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A Day in Montpellier

By: Cityseeker
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Opéra Comédie

Opéra Comédie is an Italian-style opera house that was built in 1888. Constructed in an elegant, classical style, the building's foyer has a marble staircase and surrounding statues. Inside, the stage is set off by a beautiful gilded ceiling that has gorgeous, detailed paintings. Attending a performance here is not only a rewarding cultural experience, but a treat for the senses. Opéra Comédie presents choral and symphonic concerts in addition to its opera performances. Check website for a complete schedule of upcoming events.

Montpellier, France
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Musée du Vieux-Montpellier

Come to the Museum of Old Montpellier to get to know Montpellier better and discover the tumultuous and peaceful past of the city. The museum's abundant collection includes furnishings, objects and clothing from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the French Revolution. It's the opportunity to learn about the gradual transformation of the city once called Mont Pestelario in the 13th Century. If the prosperous capital of the Languedoc still carefully conserves many architectural features of its past, only a visit to this museum lets one truly immerse oneself in the history of the city.

Montpellier, France
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Galerie de l'Ancien Courrier

The gallery of the Ancien Courrier mostly exhibits works done by artists from the south of France like Jean Rudel. So the midday sunshine is celebrated in this gallery run by Danielle Benzima and Martine Mongin. This spring Philipe Vercellotti holds the place of honor. This painter from Toulouse shows us his world, that of boiterie: a bric a brac composed of boxes, phials, toys, boats. In effect it is an organized pile, in which the trompe l'œil technique is used. Furthermore you will find this gallery situated in the Rue de l'Ancien Courrier, hence the name, in the Écusson quartier, the historical heart of Montpellier. So you can continue your visit of the city in this quartier made up of narrow, winding alleysways.

Montpellier, France
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Esplanade Charles-De-Gaulle

This wide promenade extends from the Place de la Comédie up to the rose-colored Corum building. Trees and fountains welcome those seeking to escape the summer heat or bustle of the city center. The far end of the esplanade looks out across the northern district of the city and the stairs leading up to the roof of the Corum offer an even wider panorama. On the west side of the esplanade is the Musée Fabre while to the east is the museum's pavilion and the Champ de Mars gardens - within this space are several contemporary statues (notably Baldini's Le Vent) as well as classical ones. The mini-train and horse-drawn carriages also use the esplanade as their point of departure for tours of the city.

Montpellier, France
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Pavillon Populaire

Pavillon Populaire de Montpellier is a photography art gallery that is open to the public. It exhibits work of well-known artists both national and international. Three exhibitions are held annually. Some of the famous artists that exhibit their work are Brassai, Bernard Plossu Patrick Tosani or Tuggener. Besides the photographs, the museum also houses a great collection of sculptures and fine art. This photographic gallery functions under the direction of Gilles Mora, and it's easy to appreciate his keen eye for great artworks.

Montpellier, France
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Musée Fabre

This museum is housed in an old high school that once was a former Jesuit college during the 15th and 16th centuries. Today the museum displays paintings of major European artists and schools of the 15th-18th Centuries, including Ingres, Véronèse, Courbet and Brueghel. There is a major collection of the works of Bazille, a painter from Montpellier whose rich family lived in a large townhouse on the rue Jean Moulin and whose fortune supported other painters including Monet (1840-1926). There are also sculptures, ceramics and contemporary works by Degas and Nicolas de Staël (1914-1955).

Montpellier, France
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Porte du Peyrou

Standing on one end of the Jardin de Peyrou, this triumphal arch is one of the city's most impressive sights. Modeled after the Porte Saint-Denis in Paris, the Porte du Peyrou in Montpellier was designed by François Dorbay and completed in 1693. Large bas-relief panels were added to the outside of the structure in 1715 to commemorate the achievements of King Louis XIV. A small door under the vaulted archway provides access to the interior of the monument and a staircase winds up to the rooftop terrace for a magnificent view of the city.

Montpellier, France
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Musée d'Anatomie

The anatomical conservatory was created in 1794 within the oldest medical faculty in France. It houses an important collection of rare specimens, monstrosities and dissected anatomical organs which make it a real house of horror for the uninitiated. You can also visit the surgical theater built in 1806 and wander around the vast premises of the medical faculty on the steps of François Rabelais. The statue of this great 16th-century writer, author of Gargantua, and famous doctor, is found in the nearby botanical gardens.

Montpellier, France
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Quartier Antigone

The success of Quartier Antigone, built during the 1980s remains much debated. The stone-colored concrete edifices are the work of architect Ricardo Bofill and the whole development has been described as a parody of neo-classicism. The quarter is located just behind the humongous shopping center, Polygone and was designed as an extension of the city center towards the River Lez. The central avenue with its series of pedestrianized squares leads down to the enormous semi-circle of the Esplanade de l'Europe. While at times, the quarter can resemble a gigantic tomb, it is in fact a very pleasant and lively area.

Montpellier, France
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Le Jardin des Plantes

This garden was created in 1593. Today, the garden is a peaceful haven from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding metropolis. It contains a wide variety of both indigenous and exotic species, as well as several trees that date back to when the garden was founded. The paths intertwine on different levels, and the garden contains several small follies, canals, grottoes and many busts of bearded botanists. Other features of this beautiful garden include an orangery, tropical greenhouses, a bamboo garden, rock gardens and even a small duck pond.

Montpellier, France
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AD Galerie

Showcasing contemporary artworks by emerging artists, AD Galerie is a great place to understand the local art scene of Montpellier. Displaying works by artists like Ludo, Eric Liot and Robert Combas, the gallery explores the world of Figurative, Neo-Expressionist and Neo-Figurative art. The cultural venue also serves as venue for various art fairs as well as art and design events. The gallery also allows artworks to rented out. Private parties and events can also be held at the venue. If you are looking to immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art, head to AD Galerie and be prepared to be amazed by the great artworks on display.

Montpellier, France
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