Things to do in Montpellier in 1 day.
03 January 2022
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Montpellier is a small town, but it is definitely worth a visit. We saw everything important before 15.00. The apartment we rented is situated next to the Saint-Clement aqueduct, from which we began our Montpellier tour.
In the end of the XVII century, domestic wells and several public fountains in the city were not sufficient to supply enough water to the citizens of Montpellier. Thus, the city administration decided to deliver water from the springs of Saint-Clement and Bulidou to Montpellier.
This brilliant idea wasn’t implemented until 1751, when the city council ordered a hydraulic engineer Henri Pitot to build an aqueduct. On June 13, 1753, a special ceremony celebrated the beginning of twelve years of work required to build fourteen kilometers of the aqueduct.
Inspired by the Roman architecture, Pitot designed the final section of the aqueduct, consisting of a double row of arcades. The aqueduct, a technical and an aesthetic masterpiece, was ready for use on December 7, 1765.
We follow to the royal square Promenade du Peyrou, we pass through the triumphal arch and enter the central part of the city.
Cathedral of Saint Peter
If you are in Montpellier, I definitely recommend you to take a walk to the Cathedral of Saint Peter. The cathedral is simply breathtaking. We were not allowed to go inside, as worship was been held there, and we clearly looked just like curious tourists.
St. Peter’s Basilica was originally the chapel of the convent school of Saint-Benoit Saint-Germain, founded in 1364 by the Pope Urban V. This church was built as a cathedral in 1536, when the episcopal see was moved from Magelone to Montpellier. The cathedral suffered from numerous attacks by the Protestants during the wars of religion. In 1856, the structure of the cathedral was used as a model for the fathers of the Society for Foreign Missions of Paris in the construction of the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Malacca, Malaysia.
A must-see highly recommendable in Montpellier is the Fabre Museum. Entrance on the first Sunday of each month is free. Normally, admission fee is about 10 euros (varies depending on exhibitions and the time of the year). Fabre museum is an art museum with lots of important paintings, it might be also interesting for those who are not keen on arts.
Reproduction (1570) of one of the most faithful copies of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment by Marcello Venusti (1549). Thus, the painting does not take into account the 1564 nudity censorship and details that were deemed unacceptable.
Giovanni Paolo Pannini. Ancient ruins (1733). The painting represents a fantastic landscape that unites several monuments in Rome and Italy.
Next to the museum the Comedy Square is situated – the main square of Montpellier. It was first mentioned in 1755 and named after the opera house located on the square.
In 1755, the first theater was built on this site, which was destroyed because of several fires. The current theater was built in Italian style and opened its doors in 1888. It has been a historical monument since 2020.
This is how ends our tour of Montpellier. Montpellier is a lovely and interesting town and you can see all the important places in one day in relaxed pace.
Where to eat in Montpellier
- Assiette aux Fromages
I can definitely recommend this restaurant. This place deserves a special attention. It’s a homely little restaurant but! This is a gastronomic paradise. French cuisine is one of my favorites (please, forgive me, mussels and shrimps!) and we were looking for a restaurant with a “simple” French cuisine. And we were not wrong choosing this place! This lovely family-run restaurant has been serving its clients for over 40 years, you will be served by an elderly French couple – there are only two of them for the kitchen and the restaurant. You need to take this into account and be patient, as the service will not be fast. They also don´t understand English, Spanish, or … French (or our pronunciation needs some improvement), but the Google translator helped us, I just showed them the phone screen. But all these small things are not worth worrying about compared to what you receive!
The specialty of this restaurant is fondue. We never tried the cheese fondue in two times we were there, but we did try a meat fondue – Burgundy fondue or Bourguignon. What is the Burgundy fondue? You are served with pieces of raw beef you put in a boiling oil and cook it according to your taste. They put green onion in the pod with oil so that the oil doesn´t burn. Meat is served with six different sauces, mashed potatoes and vegetable.
The next day we tasted duck breast (my must-have in any French restaurant) and burgundy beef fillet accompanied with a mushroom sauce – all home-cooked and very delicious. Keep in mind that in France you will have to pay about 20 euros per dish.
- La coquille
French cuisine restaurant made from very fresh and quality ingredients. Home and healthy food.
- La Bistrote
Good value for money. Interesting menu options and beautifully presented dishes. Apparently, the chef is doing his job with knowledge and creativity. Dishes for every taste: meat, vegetables, fish and seafood.
- The duck
As a duck lover I could not avoid recommending this place. Restaurant that specializes in duck dishes in any shape or form!
Know my recipe of duck magret here!