20 Things To Do In Montpellier

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

Montpellier is a city in southern France, 10 km (6.2 miles) from the Mediterranean coast. It is a city that is full of life, with cafes spilling onto the streets, an exciting food scene and a flourishing wine industry. In fact, Montpellier is home to two international wine trade fairs, Vinisud and Millesime Bio.

Unlike neighbouring towns and cities, Montpellier doesn’t have a history going back to Greek and Roman times but dates to the 10th century. During the Middle Ages, it was a trade and learning centre, and it houses the oldest medical school in Europe, dating back 800 years. It faded from prominence after mediaeval times, but over the last 50 years, it has become France’s fastest-growing city, with an influx of immigrants and students. Montpellier has a lot going for it. For a start, it has around 300 days of sunshine every year. It has many art galleries and museums to visit, green spaces, a beautiful old town, and a massive Gothic cathedral. Let’s take a look at twenty things to do during your stay in Montpellier.

Montpellier, France

Top Tours

20 Things To Do In Montpellier

1- Explore The Old Town

Cathedral Saint Pierre, Montpellier
Visiting Cathedrale St. Pierre is one of the best things to do in Montpellier France for atmosphere.

The old town, L’Ecusson, is a great place to start your exploration of Montpellier.

It stretches from the Promenade du Peyrou in the west of the city to the Place de la Comedie in the east.

L’Ecusson was built in the Middle Ages, and you will find many buildings dating back to this time.

Wander around the maze of narrow streets and find a cafe or bar for a coffee or drink and people watch.


Les Halles Castellone, Montpellier’s covered market is in the old town and is the place to go to see the way the citizens go about their daily life.

The alleyways surrounding it are filled with restaurants so why not stop for lunch?

Another interesting site to visit in L’Ecusson is the Mikve, one of the few Jewish ritual baths left in Europe.

The Mikve is at 1 Rue de la Barralene, Montpellier.

Recommended tours:

2- Visit The Art Museums

Museum Of Montpellier, Greuze Paintings, Vintage Engraving
Visiting the art museums is one of the top 10 things to do in Montpellier France.

There are many art museums and galleries throughout the city.

The most famous is the Fabre Museum, which was founded in the 1820s with a donation from Francois Xavier Fabre.

The museum houses more than 800 works of art, which include both paintings and sculptures shown in chronological order.

Artists represented here include Rubens, Veronese, Rigaud, Renoir, Soulages, and Bazille.

Contemporary art fans should head to MO.CO which is made up of an art school and two art galleries, the MO.CO and the MO.CO Panacee.

The latter showcases free temporary art exhibitions by both local and national artists.

The MO.CO. presents temporary exhibitions on specific themes and by different artists.

It also houses the stunning Garden of the Five Continents which is a garden built like a world map and designed by Bertrand Lavier.

The centre point is a fountain made from watering cans.

  • The Fabre Museum is at 2 Rue de Salle L’Evêque 34000 Montpellier.
  • MO.CO is at 3 Rue de la Republique 34000 Montpellier.

3- Visit Cathedrale De St. Pierre

Cathedral Saint Pierre, Montpellier
Visiting Cathedrale St. Pierre is one of the best things to do in Montpellier France.

You may come across the cathedral by chance as it is nestled among the maze of streets in the old town.

Construction on the cathedral began in the 14th century and continued over many years, resulting in a mix of architectural styles, ranging from Gothic to Renaissance.

Despite the French Wars of Religion in the 16th century, it survived, whereas other churches didn’t.

Cathedral De St. Pierre was first a monastery chapel and didn’t become a cathedral until the middle of the 15th century.

When you first approach the cathedral, you will see the magnificent portal with its two pillars that measure over 4.5 metres (14.76 feet) in diameter.

The facade is decorated with beautiful sculptures, and inside, there are chapels, vaulted ceilings, and beautiful stained-glass windows.

The Cathedrale de St. Pierre is at 6B Rue de I Abbe Marcel Montels, Place St-Pierre, 34000, Montpellier.

4- Take A Stroll Around The Jardin Des Plantes

Montpellier, The Jardin Des Plantes, Vintage Engraving
Taking a stroll around Jardin des Plantes is one of the unusual things to do in Montpellier.

If you crave a little peace and quiet in beautiful surroundings, head to the Jardin Des Plantes, which is an oasis of tranquillity in the middle of a bustling city.

