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  • Coastline Mediaeval/modern melange
  • Coast life Wine, history and song

Young, vibrant, prosperous, Montpellier in Languedoc-Roussillon basks in southern sunshine.

The university town is an attractive meeting of old – mansions, monuments, churches – and new, typified by the bold Antigone residential quarter. The vast Place de la Comédie, known as L’Oeuf, is a good starting point for a traipse through the Old Town’s winding streets. Whether you’re drawn to its artistic and architectural heritage or the varied gastro scene, this compact boom town is easy to love.

Do go/Don’t go

The beaches are bustling in summer, when the festival season brings beats to the streets. Montpellier by no means shuts down during the rest of the year.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes The airport is six miles out of town. A taxi to the centre is about €20; the 15-minute bus trip to a tram stop in the new town is €4 | 80.
  • Trains There’s a speedy (three-hour) TGV link with Paris. The main station is a walk or tram ride from the Place de la Comédie.
  • Automobiles You’re better off on foot within the old town: swathes have been pedestrianised | and one-way ruelles are maddening for motorists. But for a jaunt to the coast or into the countryside | a hire car or moped is a good alternative to the bus network.
  • Taxis You’re unlikely to need a cab, since these streets were made for strolling, and there’s a shiny tramway linking the station, Place de la Comédie and the Eighties-built new town, Antigone. But if you need one to get to the beach nightclubs, you’ll have to call, so ask the hotel, or try +33 4 67 92 04 55.