The vibrant and cultural city of Montpellier
Approximately an hour drive from the Al Fresco Languedoc campsites is the vibrant student city of Montpellier.
Whether you are looking for a great spot for shopping, some incredible sight seeing opportunities or just fancy visiting a city with plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy, Montpellier has more than enough diverse culture and exuberant atmosphere to satisfy any holiday maker.
If driving, park in the Place de la Comédie, which is the main focal point of the city (it is also accessible from the train station via the tram network). The Place de la Comédie is one of the largest pedestrian areas in Europe, named ‘The Egg’ due it its original oval shape, this is now represented with marble tiling in the shape of an egg on the floor at the foot of la Comédie Opera house. With its impressive architecture, opera house (after which it is named), water fountains and statue of the three Graces, Place de la Comédie is the perfect place to begin your day.
On market days the Place de la Comedie is lined as far as the eye can see with stalls selling a fine selection of clothes, bags, leather goods and much more. Browse along the boulevard and it will bring you to a beautiful fountain with many cafes and bars to stop for an expresso or glass of wine.
A great way to experience the highlights of the old town is the ‘Petite Train’ (7euros for adults). The tour takes you through the avenues of shops, past various historic squares and under the ‘Arc de Triumph’ (based on the arc in Paris) to the highest point of the old city with its picturesque lawns and ornate statues. From this point you can gaze out along the skyline as you listen to the informative and entertaining audio guide (available in many languages).
The city of Montpellier has a great diversity in terms of cuisine, compared to other towns in the immediate area. From Japanese sushi to Spanish Tapas, there is a great selection of foods, due to the varied nationalities of the students the university attracts. In the small side roads surrounding the Place de la Comedie many small bistros and restaurants attract students and tourists alike or explore further a field and you will come across plenty of squares where you can dine Al Fresco, sheltered by the shade of the trees.
For keen shoppers, there is a variety of well known stores (h&m, mango) as well as charming little boutiques and larger department stores. There are plenty of French brands of clothing and jewellery, ranging greatly in price. Due to the young inhabitants of the city, the style is alternative, fresh and cosmopolitan, which is reflected in the fashion available.
Public transport in Montpellier is a sight seeing opportunity in itself. Its comprehensible series of trams are individual art pieces, beautifully designed with bright patterns and colours. For 2.50 Euros return you can move easily around the large city in style.
Whether you are traveling by car or train, a day out to the city of Montpellier gives you the opportunity to experience a whole different nature of French culture and atmosphere.
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