Monday, March 23, 2009
Top destination 2009, Montpellier France
Montpellier is found in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, 10 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean. Montpellier has a reputable university, which has played a large part in the town itself, keeping it young and vibrant. It is quite a sizable town, with more than 250,000 inhabitants, and is said to be the fasting growing city in France. nice, clean, attractive city,
there are several interesting places to visit in Montpellier. There are numerous fountains, gardens, buildings and monuments to discover as you explore - many not in themselves especially important, but each contributing to the appeal of the city as a whole. The focus of the city is around the large open, tree-lined areas of the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle and the Place de la Comedie, and in the narrow streets of the old town to the north and west of these boulevards.
The exuberant 'Opera comedie' stands at one end of the Place de la Comedie, with the Fontaine
des Trois Graces in front of it. The oval shaped Place de la Comedie and surrounding boulevards contain some impressive and grand 19th century townhouses. Montpellier old town is known as the Ecusson district, and falls within the boulevards that were construted in the 19th century and stand where the original fortifications for the town once stood - little remains of these original walls now, except for two ancient towers. Another feature you will notice at the edge of the old town is the 17th century arc de triomphe.
Highlights in the town include
- the 14th century Cathedral of Saint Peter, with its unusual two towered entranceway
- a 17th century aqueduct, stretching almost a kilometre across the city
- the Porte du Peyrou, (the arc de triomphe) , entering into...
- the botanical gardens (France's oldest botanical garden, dating from the 16th century), now a classified historic monument and very pleasant to visit. garden enthusiasts will be pleased to find several other interesting gardens around Montpellier, including the Jardin de Poitiers - a
recreated medieval garden around the ruins of an old church
-the ancient convent of the Ursulines
- enthusiasts of the great Flemish masters of painting will want to visit the Fabre Museum, which houses a very fine collection of oil paintings
Be sure to take a walk around the contemporary Antigone region of Montpellier. It is a carefully designed, 'very modern meets not-quite classical' part of the town that has a style that I've not seen anywhere else, and is both interesting and very effective. There are a few places in Montpellier where you can see a mountain in the distance to the north of the city. This is called the Pic du Loup and is visible from much of the Herault department. A large part of the city centre is pedestrianised, so try and park slightly outside and walk in.
The Festival de Radio France et Montpellier is a summer festival of opera and music held in Montpellier. The music festival concentrates on classical music and jazz with about 100 events, including opera, concerts, films, and talks. Most of these events are free and are held in the historic courtyards of the city or the modern concert halls of Le Corum. Le Corum cultural and conference centre contains 3 auditoriums.
Montpellier is served by railway, including TGV trains. Montpellier's main railway station is St Roch. The Montpellier-Méditerranée Airport is located in the area of Fréjorgues, in the town of Mauguio, southeast of Montpellier. The TaM (Transports de l'agglomération de Montpellier) manages the city's public transportation, including its tramway network consisting of 2 lines and several parking facilities. Line 1 runs from Mosson in the west to Odysseum in the east. Line 2 runs from Jacou in the northeast to St. Jean-de-Vedas in the southwest. They intersect at Gare St. Roch station, Place de l'Europe and again in front of the Corum. Work on Line 3, which is planned to be in service by 2012, will start in the near future. This 22.4 km (13.9 mi) line will link Juvenac and Perols with a branch to Lattes and will serve 32 stations.
Airports near Montpellier:
Avignon airport at 117 km
Marseille airport at 148 km
Montpellier airport at 10 km
Nimes airport at 61 km
Perpignan airport at 146 km