Are you looking for the best things to do in Montpellier, France? This guide has you covered – keep reading!
Montpellier is one of the most popular destinations in Southern France and it definitely warrants a weekend escape!
This guide will touch upon the top Montpellier attractions, including museums, day trips, and more!
Did we miss any of the top landmarks in Montpellier? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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Best Montpellier Tours (to Maximize Your Time!)
If you’re looking for something more organized when in Montpellier and the surrounding area, here are some awesome Montpellier tours you should check out.
These tours will help you maximize your time, which is especially important if you only have a short amount of time in the city! We listed a variety so that you can pick which one is most suitable for you (and many include multiple places!):
- Wine & Food Day Trip to Pic Saint-Loup (top rated!)
- Day Trip to St. Guilhem le Desert and Moureze (great day trip)
- Montpellier Wine and Oyster Tour (popular tour!)
- The Châteaux of Grès de Montpellier & Wine Tasting
Best Things to Do in Montpellier
1. Go on a Wine and Food Day Trip to Pic Saint-Loup
Enjoy a half-day and day tour to enjoy a breathtaking voyage exploring the southern French countryside. The duration of the tour is approximately 4.5 hours.
The guide on-site will take you to explore the wonderful Montpellier countryside where visitors will visit two wineries in Pic Saint Loup, where visitors can also meet the winemakers.
An experience to remember is encountering a farm-to-table meal in a family home with a cozy atmosphere, where all of the products come from a nearby farm prepared by an expert cook, who is also the mother of the tour guide.
Participants of the tour will be greeted in their hotel or accommodation for the commented road trip.
Pic Saint Loup, a feature of Montpellier and a commune of the Coteaux du Languedoc, is the destination, located about 20 kilometers inland from the city.
2. Enjoy a Day Trip to St. Guilhem le Desert and Moureze
Outdoor lovers should enjoy a day trip to the beautiful St. Guilhem le Desert and Moureze to admire the stunning landscapes and old villages of the city with a guide on-site.
In small groups, participants of the tour will take a trip to the Mouréze village and discover its cirque with other-worldly rock formations.
Later during the day, tourists will drive to a breathtaking lake. You can have a picnic organized on-site.
In the afternoon, participants will admire the beautiful gorges and a medieval bridge which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In addition, visitors will go on a stroll in the medieval village, which is full of artsy shops.
During the day trip, breathtaking landscapes will be discovered. Travelers will get to know the natives of the region and take a stroll through the mesmerizing town.
3. Stroll Along Promenade du Peyrou
Located on the outskirts of the Ecusson neighborhood, Promenade du Peyrou is a well-known place among visitors.
Promenade du Peyrou has its own Arc de Triomphe, which is also known as Porte du Peyrou. It is a monument to the King of France Louis XIV and was built in 1690.
Visitors will also find a neoclassical water tower on the 18th-century aqueduct, which used to bring water to the city from the Saint-Clément spring over 14 kilometers away.
Peyrou Avenue also promises its visitors panoramic views of the city and of the ancient arches of a Roman aqueduct.
The development of the park ended in 1774, which was the date of the King’s accession to the throne.
4. Visit the Cathedrale St. Pierre
Cathedrale St. Pierre is a 16th-century church that is located close to the harbor of the capital city of Jacques Cartier.
The Gothic-style cathedral dates back to 1907 and stands out because of its European and local features in the design. It was known as one of Europe’s largest cathedrals that survived several collapses.
Visitors will learn about the ornate stone carvings, discover the stained glass windows, and find the oldest operating mechanical clock in Europe.
The St. Pierre Cathedral is also known for its old choir which was destroyed during the Revolution and was replaced in the 19th century.
The recommended duration of the tour in the church is 1 hour. The cathedral is open every day from 10:30 AM to 11:30 and reopens from 2:30 PM to 6 PM.
Address: Rue Saint-Pierre, 34000 Montpellier
5. Take a Day Trip to Cirque de Navacelles and Foux de la Vis
Discover beautiful landscapes and a spectacular gorge located in the department of Hérault with this Cirque de Navacelles Day Trip from Montpellier.
Visitors will travel to the historical village Navacelles and walk to an old mill located on the Moulin Faux de la Vis.
The duration of the tour is approximately eight hours with a live guide on site.
