Located close to the historic city center, the exterior of Saint Pierre Cathedral is distinguished by its twin towers rising above the surrounding buildings. The current entrance is by the unassuming doorway in rue du Cardinal Cabrières, next to which one can still distinguish the marks of shots fired by Royalist troops in 1815. Worth noting is the restoration of 19th-century stained glass windows and paintings, most notably the demise of Simon le Magicien by Sébastien Bourbon (1621).
The Pavillon Populaire is a photography art gallery that exhibits works 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 contemporary art. This photographic gallery functions under the direction of Gilles Mora, and it's easy to appreciate his keen eye for great artworks.
This historic building is located three kilometers (one mile) east of the city center. Once a country house, this family property now finds itself and its surrounding parks and vineyards entirely swallowed by the city. The Château de Flaugergues which dates from the 17th Century and its collection of 17th and 18th-century furnishings and art (including a large collection of optical instruments) can be visited throughout the year (though the timings differ). Outside the house one can admire the gardens à la française as well as the château's own vineyards (Coteaux de la Méjanelle) whose wines can be tasted and bought on site.
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.
Parc Zoologique de Montpellier functions as the home of 100 different indigenous and exotic species. No tiny or concrete cages are to be seen and the spacious enclosures and vegetation allow the animals some privacy. A little patience is amply rewarded by the possibility of seeing zebra, antelope, camels and even cheetahs in a habitat of woodland and shrubs. With 9 kilometers (5 miles) of paths to explore and several picnic sites, the zoo allows a relaxing yet active and educational visit. The Parc Zoologique de Montpellier is also home to a restaurant where you can retire to when your wildlife expeditions have left you famished.
Established in December 2007, Planet Ocean Montpellier is a part of the Odysseum. An Aquarium (Mare Nostrum) cum planetarium (Galileo Planetarium), Planet Ocean Montpellier boasts of being home to over 400 species of aquatic life and spaces for the exploration of the galaxy. Other facilities here include interactive displays, a restaurant and a cafe.
Wander around the Old Town of Montpellier at your leisure and peek into the many shops and restaurants that line the streets. Walk along Rue de l'Aiguillerie and peruse the clothing boutiques, art shops and jewelers that distinguish this street. As you make your way down the street, pause to enjoy the beautiful view of the Place de la Canourgue.
Musée de l'Histoire de Montpellier, located at Place Jean Jaurès chronicles the history of Montpellier. The museum features several artefacts, displays, photographs various other ephemera that describe the beginnings the city. Established at the site where the now-demolished church of Notre-Dame des Tables stood, Musée de l'Histoire de Montpellier includes antique furnishings of the original building as well as a range of modern amenities; in fact, a number of its displays are audio-visual representations of historic events. Open from Tuesdays through Sundays, Musée de l'Histoire de Montpellier makes for an interesting visit.
This long stretch of sand between Carnon and the Grande Motte is the most easily accessible beach by car from Montpellier. Take the D66 which leaves Montpellier and after passing Carnon leave the route for the D59 which runs conveniently behind the beach. The beaches are extremely popular during the summer months. One can rely on passing vendors and parked vans for a variety of snacks and refreshments. For much of the year, however, or at the end of the afternoon, the area is surprisingly quiet. Despite the houses gradually extending out from either end of the beach, one can still escape the noise of the town to listen to the gentle lap of the Mediterranean.
This château is one of Montpellier's many former country residences that today is classified as a historic monument. In 1712 the adviser to the king, Fulcrand Limozin, acquired the residence and set about renovating it. The château is a fine example of the work of the architect Jean Giral, senior. The English park, French gardens and water fountains are well worth a visit. Inside the castle, you will find beautiful 18th-century furnishings, souvenirs belonging to the former owners and a superb mural representing the four seasons.