This botanical garden was opened in 1593, making it one of the oldest gardens in France.

It hosts several themed gardens, such as The Alpine Garden and The Rose and Rock Garden, exotic plants, and medicinal plants.

The greenhouse complex houses a collection of tropical and subtropical plants and flowers.

Jardin des Plantes is at 163r Auguste Broussonnet, 34090, Montpellier.

5- Take A Tour Of Le Chateau De Flaugergues

Le Chateau De Flaugergues is a magnificent house and garden in the eastern suburbs of Montpellier.

It was commissioned in 1696 by Etienne Flaugergue and took 45 years to build.

Take a stroll around the well-manicured gardens, where you will find an orangery, French-style gardens, and an English-style park.

There are sculptures to be seen around the garden, as well as fountains and some rare plants.

You can take a tour of the house where you will see antique furniture and many paintings.

The highlight is the collection of five Flemish tapestries produced around 1670 depicting the life of Moses.

The estate also houses a 30-hectare (74-acre) vineyard, and a wine tasting is included in the tour of the chateau.

Le Chateau De Flaugergues is at 1744 Avenue Albert Einstein, 34000, Montpellier.

6- Explore The Place De La Comedie

Op�Ra, Montpellier
Exploring Place de la Comedie is one of the top things to do in Montpellier.

The Place De La Comedie links the old town with the new.

It is a lively square where locals and tourists gather to eat, drink, shop and chat.

The centre of the square is dominated by The Three Graces Fountain which was built in 1790.

It shows the Charities, who were goddesses from Greek mythology that inspired art, fertility and nature (Montpellier’s emblems).

Sometimes markets are held in the square and you can often see street performers and musicians perform.

At night, many of the buildings in the square are lit with dark blue lights, creating an unusual but attractive effect.

It buzzes with life in the evenings, especially in the good weather.

7- Go To The Beach

With Montpellier being so close to the Mediterranean coast, it would be a shame not to go to the beach on a hot summer’s day so you can cool off in the sea.

You can drive to the beach in about 15 minutes, but parking spots can fill up quickly in the summer, so an alternative is to take a tram or even hire a bicycle.

You can take bicycles on the tram so if you feel that riding one way is enough, you have an alternative way to get back to the city.

The nearest beach to Montpellier is Palavas-les-Flots which is a busy seaside resort with a long sandy beach so you should be able to find a spot.

The promenade is lively and there are plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes.

If you want a quieter beach, head to La Grande Motte or L’Espigatte, which has a beautiful white sandy beach and sand dunes, but there aren’t any restaurants or cafes.

However, in the summer, there are a few pop-up beach bars. It is more of a place where you would have a picnic.

8- Explore Place Edouard Adam

Like the Place De La Comedie, Place Edouard Adam is bustling and vibrant, with bars, cafes, and restaurants spilling onto the streets.

There are plenty of boutiques and shops to explore as well.

The square dates to the 18th century and is named after a former mayor of Montpellier, Edouard Adam.

At that time, it functioned as a market and commercial centre.

In the middle of the square is an elegant fountain and on a wall is a mural which looks like the facade of a building.

This illusion attracts many tourists to the square so remember to take a photograph.

9- See A Live Performance

Montpellier has two opera houses, the Opera Comedie and the Opera Berlioz.

The Montpellier Occitania National Opera Orchestra performs in both.

The orchestra was formed in 1989 and has 93 musicians and 31 singers.

The Opera Comedie was built in 1888 and holds 1,200 spectators.

The Opera Berlioz was opened in 1990 and hosts drama as well as operas and orchestral performances.

If you want to see up-and-coming contemporary bands, there are many bars which showcase this type of music, such as Delirium.

Many other venues host concerts and bands, including jazz and swing.

Look up ‘Mama Sound’ online to see what’s on while you are in the city.

  • Opera Comedie is at Il Bd. Victor Hugo, 34000, Montpelier
  • Opera Berlioz is at Place Charles de Gaulle, 34000, Montpellier
  • Delirium is at 28 Rue Faubourg Figuerolles, Plac Salengo, 34070, Montpellier

10- Go Birdwatching In Mejean Nature Reserve

Only 8 km (4.97 miles) from Montpellier is the Mejean Nature Reserve, which is a peaceful escape from city life.

