3 Days in Montpellier: The Perfect Itinerary (2024)

Montpellier sits in the sunny Occitanie region of southern France. It offers the perfect blend of historical charm and modern flare. With its narrow medieval streets, beautiful squares, and bustling markets, it’s a city full of life.

Plus, there’s so much to do here.

I moved to France over six years ago and have visited Montpellier several times. I know every corner of this city and can say it’s one of my favorite places in France.

In this post, I’ll share with you how to spend 3 days in Montpellier. From historical landmarks to quirky attractions, it has everything you need to guarantee an amazing trip.

Here is the perfect 3 days in Montpellier itinerary. It has everything you need to plan an amazing vacation.
Montpellier in Three Days

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3 Days in Montpellier Overview

If you’re short on time, here’s a summary of this guide.

  • Day 1: Place de la Comédie, Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle, Musée Fabre, Les Halles Castellane, Rue des Étuves, and Escalier Arc en Ciel Belvédère
  • Day 2: Église Saint-Roch, Trompe l’Oeil, La Tour de la Babote, Promenade du Peyrou, Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, Jardin des Plantes, and Parcelle473
  • Day 3: Château de Flaugergues, Esplanade de l’Europe, and Arbre Blanc

Montpellier Itinerary – Day 1

Hang Out in Place de la Comédie

This is the Carrousel de la Comédie in Place de la Comédie. There is a big carousel with people riding it. It's next to a tall building and with people walking around.
Carrousel de la Comédie

At the heart of Montpellier is its largest square, Place de la Comédie.

It’s surrounded by cafés, patisseries, and shops, which are all housed in elegant 19th-century buildings.

Then, every Monday to Saturday, this already busy square hosts an open-air market where you can find everything from fresh fruit to used books.

Helpful Tip: The market is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

But my favorite thing to do here was hang out and admire the architecture, like I did when I visited Lille’s Grand Place.

There’s the Carrousel de la Comédie that somehow perfectly matches the surrounding buildings. And, in the center, there is the Fontaine des Trois Grâces.

Of course, nothing compares to the ever-impressive Opera Comédie.

Stroll Along Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle

This is the Mars Field Basin in Esplanade Charles de Gaulle. It's a large lake with a small island of plants in the center. It's surrounded by tree covered walking paths.
Mars Field Basin

Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle is a long walkway that connects Place de la Comédie to the Corum.

It’s named after the 18th President of France, Charles de Gaulle, and features tree-lined walkways, colorful flower beds, and the Mars Field Basin.

I walked the entire length of this esplanade several times. It’s so peaceful, despite being near the busiest areas of Montpellier.

On Saturdays, when Place de la Comédie’s market has the most vendors, stalls spill into the esplanade, making it a great place to pick up local goods.

Then, at the edge is the Terrasse du Corum, where you can enjoy stunning panoramas.

Helpful Tip: I visited the Terrasse du Corum a few times because the opening hours were not as indicated. If it’s closed, there is a nice view from the adjacent garden, Jardin l’Hôtel de Sully.

Tour the Musée Fabre

This is the portrait of a young Edgar Clarke by Fabre at the Musée Fabre. It's a painting of a young boy walking in nature surrounded by trees. He is holding is right hand up and holding flowers.
Portrait of a Young Edgar Clarke

The Musée Fabre was founded in 1825 by François-Xavier Fabre, a Montpellier-born painter.

Over the years, it has evolved into one of France’s most prestigious art galleries and has, even, been classified as a Musée de France.

The museum’s most impressive collection is the paintings from the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

My favorite was one of Fabre’s most notable pieces, a portrait of a young Edgar Clarke (photo above).

Helpful Tip: All in all, it took me about two hours to tour the entire museum.

Address: 39 Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle

Browse Les Halles Castellane

This Les Halles Castellane. It's an indoor market in Montpellier and this is one of the vendors. They are selling fruit and vegetables and there are people buying some.
Les Halles Castellane

Les Halles Castellane was my favorite indoor market in Montpellier. But then again, I adore every market I visit in France.

Here you’ll find a variety of stalls offering locally sourced produce, artisan cheeses, meats, seafood, and baked goods.

But what I loved the most was the friendly vendors. On more than one occasion, I struck up a conversation about local dishes and recipes. I also got insider tips on restaurants to try.

It added something extra to my visit that I wouldn’t have gotten if I had just taken a few pictures and left.

Address: 8 Place Castellane

Check Out Rue des Étuves

This is the interior of the Pénitents Bleus church. It shows an aisle leading to the altar. Then, above the altar there is a painting of Christ on the cross. The aisle is surrounded by several rows of wooden chairs.
Pénitents Bleus

Rue des Étuves is one of the most unassuming streets in Montpellier’s Old Town, Écusson. It’s also where you’ll find two of the least frequented tourist sites.

The first is Pénitents Bleus.

This small church was commissioned in 1845 by the Pénitents Bleus Brotherhood. Today, it houses paintings by Antoine Ranc and Claude Mignard and a beautiful organ.

Of the churches I visited in Montpellier, Pénitents Bleus was the least touristic. I had the entire place to myself, despite the large crowds outside.

This is the cannonball at 30 Rue des Étuves. In the middle of the photo is a window and below it is a small round hole. This is where the cannonball is.
Cannonball at 30 Rue des Étuves

The second must-visit site is the cannonball in the wall at 30 Rue des Étuves.

