What to see in Montpellier
de la Comédie
This huge square (18th Century) is the heart if the city. Sometimes known
as l'œuf, owing to its egg shapped central roundabout around which
traffic once circulated until it was pedestrianised, it is the most lively
part of town.
Finding the Place from the train station is simple enough : walk
out of the train station and take rue Maguelone which leads to Place de
Promenade du Peyrou
Laid out in 1689 by d'Aviler, the Promenade's two tiers of terraces were built at Montpellier's highest point to provide an impressive setting for festivals and a commemorative equestrian statue of Louis XIV.
Erected in 1718, it didn't survive the revolution (no surprise there)
and it was replaced by a guillotine. In 1839 the present statue was erected,
a smaller version of the original.
Arc de Triumph
triumphal arch was built in honour of Louis XIV in 1691 by Daviler upon
the site of Western city side medieval gate. Medalions depict important
events during the king's reign. On the city side, you see the Canal du
Midi connecting the Ocean and the Mediterranean and the revocation of
the Edict of Nantes which outlawed Protestantism.
MAGNO LXXII ANNOS REGNANTE
Tour de la Babote
A large medieval corner tower. In occitan, babota means an insect larvae or a silk worm chrysalis. The name is deemed to have unappealing connotations which some people believe is in keeping with the tower's appearance. Was it considered somehow more impregnable and threatening than the others. In 1739 the Société Royale des Sciences constructed an observatory.
Faculté de Médicine
medical school occupies the former monastery of Saint Benoit. Founded
in 1220 the school is one of the oldest in the world. Rabelais was a student
here in 1530.
Jardin des Plantes
botanical garden, said to be the oldest in France, was planted in 1593.
The reservoir at the southern gate was constructed in early 19th century
to distribute water from the Peyrou.
hosts two impressive collections of art. One is the Collection Atger,
2, rue de l'Ecole de Médecine , next to the cathedral inside the
Faculté de Medicine. It contains drawings and sketches by Fragonard,
Watteau, Donatello and Caravaggio.
du Vieux Montpellier, place Pétrarque, contains traditional
costumes of the region, local crafts and varios pieces of furniture
Languedocien, rue Jacques-Cœur, exhibits church sculptures from
nearby villages and prehistoric objects and classical artifacts from ancient
Rome and Egypt.
just the other side of the Polygone shopping mall, the new quarter of
Montpellier is a neo-classical development of flats, offices, hotels and
shops. The project was launced in 1979 and conceived by Catalan architect,
Ricardo Bofill.The devlopment follows the philosophy of the city's Maire,
George Frêche, who wants the city to develop towards the Lez which
was responsible for its expansion in medieval times.