Participants of the tour will time travel to the old times while exploring the stunning old village of Navacelles and admiring the beautiful Cirque de Navacelles from the top of the Belvedere and Baume Auriol.
For some relaxing time, visitors can also take a seat next to the existing waterfall in the village.
A short, easy, and accessible hike (nearly an hour) is also on the list. From here, visitors will go to a mill that spans the Faux de la Vis waterfall.
6. Wander Around the Jardin des Plantes
Jardin des Plantes is a 75-acre botanical garden that was built almost 400 years ago in 1626 and acted as a medicinal herb garden.
The paradise-like garden holds many roses, irises, geraniums, peonies, and dahlias. The Alpine garden located there features 3,000 international species.
Visitors will also find Art Deco, which is a winter garden, as well as Mexican and Australian hothouses where people can find plants not seen in France.
However, the magical place is not only a garden. It also is home to Paris’ oldest zoo, The Menagerie, which is a vast wooded area covering several hectares.
While taking a stroll, visitors will find many animals that are housed in the buildings upon enclosures.
Visitors will also find a historic botanical school which was open since 1683 and educated many students to exchange seeds while maintaining the garden’s diversity.
The Natural History Museum is also a place where visitors jog, walk, and relax in nature.
7. Explore the L’Ecusson Area (Old Town)
Tour around Montpellier while discovering the Mediterranean ambiance. Stroll around Europe’s largest pedestrian areas where visitors will find many cafés and restaurants.
The city center is the Place de la Comédie, which is a medieval street. You will have the opportunity to tour all of Montpellier’s lovely townhomes, of which there are more than 200!
The église Saint Roch, église Saint Anne, or the renowned Arc de Triomphe are some of the city’s significant landmarks that you simply must see.
By visiting the town’s squares such as Saint Ravy Square, Jean Jaures Square, or Canourgue Square, you will get a taste of life in Southern France and enjoy their tradition of drinking apéritif.
Visitors can also discover the promenade Peyrou, which is a two-level park located at one of the highest points of the city where you can enjoy picturesque views of the Cevennes and the sea.
8. Hang Out at the Beach
Sea lovers must visit Montpellier’s attractive coastlines with many beaches and marinas.
When compared to the pebble coves and bays of nearby Provence, they are broad, straight, and sandy.
One of the most beautiful beaches is L’Espiguette, which is an 18-km-long beach covered in dunes and great waves crashing into the shoreline.
Visitors will also find a lighthouse built in 1869 for picturesque views.
For an extraordinary beach, head to Plage de la Grande Conque, which is covered in black sand and tucked into a volcanic rock cove in the Cap d’Agde.
The beaches of Petit Travers and the Grand Travers are ideal for long walks, paddling, water sports, or just relaxing with a drink at the Le Mistral bar.
Visit the special Plage de Maguelone, which is in a little French coastal town. Visitors will find a cathedral to the north of the beach that gives an amazing backdrop.
9. Check out Place de la Comédie
Visit one of Europe’s biggest pedestrian areas, Place de la Comédie, which is also known as The Egg due to its oval shape.
At the center of the square, visitors will find a fountain of the Three Graces which was built in 1790.
The square was built in the 18th century and was named for the Municipal Theatre, Opera Comedy.
It was burned down in 1785 and 1855, but it became the focal point of the city once the railway station Gare de Montpellier Saint-Roch was built.
Visitors will find many cafes and enjoy the different street art all over the central square. Shopping lovers will also find many stores around the center.
10. Discover the Aqueduct St. Clement
The Aqueduct of Montpellier is the largest hydraulic private project ever made in France.
It was built in the 18th century and brought water from the Saint-Clement spring to the water tower of Peyrou Park.
Engineers took 13 years to build the project. Some were even doubtful that the water would rise to the tower, but they were wrong.
The aqueduct is 800 meters long and has 53 arches on two levels, which bears a resemblance to the Roman design.
Thanks to its structure, it is possible to supply water to a number of fountains around the city.
Visitors will enjoy the history of the historic monument, which is today the pride of the region and the people of Montpellier.
11. Go Skating at Patinoire Vegapolis
For some fun, visitors of Montpellier can visit the Patinoire Vegapolis, which is a playful ice rink open every day. It is a great place to visit no matter how old you are.
Discover skating with family or friends on a sports track of 1800 m². The rink also provides skates for a low price.
