently crack my head. As I moved on, a tidily-dressed lady in her middle years approached and asked for money that she might buy herself an iced coffee. Heavy and buttressed, the cathedral still looked ready to repel the ungodly, while the faculty spoke of a time when education wore gowns. Then I went around the corner, back to the St Roch district, proper gooseneck hookup where the buzz of conviviality spilled from bar to terrace to enliven the warm night air.
- And, beyond them, the sea is a minute cycle ride.
- Yes, the local diet draws on the Mediterranean, and there are lots of restaurants in the city serving mussels, crab, oysters and fish stews.
- Return to Palavas for a fishy lunch.
Back then, the city was emerging from a lethargic recent past of rentiers, wine decline and sun-lit slumber. Several spill out onto the tiny streets. But I was talking to myself.
- The barman had hurtled out with a tray-full of fruit juice.
- Ambling visitors abound, thank heavens.
- The wines reward inspection, too.
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Thank you for your support. At resorts like Palavas-les-Flots, Carnon and La Grande Motte the beaches are sandy spits or barrier islands, suspended from the coast by lagoons. After a restorative coffee, continue your tour along the leafy walkways of the Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle, fringing the square to the north. In the s, it was overcome with traffic. It takes a startling city to make trams sexy.
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But Montpellier is also a cosmopolitan place with large Vietnamese and North African communities, which have brought their own flavours. The metre peak is in a stirring landscape of limestone cliffs, sunflower fields and vineyards, the trademark of the South of France. Lacking industry, the place has majored on brains and bravura. Only a hyper-confident city could have pulled it off.