Remember how much I loved Montpellier? Well, one thing that made our 24 hours so awesome was this great guide to Montpellier from Design Sponge. Natalie, the author, use to live and blog in Montpellier, and I wish I could find her on social media to thank her for writing such a fantastic comprehensive guide. We visited quite a few places on her list, and all of them were hits.
With only twenty-four hours, I didn’t feel bad about staying in the city center, although next time I’d love to venture out to other neighborhoods. We skipped the beach, since we had just come from Sète anyway, and spent hours wandering the charming winding cobblestoned streets of Montpellier, eating and drinking and taking photos. Here are some of my favorite places that were on Natalie’s list (and a couple that weren’t).
Promenade du Peyrou
Walk out under Montpellier’s Arc de Triomphe and you’ll come to the Promenade du Peyrou, a lovely place to stroll.
Jardin des Plantes
We spent some time strolling here and saw flowers, frogs, bamboo, and a tree with wishes in it. It opens at noon.
Images de Demain
Shopping wasn’t a priority on this trip, but we stumbled upon this shop that I’d bookmarked from Natalie’s list while wandering through the narrow streets of Montpellier’s center. A lovely place to browse and buy cards and gifts.
Eat & Drink
My favorite category! Montpellier excels in trendy cafes, sunny terraces, and diverse restaurants. I wish we’d had time to try more, but you can only eat and drink so much in 24 hours. (Challenge…. accepted!)
You’ll notice this list is totally devoid of French food. That is because a) sometimes I get tired of French food and b) the best places to eat French food are often outside of my budget. (That’s not to say that good French restaurants are always expensive, but rather that my budget is very very small.) Natalie has some great French places on her list – we passed a few of her recommendations and they looked yummy.
While living in Chicago, I got hooked on gourmet burgers after years of shunning red meat. Now, I’m always on the hunt for a good burger in France that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. We pulled Burger’N’Co from Natalie’s list, and it didn’t disappoint.
This crowded and noisy bar serves its famous mojitos in plastic cups the size of buckets. Their sangria isn’t half bad either, and you know what else isn’t? Their prices. Less than two euros for a small sangria, and seven for that giant mojito. They have some tapas on offer too.
If I were a local, I would come here every day. Every day! The speculoos muffin wasn’t the best, but everything else was. You can also buy foreign products like peanut butter here (for a premium) if you’re so inclined.
We happened upon this English pub and grabbed a drink outside during Happy Hour. I love a nice pub because it’s the only place I can get a nice English cider, and The Shakespeare had two ciders on tap, a rarity.
You know how I feel about Mexican food, right? When we spotted El Chivito, which serves a variety of Latin American dishes, there was no question about it – we were going. They have these variety platters to share that come on a lazy Susan. Here’s my opinion. The platter was greater than the sum of its parts. Each individual dish? Mostly meh. But altogether? I was happy to be eating empanadas and nachos. Skip the arepas, but give the potatoes a try. Also, their white sangria ruled, and they brought us little amuse-bouches, which was classy (can I say “amuse-bouche” when it’s not a fancy French restaurant? And if not, what do I call it?)
Originally, I had intended to roll through Montpellier again on my way back from Barcelona (it’s just a few hours by train) but due to the préfecture drama, I flew directly back to Lyon for a third (and hopefully final) battle with French bureaucracy. I hope I’ll get another crack at Montpellier sometime soon – I haven’t even scratched the surface. Any tips for me?