It’s a wetland and is composed of mudflats. marshes, a lagoon, and reed beds.

Footpaths have been built above the wetland so you can explore, guided by signposts.

Mejean Nature Reserve is a bird watcher’s paradise.

It is home to 170 species of birds, including flamingos, herons, storks, egrets, shelducks, black-winged stilts, little terns, and ducks.

Strategically placed observatories give you a better chance of seeing more birds. You might also spot European pond turtles and wild horses.

Mejean Nature Reserve is at 1481 Chem des Etangs, 34970, Lattes

11- Enjoy A Wine Tasting

Weekend Wine Tasting
Enjoying a wine tasting is one of the cool things to do in Montpellier.

In Montpellier, there are around 200 vine growers, with 54 of them producing wine.

The main grapes grown are Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Carignan, Syrah, and Grenache.

Red wine takes precedence, but some whites and roses are also produced.

There are many winery tours on offer in the area.

They can visit one or two wineries, and some include a meal.

You will learn how the vines are looked after, vinification, and about ageing. You may even learn what are the best ways to taste wine.

Then comes the best bit, the tasting of the wines!

The wineries generally have a shop, so you are then able to buy your favourites.

12- Visit Planet Ocean

If you are looking for a family-friendly attraction in Montpellier, you won’t go far wrong choosing Planet Ocean.

It is both an aquarium and an interactive museum.

The aquarium showcases 400 marine and freshwater species in tanks totalling around 3 million litres.

It has the biggest tank in France which measures 10 metres (32.8 feet) high and 18 metres (59 feet) wide.

There are nine marine ecosystems to visit, including tropical seas and the Arctic.

Not surprisingly, the African penguins are a favourite as are the brightly-coloured tropical fish.

The museum is popular with the young, especially because of its 3D underwater and sea storm simulators.

Planet Ocean is at Centre Commercial Odysseum, All Ulysse, 34000, Montpellier

13- Take A Day Trip To Aigues-Morte

Quai Du General De Gaulle And The Old Lighthouse
Taking a day trip to Aigues-Mortes is one of the best things to do in Montpellier.

32 km (19.88 miles) to the east of Montpellier is the interesting town of Aigues-Mortes, once an important port.

The name translates to dead waters, but the salt marshes surrounding the town are far from being dead as they provide an important industry for the town, that of salt production.

The town is mediaeval, and its fortification walls still stand.

You can walk along them and get some lovely views of the town, the countryside, and the sea.

Another place to get amazing views is from the Constance Tower, which was once a fortress.

You can take a boat trip from here through the Camargue region.

You will hopefully see plenty of wildlife such as pink flamingos and wild horses.

14- Explore Montpellier’s North African Culture

Montpellier has a large Muslim population made up mainly of immigrants from North Africa.

You can enjoy their traditions throughout the city centre.

Walk around Cours Gambetta where you will find North African spices and pastries for sale.

The sweet treat, baklava, should be tried. You can also have a takeaway kebab or go to a cafe for a sit-down meal of tagine stew.

Accompany your meal with a popular mint tea.

If you are in the city during Ramadan, head to the neighbourhood of Figuerolles after sunset when tables are put out and the cooking starts.

The whole area smells of delicious spices.

15- Enjoy An Apero

Group Of Young Friends Sitting Together In Bar With Beer
Having an Apero in a bar is one of the top 10 things to do in Montpellier.

You have probably heard of the Italian aperitif, but did you know that the French have something similar that they call an apero?

It is a drink many have after work and before dinner.

Because Montpellier has a large student population, there are many lively bars in the city to choose from to have your apero and most are open seven days a week.

To mix with the locals, the old town and the Beaux Arts District are the places to go.

If you don’t mind noisy students, the Broc Cafe next to the Jardin de Plantes is a lively bar with plenty of atmosphere.

Here you can get an unusual but popular basil and pink peppercorn daiquiri.

16- Explore Quartier Saint-Roch

Modern Architecture Of Quartier Antigone
Exploring Quartier Saint-Roch is one of the fun things to do in Montpellier.

Quartier Saint-Roch is close to the city centre and has a bohemian atmosphere with many cultures mixing in harmony.

It is popular with both the French and tourists because there are many vibrant bars, as well as restaurants serving innovative food.

Wander through the narrow streets and find street art and quaint shops.

