What’s urban life like in Montpellier?

Summary of the township

The historic center of Montpellier is called the Crest. This name is due to its shaped shield, medieval shield, and heraldic symbol. The historical center is very strongly marked today in Montpellier, which was built because it remained the heart of the city since the beginning of 13th century and has not suffered heavy destruction (apart from those churches during the religious wars) unlike the suburbs which have been completely destroyed many of times between the 14th and 17th centuries.

It is limited by a series of boulevards, which follow the route of the ancient walls of the city, as is the case for the majority of European cities. These massive fortifications remain, despite being partly dismantled on order of Richelieu after the siege of 1622.

There are currently only two significant elements left:

  1. The tower, Babotte, has long been an astronomical observatory. It provides access to the Old City, near the formerly middle-class neighborhoods. Originally, the tower was like the tower of Pines and was not even break a door. In its shadow were large ovens Note 1 of the city.
  2. The tower of the Pines, which in turn served as a refuge for Catholics during the wars of religion, and women’s prison in the 19th century and depot municipal archives until 2000. It is also subject to the prophecies of Nostradamus. The astrologer announced that Montpellier would perish in flames the day the pines had its styling removed. This prediction was considered during the last restoration of the building, which involved uprooting pine, something that the City has not failed to install some cedars in pots.

The door located at the mouth of the street of the University (door Salinière) is not medieval; medieval enclosure doors were always topped towers. It was built in the aesthetic of the late 18th century. In the 17th century, on the same line of the ancient fortification, the Triumphal Arch was built for opening the old city on the gardens of Peyrou, who replaces him as the old medieval door.

The number of known monuments of the city is surprisingly low given its rich history, and considering that it was largely ignored and consequently very little developed. All the old castles and palaces that the city have disappeared, mostly voluntarily destroyed by the inhabitants; the main palace was at the location of the courthouse.

The great wealth of Montpellier, therefore, lies mainly in its entire buildings: the vast majority of buildings Crest is of medieval origin, and although very few have not been revised since the Middle Ages, quite simply opens visitor’s eyes to see a typically medieval form of windows and hundreds of vaulted rooms, much of which are medieval. Almost all of the center’s buildings are on solid bases from medieval, not modern era.

Beautiful structures

These architectures are among the most beautiful and heritage elements of Montpellier:

  • Hotel Jacques Heart, the seat of Languedoc Museum, a building of the 15th century which has beautiful painted beams plus a monumental staircase in the 17th century. The museum also has many historical objects of importance.
  • The Saint-Pierre cathedral, still standing despite all the attacks it has suffered, dates back to 14th century. His famous porch is unique. The remaining part of the cloister of the monastery which is still contiguous is sublime.
  • Rue du Bras de Fer, both as a whole and for the famous arms that date back to the 15th century or medieval arch.
  • The Varennes hotel that has many medieval architectural elements clearly identifiable.
  • The mikveh medieval (or ritual bath Hebrew) dating back to the end of the 12th century. With its synagogue and other adjacent areas, the assembly thus formed is unique in Europe. The site is the subject of archaeological excavations.
  • The Aqueduct St. Clement called “The Arches” on his arrival in Montpellier, built by Henri Pitot (1695-1771), restorer of the Pont du Gard and inventor of the tube bearing his name.


Since 2001, the town of Montpellier is officially divided into seven districts, themselves divided into sub-districts. Each has a neighborhood council and a deputy mayor delegate.

The Montpellier center area includes the historical center (Crest), Comedy, Stations in Faubourg Boutonnet, St. Charles, Faubourg Saint-Jaume, Peyrou, The Arches, Figuerolles Faubourg du Courreau, Gambetta, Clemenceau, Mediterranean, Boulevard de Strasbourg, The Triangle, Polygon, Antigone, New World Park balloons, Dawns, The Fine Arts, Saint-Lazare.

It is the historical and economic heart of the city of Montpellier and concentrates the bulk of the work. There are many commercial and cultural areas: the former Grand Imperial High School (now Joffre school), the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Law, as well as a bustling nightlife.

It hosts a population belonging to the urban socio-professional categories; fairly wealthy families or students looking for a studio near universities and the vibrant the station district is the nerve center of the transport system of the city is served by four lines tram and more than half of the city’s bus lines.

The Cross Silver district includes avenue de Toulouse, Silver Cross, Mas Drevon, Tastavin, Lemasson Garosud, Mas de Bagneres, Mas Nouguier, the Sabines, Lepic, Pas du Loup, Estanove, Val-de-Crozes Bagatelle, Paul Valéry. This area is located southwest of the city of Montpellier and experiencing significant growth with the development of many precincts.

The district Cévennes includes The Cevennes, Alco, Le Petit Bard, Pergola, San Clemente, Clémentville, Las Rebes, The Chamberte, La Martelle, Montpellier Village, The Grisettes, Les Grèzes.

This predominantly residential area, hosts the middle classes of Montpellier, except Petit Bard, which remains a particularly deprived area. The neighborhood Mosson includes: Celleneuve, La Paillade, Hauts-de-Massane Le Grand-Mail, The Tritons.

Hauts-de-Massane, located in the northwest outskirts of the city, has long been the poorest in Montpellier. Today, the exponential development of Hauts-de-Massane welcoming residential area of the middle class and progressive redevelopment of the neighborhood Paillade (creation of green spaces and commissioning of two lines of Tramway) slightly improved living conditions of its inhabitants, but the strong contrast with other areas of the city appears clearly.

The district of Hospitals-Faculties includes Malbosc, Saint-Priest, Euromédecine, Zolad, Plan 4 Lords, Hospitals, IUT, Father Soulas, Universities, Vert-Bois, Hauts de Boutonnet, Aiguelongue, Justice, zoo Lunaret , Agropolis.

This area is mainly residential and also hosts numerous academic and large public spaces infrastructure (zoo, sports hall etc.).

The neighborhood Port-Marianne includes The Pompignane, Richter , Millennium, Jacques Heart, Marianne Park, Rive Gauche, Consuls de Mer, Grammont, Odysseum, Montaubérou, The Méjanelle, The Mogère.

This neighborhood, yet non-existent 50 years ago is expanding. Commercial infrastructure it developed massively and many buildings are under construction there. Three of the four tram lines in the city are run and make attractive commercial spaces that develop there.

The Prés d’Arenes includes Les Prés d’Arenas, Avenue de Palavas, La Rauze, Tournezy, St. Martin, The Aiguerelles, Pont-Trinquat, Mion City

This neighborhood located south of Montpellier is mainly residential. The A9 motorway and the motorway Montpellier Carnon make a “gateway” of Montpellier.


In 2009 the municipality had 146,567 units, of which 5,320 were second homes and occasional homes, and nearly 13,000 vacant houses. In the 1960s, the number of total housing was three times lower (56,274 units in 1968). Nearly 85% of dwellings are apartments.

Each residence contains, on average, 3 rooms. We must admit that housing is particularly expensive in Montpellier and, in addition, local taxes, making it one of the most expensive cities in France, except for the northwestern outskirts.

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