Visitors will find two runways. One is a regular surface used for hockey and ice skating. The other is a more fun place where you can skate under some music, colorful light effects, and images on the wall.
There is also a ramp and a tunnel as well as two detours that lead to a variety of skating movements from just turning in the circle.
Address: Centre Commercial Régional, 1 Place de la Petite France, 34000 Montpellier
12. Tour the Chateau de Flaugergues
Located on the outskirts of the city, Chateau de Flaugergues is a country house famous for its antique furniture and collection of Flemish tapestries.
The house was built in 1696 and it took 45 years to give the house its present appearance. Visitors of Chateau de Flaugergues will get to see the estate’s beautiful gardens which are 25 hectares.
The Mediterranean climate is also good for balanced winemaking. Here, people can visit and stroll around the beautiful gardens.
Visitors can discover a collection of Italian romantic and Mediterranean citrus, bamboo, and palm trees.
The winery has an area dedicated to tourists by the name of the Oasis of Flaugergues. Wine enthusiasts will discover a variety of grapes such as Grenache, Marsanne, and Roussanne.
Visitors will not only experience authentic winemaking and its process but also an ancient era.
Address: 1744 Av. Albert Einstein, 34000 Montpellier
13. Visit the Hôtel de Varennes
Right in Paris’ historical district is the famous Hotel de Varennes. The hotel was a medieval private mansion where visitors can still find traces of the changes made in the 18th century.
The Gothic rooms on the ground floor are used as meeting rooms (Salle Pétrarque) and the mansion also houses the University of the Third Times.
In addition, many Gothic rooms with crossed rib vaulting are accessible through an entryway. Roman capitals and columns from the Church of Notre Dame des Tables are found in one of them.
The Montpellier local government uses the 14C Salle Pétrarque as a welcome hall. People can access the courtyard every day for free from 10 AM – 6 PM.
Address: 2 Pl. Pétrarque, 34000 Montpellier
14. Travel Back in Time at La Tour de la Babote
History enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to La Tour de la Babote which is a remnant of the old 12th-century fortifications surrounding the Ecusson.
The building has been listed as a historical monument since 1927. The tower became an observatory in 1745 and was owned by the Academy of Science from 1757 to 1761.
The main concern was to locate it in space in order to be able to refine their studies, hence the most precise coordinates were established.
Furthermore, it is also said that the inventor of the parachute tested his invention by throwing himself off the building.
In 1981, the Fédération d’Astronomie Populaire Amateur du Midi set up its headquarters there. This association still occupies this building with such special architecture.
Nowadays visitors can also find a small restaurant and courtyard in the area.
Address: 17 Bd de l’Observatoire, 34000 Montpellier
15. Explore the Fabre Museum
Fabre Museum was discovered by a Montpellier painter in 1825 and is now a must-see tourist site close to the city’s main square, the Place De la Comédie.
Ceramics from Greece and the rest of Europe are on display. The museum also houses a sizable collection of paintings from the 17th to the 19th century.
The Fabre Museum itself is a magnificent piece of artwork that cleverly combines traditional and modern design.
In its 9,200 m2 exhibition space, the museum now has around 800 pieces, 900 engravings, and 3,500 sketches.
The museum is open every day from 10 AM to 6 PM except for Mondays.
Address: 39 Bd Bonne Nouvelle, 34000 Montpellier
16. Marvel at Quartier Courrier
Quartier Courrier, which is located between Place Sainte Anne and Place Saint Roch, is an old mail district with long paved streets known for its traditional historic architecture of Montpellier.
The alley is one of the most beautiful ones in the city center and is definitely worth a walk. The street is paved with white stones and surrounded by refurbished old buildings.
Visitors will find many luxury accessory shops, decorations, and chic tea rooms.
Quartier Courrier is usually visited during day time since the streets become empty during nighttime, but it is worth a visit during nighttime as well since it offers a very nice show under the colorfully illuminated windows.
The street is also known for its three mansions- the Hotel Montcalm, the Hotel Lacour, and the Palais de Tournemire.
17. Indulge at Pastis Restaurant
Visit the city’s most popular eatery, Pastis Restaurant, where visitors will find it impossible to resist Daniel Lutrand’s cuisine with its top products and unusual ingredients such as barracuda.