The highlight of the quarter is the Gothic Saint-Roch Church which is well worth visiting.

It has some beautiful stained-glass windows and intricately designed altars.

17- Enjoy The Unique Cuisine

French Specialty: Cassoulet, A Meal With White Beans
Enjoying seafood is one of the things to do in Montpellier, France.

Being so close to the Mediterranean, it isn’t surprising that seafood is popular in Montpellier, with many restaurants offering fish stews, crab, mussels, oysters, and lobster.

A popular dish which has nothing to do with fish is the cassoulet.

It is a stew made with meat and white beans and every restaurant has its own recipe.

Any type of meat can be used such as beef, lamb, pork, or poultry and it is generally cooked with lard.

Other dishes you will find on restaurant menus include Les Cagarolettes which are boiled snails in a spicy sauce and cuttlefish pasta, also in a spicy sauce.

Vegetarians don’t need to feel left out as they can try La Chichoumeille which is a vegetable stew similar to ratatouille.

Because Montpellier is a cosmopolitan city you will also find foreign restaurants such as Moroccan and Vietnamese.

A popular sweet is the Grisette which is a honey and liquorice candy which has been made since the Middle Ages.

They make a nice gift to take home for a friend.

18- Shop At The Local Arceaux Market

Young Woman Smell A Fruit
Shopping in the Arceaux Market is one of the things to do in Montpellier.

To see how the locals shop, head to the Arceaux market which is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

It is Montpellier’s biggest food market and sells the freshest produce from the region.

It is also a meeting place for the locals, so expect it to be noisy as friends meet each other and chat.

The market is located underneath the 18th-century St. Clement aqueduct, and it is always busy.

If you are in Montpellier in the summer, it’s advisable to go early as it gets packed later in the morning.

There are food stalls where you can try traditional dishes such as tielle which is a pie with octopus and brandade, a mix of dried cod, olive oil, and potatoes.

You can even get oysters which come from the nearby lagoon.

19- Take A Tour Of The Oldest Medical School In Europe

Montpellier houses the oldest operating medical school in Europe.

It is over 800 years old and is in what was a Benedictine monastery.

A guided tour of the school is offered, which both takes you around the building and teaches you about the history of medicine.

When you enter, you will see paintings adorning the walls.

They are of past teachers, and some go back centuries.

You will learn about famous people who studied at the school such as Nostradamus who was expelled for disobedience.

The Conservatory of Anatomy, which showcases 5,000 anatomical pieces, is well worth seeing.

Here you will find out more about the development of medicine in the last couple of centuries.

The Faculty Of Medicine is at 2 Rie Ecole de Médecine, CS, 59001, Montpellier

20- Explore The Promenade du Peyrou And Watch The Sunset

montpellier france
Looking for things to do in Montpellier?

The Promenade du Peyrou is impressive as it has numerous monuments lining the street including a massive statue of Louis XIV on horseback.

The highlight is Montpellier’s version of the Arc de Triomphe which was constructed in 1691 and is the gateway to the promenade.

It is in the Place du Peyrou and is neoclassical in design, with statues adorning it.

There are stunning views of the city from the Place du Peyrou.

The best time to come is at sunset as it is a spectacular sight, with the monuments covered in a golden light.

It is popular with locals as well as tourists at this time of day and you may hear buskers entertaining the crowds.

Porte Du Peyrou - Triumphal Arch In Montpellier
Wandering around Porte du Peyrou is one of the things to do in Montpellier at night.

Plan Your Trip

best car rental

Rent A Car – Find the best car rental rates at Discover Cars. They compare car hire companies to provide you with the best deal right now.

Find A Hotel – If you’re curious about this article and are looking for somewhere to stay, take a look at these amazing hotels.

Previous articleWhat is Virginia known for?
Next articleWhat Is Colombia Known For?
Irena Nieslony
Irena Nieslony was born in Windsor, England but now lives on the island of Crete, Greece, in a small village called Modi near the city of Chania. She has visited 32 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Her favourite country is Tanzania as she loves wildlife and was lucky enough to see ‘The Big Five”. She also loves Egypt, as ancient history intrigues her, the southern states of the US and the cities of Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans for music. She has a B.A. Honours degree in English and Drama from Westfield College, University of London. She has been writing for over 13 years and has 13 novels, 7 short stories and thousands of articles published.