Montpellier – France’s second gay city
One of my favourite cities for some Autumn sunshine is Montpellier in the south of France. Not just because it boasts 300 days of sunshine every year but also because it exudes a youthful dynamic vibe like no other French city I know. Maybe its because the university brings the average age down to under 25 for half the population but unlike your average UK city you won’t see groups of lads and gals off their faces on drink binges on a Saturday night. Just lots of very civilized young people eating, drinking and socializing alfresco with their friends.
Founded in the eighth century, Montpellier is a relative newcomer compared to its ancient neighbours – Nimes, Arles and Beziers. Today it is one of France’s fastest growing metropolitan centres with bold new architecture which has been carefully added to its medieval bones.
The beach is also not far away (about 25 minutes drive and there are also buses). Choose from gay, nudist, speedo style and family.
Montpellier is also often referred to as France’s second GAY CITY after Paris. Our Montpellier insider, Pierre Migayrou, who owns Montpellier’s best GAY FRIENDLY B&B house has shared his top tips with us of things to see and do.
Places to eat and drink in Montpellier recommended by Pierre:
- LE PETIT JARDIN. This is his favourite. Both a restaurant and wine bar with abeautiful garden and great food.
- CHEZ BORIS. This restaurant come wine bar has the atmosphere of a littletavern.
- PLAYFOOD. Just a bar but very new and original.
- The counter of the Arc. A very relaxed and reasonably priced Brasserie in a very beautiful part of Montpellier.
- PASTIS. Very elegant cuisine. – RESERVE RIMBAUD. Simply excellent restaurant but you will need a car because it is on the banks of the Lez. Etoilé.
Other places to eat in Montpellier
- Lunch on the run: Pain et Cie at 4 Jean Jarais.
- A splurge meal: MAISON DE LA LOZERRE. Grand old establishment resturant.
- Affordable relaxed try Mesdames et Messiers.
Things to do and see in Montpellier
- The food market at Les Halles in the Place Castellene.
- Rue St- Guillem with its kitchen shops, chocolatier, cheese shop and local wine store.
- MUSEE FABRE: European paintings from 17th century to the present day.
- A walk through the Botantical garden – the oldest of its kind in France.
- Hire one of 1200 bikes available from Velomagg and explore one of Montpellier’s many cycling trails.
- Christmas shopping ! The Chrsitmas Market is held throughout December on the Place de la Comedie.
- The new AQUARIUM. For big kids too and includes a simulated storm at sea.
- The LARGEST TROPICAL GREENHOUSE in France containing birds, animals and insects and plants from the Amazon basin.
Most people stay in Montpellier for two or three night but why not stay longer, hire a car and tour the Languedoc area. Further Afield has several stunning places nearby so you can do both town and country in one hit.
- LE GRAND HERMITAGE: Luxury villas for two with pool: 30 mins from Montpellier.
- CLOS DU MUSSANNE: Boutique guest house with pool and great food: 30 mins from Montpellier – photo below.
If you would like someone to join up the dots across the Languedoc, meet you at the airport in a classic jaguar with a bottle of bubbly in the back and take you on a tour of your own making, then we can recommend Barbara and Rocky who provide bespoke tours through their holiday company – LA PAUSE PARFAITE. They will work with you to create whatever your heart desires whether it is great wine and food, sailing or just relaxing on the beach. Perfect for a special occasion for the time poor and very very romantic. They are also the owners of the beautiful and luxurious LE GRAND HERMITAGE VILLAS.
Getting to Montpellier from the UK: Easy jet fly from Leeds and Birmingham and Ryan Air fly from Luton and Gatwick.