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Montpellier France French Destinations

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With the average age of the locals set at a mere 25 years old, thanks to the presence of 60,000 university students, it comes as no surprise that Montpellier is a lively and energetic town. The university was set up in the 13th century and has a famous medical faculty, founded in the early 12th century, that the town is particularly proud of.

http://www.ot montpellier.fr/http://www.ot montpellier.fr/ Official tourist site for Montpellier.

Montpellier began life as an important trading town, with merchants from Greece, Egypt, Spain, Italy and France converging here to do business. It was sold to France in 1349 and suffered much for being a Protestant stronghold during the 17th century but, in spite of these setbacks, Montpellier continues to be a dynamic and innovative city, attracting many visitors. In July and August the tourists replace the students and the residents are at the beach, so the atmosphere is not quite the same as during term time.

When you arrive in Montpellier by train you will be at the gare SNCF, next to the gare routière, on the south end of rue Maguelone that connects the stations to the main place de la Comédie (nicknamed "L'Oeuf"). Montpellier airport, called Montpellier Méditerranée, is 8km southeast of town and several companies offer cheap flights to Montpellier. Buses run between the gare routière and the airport every quarter of an hour (€4.55). Parking can be problematic in town because it is largely pedestrianized in the centre, so try your luck further out at Antigone to the east near the Hôtel de Ville. This does mean, however, that the small centre is an easy place to explore on foot.

Rue de la Loge and rue Foch were built during the 1880s when Montpellier underwent a modernization similar to the one initiated by Haussmann in Paris. Jean Moulin, the Resistance hero, died at 21 rue de la Loge. There are narrow streets on both sides of these large roads, which in turn lead out to the boulevards around the edge. The 17th and 18th century mansions in this area are a tribute to the inhabitants' wealth. Examples include the Hôtel de Varenne on place Pétrarque, which mixes Gothic and Romanesque architecture and now houses the Musée du Vieux Montpellier and Musée Fougau (local, Languedoc and Occitan history; both free), and the Hôtel St Côme, which housed the first anatomy theatre for the city's medical students. The Musée Fabre, 39 boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, was founded in 1825 and has a great collection of art from Raphael, Delacroix and other important artists, but is closed for renovation until late 2006.