The menu has some interesting choices such as the Candillargues chicken, served with artichoke and hazelnuts, as well as a “surprise” menu, which depends on the chef’s inspiration for the day.
The restaurant also offers a variety of wines according to your wishes such as Coteaux du Languedoc, the Gigondas, and many others.
They have three types of menus: a lunch menu that costs 30 EUR and includes a starter, main course, and dessert, a regular menu that costs 45 EUR and includes a starter, main course, and dessert plus a food and wine pairing, and an evening menu that costs 72 EUR and includes several dishes and a food and wine pairing.
Address: 3 Rue Terral, 34000 Montpellier
18. See an Opera in Montpellier
Montpellier is known for having two opera houses where the Montpellier Occitania National Opera Orchestra performs.
With 93 musicians and a choir of 31 singers, the opera has a very wide repertoire where they choose the best venue according to the program and it being operatic or symphonic.
The concerts and shows performed by the Opéra Orchestre Montpellier mainly take place in Montpellier’s two most important theaters.
The Opéra Comédie is an Italian-style theater built in 1888 with a capacity of 1,200 spectators distributed across five levels.
Opened in 1990, the Opéra Berlioz is located within the Corum at the Palais des Congrès in Montpellier.
The Orchestre National Montpellier Occitanie was founded in 1989 and has grown dramatically over the course of its 40-year existence, making it one of the most vibrant orchestras in French music today.
19. See the Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe is a must-see heritage site designed by François D’Orbay and built in 1692 on the site of one of the gates of old ramparts.
The ceremonial entrance represents the authority of royalty to enter the equestrian statue honoring King Louis XIV.
Built on one of the highest points of the city, at an altitude of 52 meters, it gave access to the Puy d’Arquinel in Peyrou.
The monument has been recognized as a historical monument since 1954. It was renovated in 2003.
Visitors will also notice the four medallions sculpted in honor of the king’s highlights as well as the royal coat of arms in the blue color that represents France.
20. Check out Art at La Panacée
La Panacée is a Center for Contemporary Culture located in the downtown area and is a museum as well as an art gallery.
Art lovers visit the museum to view the beautiful artworks and learn more about contemporary art.
The museum is relatively new since it opened in 2013. The museum’s goal is to find and support specialists with an eye toward empowering new imaginative practices in a developing world.
Once upon a time, the historic site was a former Royal College of Medicine.
The museum is an exhibition space as well as a lifestyle hub where many artists, students, and tourists can get to know each other and exchange ideas.
Entry to the museum is free of charge for people of all ages.
Address: 14 Rue de l’École de Pharmacie, 34000 Montpellier
21. Photograph Place de la Canourgue
If you visit Montpellier, you must check out Place de la Canourgue, which is the oldest and among the most beautiful places in the city, filled with mansions that date back to the 17th century.
The square was built over the ruins of a church. In 1129, Guilhen VI, Lord of Montpellier chose to build his palace and an oratory on the future site of Canourgue Street.
Visitors will also find the Fountain of Unicorns, which was built in 1776 and transferred to the square in 1863.
The fountain consists of unicorns and sea horses struggling, as well as a human figure.
Nowadays, people can take a relaxing stroll in the historic square and see the replacement for the stone column of the True Cross, which was destroyed in 1791.
22. Admire Pavillon Populaire
Art lovers must visit the Pavillon Populaire, which is a venue of exceptional quality located in the center of Montpellier on the Grand Place next to the Place de la Comédie.
The Pavillon Populaire is a photography art venue with international recognition since the late ’90s.
The venue offers three new exhibitions per year, which are European premieres and it presents works by local and international artists.
The Renaissance-style building that was built in 1891 features numerous sculptures, and its interior design consists of a very large hall, several offices, a library, a conference room, gymnasiums, and a billiard room.
Many of these rooms were designed by famous painters of the city. The Pavillon Populaire provides free access to everyone.
Things to Do in Montpellier (On a Map!)
Where to Stay in Montpellier
If you’re looking for where to stay in Montpellier, here are some of the top picks!
- Domaine de Biar (has an outdoor pool!)
- Hotel du Palais (excellent location!)
- Privilege Hotel (in the center!)
- Hotel Royal
Did we miss any of the best things to do in Montpellier?
Let us know your favorite places to visit in Montpellier in the comments! Thanks!
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Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.