Overlooked by many British visitors to France, the city of Montpellier is an elegant, sensual and subversive city that offers those who venture here unexpected sensory pleasures. Talk to any local and they will tell you that if you want to capture what Montpellier is all about arrive at Place de la Comedie early in the morning and watch the city awaken.
Montpellier is where old meets new, in the most extreme of ways, not only does it have the oldest centre in France, but in the Antigone district you will find the modern city sweeping all the way to the River Lez. Here you will find Port Marianne, a boatless area peppered with bars and exclusive eateries.
The city centre is car-less, its rues snaking between beautiful historic buildings, bars, jewellers, coffee shops and little squares – the majority of which form a perfect shelter from the Mediterranean sun. The sea is just 5 miles away.
Hire a Velomagg bike (http://www.tam-voyages.com) and meander along the cycle path that hugs the River Lez, pass through Vineyards that are a feature of Languedoc (the region produces more wine that Australia) and skirt around lakes all the way to the beach. On the way spot flamingos and take in a glass of wine in Palavas-les-Flots.
There is so much see and feel in Montpellier, our recommendations not to miss include visiting the Arc de Triomphe, Musee Fabre, Promenade de Peyrou and the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle. If you have the time the Jardin des Plantes, the oldest botanical gardens in France, is well worth a visit.
We would also recommend the Burger et Blanquette restaurant, perfect for both adults and children. The restaurant on the Rue Rosset, near the Musee Fabre, offers a lovely summer terrace and great food.
For holiday homes to rent in Languedoc, check out our Gites in Languedoc section.