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About Montpellier*

Montpellier is the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, as well as the Hérault department. It is the 8th largest city of France, and also the fastest growing city in France over the past 25 years. Located on the south coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, it is the third largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille and Nice.

History

Montpellier is one of the few large cities in France without any (Gallo-)Roman heritage and also one of the few cities in southern France without a Greek foundation. The name of the city, which was originally Monspessulanus, is said to have stood for mont pelé (the naked hill, because the vegetation was poor), or le mont de la colline (the mount of the hill).
The University of Montpellier is one of the oldest in the World (founded in 1160), having been granted a charter in 1220 by Cardinal Conrad von Urach and confirmed by Pope Nicholas IV in a papal bull of 1289. William VIII of Montpellier gave freedom for all to teach medicine in Montpellier in 1180. The city's faculties of law and medicine were established in 1220 by Cardinal Conrad and the medicine faculty has, over the centuries, been one of the major centers for the teaching of medicine in Europe. It was suppressed during the French Revolution, but was re-established in 1896.
In the Early Middle Ages, the nearby episcopal town of Maguelone was the major settlement in the area, but raids by pirates encouraged settlement a little further inland. Montpellier, first mentioned in a document of 985, was founded under a local feudal dynasty, the Guilhem, who combined two hamlets and built a castle and walls around the united settlement. The two surviving towers of the city walls, the Tour des Pins and the Tour de la Babotte, were built later, around the year 1200. Montpellier came to prominence in the 12th century as a trading center. It was the second or third most important city of France at that time, with some 40 000 inhabitants before the Black Death.
At the time of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, many of the inhabitants of Montpellier became Protestants (or Huguenots as they were known in France) and the city became a stronghold of Protestant resistance to the Catholic French crown. In 1622, KingLouis XIII besieged the city which surrendered after a rude two months siege (Siege of Montpellier), afterwards building the Citadel of Montpellier to secure it. Louis XIV made Montpellier capital of Bas Languedoc, and the town started to embellish itself, by building the Promenade du Peyrou, the Esplanade and a large number of houses in the historic center. After the French Revolution, the city became the capital of the much smaller Hérault.
During the 19th century the city developed into an industrial center. In the 1960s, its population grew dramatically after French settlers in Algeria were resettled in the city following Algeria's independence from France. In the 1980s and 1990s, the city drew attention with a number of major redevelopment projects, such as the Corumand especially the Antigone District.

Climate

Montpellier has a Mediterranean climate, with mild, wet winters, and very warm, dry summers.
It is considered the sunny capital of France, as there is an average of 300 sunny days per year.
The weather in June is generally sunny and pleasant, with a daily mean temperature of 21oC (70oF).

Transportation

You can get around Montpellier and the surrounding area by tramway, bus, bicycle, two-wheeled vehicles, foot, tourist train, rental car and taxi.

By tramway
As part of the Montpellier Agglomération transport network, managed by TaM, Montpellier's tramway system is the ideal means of public transportation for getting around Montpellier, visiting many local tourist sites, and generally getting to know the area from a new perspective.

There are four tramway lines:
• Line 1: Mosson - Odysseum
• Line 2: Jacou - Saint Jean de Védas
• Line 3: Juvignac, Montpellier, Lattes and Pérols
• Line 4: Montpellier City center

Tickets and top-off your transport cards can be purchased at the following locations:
• the Tourist Office (family ticket and A/R)
• the TaM agency
• nearly 130 participating stores and shops
• 120 automatic distributors
• Maison de l'Agglomération community centers

Click here to view a map of the Montpellier tramway system.
For detailed information on tramway fares, please click here.

By bus
Montpellier and the Hérault department benefit from a complete bus network that gives you direct and regular access to numerous tourist sites and other cities around the area.
TaM (Montpellier Agglomération Transport company) manages a network of 29 bus lines, plus a green initiative with its popular bicycle rental network for getting around the city of Montpellier and the Agglomération's 30 outlying cities.

Click here to plan your itinerary.
For a detailed bus and tramway line map, please click here.

By taxi
Taxis in Montpellier cannot be hired on the spot. Taxis can be hired either by telephone or from the following taxi stands:
• Place du Bicentenaire (at the Montpellier Saint-Roch train station)
• Boulevard Victor Hugo (right behind the Opéra building on the Place de la Comédie)
• Boulevard de l'Observatoire (in front of the Halles Laissac market)

* Sources:
Montpellier Office de Tourisme (
www.ot-montpellier.fr)
Wikipedia (
www.wikipedia.org)

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