Helpful Tip: I walked by it about five times before I found it, so keep your eyes peeled.

It’s said that it was launched during the siege of 1622.

Montpellier was, at the time, Protestant, and refused to conform to Catholicism under Louis XIII. So, he sent his troops to force the city to convert.

Some say it’s a fake cannonball because the symmetry is too perfect and there are no signs of impact.

Real or not, I still thought it was cool to see.

Climb the Escalier Arc en Ciel Belvédère

This is the Escalier Arc en Ciel Belvédère. It's a small staircase and every stair is painted a different color. Then, above the stairs are pennants hanging down. In the back there are people sitting at the cafe of Le Bookshop.
Escalier Arc en Ciel Belvédère

The Escalier Arc en Ciel Belvédère, or Rainbow Stairs, is easily one of the most beautiful streets in Montpellier.

Here every stair is painted a different color and above are bright pennants to match.

It adds a whimsical touch to the already charming city. And compared to the streets in Marseille’s historic district, Le Panier, it’s more polished.

I went at noon when most people were having lunch and had the entire street to myself.

After a few photos, I stopped by Le Bookshop, a small bookstore/café about halfway up the stairs.

I ordered a coffee and sat at one of the tables outside. But they also have indoor seating, if you prefer to browse the shelves while sipping your drink.

Helpful Tip: For the best photos, stand at the corner of Rue de l’Ancien Courrier and Rue du Bras de Fer. That’s where I took the photo above.

Address: Rue du Bras de Fer

Montpellier Itinerary – Day 2

Discover Église Saint-Roch

This is the stained glass window above the main altar in Église Saint-Roch. It shows Saint Roch with his dog in front of the Montpellier Cathedral.
Église Saint-Roch

Église Saint-Roch was built in the 19th century and dedicated to Saint Roch, a native who healed victims of the plague.

It’s a magnificent example of neo-Gothic design, but I preferred its interior.

This is where you’ll find its most impressive feature – a large stained-glass window above the altar.

It shows Saint Roch, with his dog, walking to the Montpellier Cathedral (photo above).

I’d say it even rivals the stained-glass windows found in Sainte Chapelle, one of the cathedrals on Paris’ main island, Île de la Cité.

Address: 4 Rue Vallat

Find Montpellier’s Trompe l’Oeil

This is the Fresque Murale Place Saint Roch. It's a large mural that looks lifelike. It shows the reflection of the Eglise Saint Roch and windows with people looking out on the square.
Fresque Murale Place Saint Roch

A Trompe l’Oeil is an optical illusion in French. It can be used in several contexts, but, here, it describes a large mural that looks lifelike.

And there are two murals that fit this description in Montpellier.

The first is the Fresque Murale Place Saint Roch (photo above).

I first saw it when I exited the Église Saint-Roch de Montpellier, but I had to do a doubletake because it looked so real.

The second is at Place Edouard Adam.

It blends with the adjacent buildings, similar to the Trompe l’Oeil called Fresque des Lyonnais I saw on my day trip to Lyon.

Helpful Tip: If you can’t see it look on the side of Pharmacie de l’Observatoire.

Admire La Tour de la Babote

This is the Square de la Babote. It's a small square inside the Tour de la Babot. There is a bar and cafe, both with outdoor seating.
Square de la Babote

La Tour de la Babote is one of the last remaining ramparts from Montpellier’s medieval fortifications. It dates to the 12th century and has served several purposes since then, including an astronomical observatory.

Then, in 1927 it was classified as a historical monument.

You can’t climb the tower but if you walk through the main door you’ll find a small square (Square de la Babote) with a few shops, a café, and a bar.

I stopped by after I saw the Trompe l’Oeil at Place Edouard Adam and ordered a beer at Social Bar Montpellier. It’s a great place to take a break.

Address: 17 Boulevard de l’Observatoire

Take in the View at Promenade du Peyrou

This is the view from the Château d'Eau in Promenade du Peyrou. It shows the Aqueduc Saint-Clément and in the distance the rooftops of the houses in Montpellier.
Aqueduc Saint-Clément

The Promenade du Peyrou is the most beautiful esplanade in Montpellier.

It was created in the late 17th century as a symbol of power and elegance.

In the center, there is a statue of King Louis XIV. Then, on one side is the Saint-Clement Aqueduct and the classical water tower, the Château d’Eau. On the other side is the triumphal arch, Porte du Peyrou.

But what I loved the most about this site were the views. From the terrace of the water tower, I had an unencumbered view of Les Arceaux and the Saint-Clement Aqueduct.

Helpful Tip: I went at sunrise and had the place to myself. It was also safe.

Visit Cathédrale Saint-Pierre

This is the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre from the Faculty of Medicine. It shows the side of the church and one of the rose windows.
Cathédrale Saint-Pierre

The Cathédrale Saint-Pierre was founded in the mid-14th century. It stood as a chapel that was part of the Saint-Benoît Saint-Germain monastery-college, and, in 1536 it was awarded cathedral status.

Helpful Tip: Cathédrale Saint-Pierre is also called the Montpellier Cathedral.

Today, it’s the oldest building in Montpellier.

It features a fortress-like structure with two giant towers guarding the front door. Then, inside, there are two gorgeous rose windows, an 18th-century organ, and seven bells.

Compared to churches like the Amiens Cathedral, I thought its structure was more imposing but less elegant. I, actually, had a similar impression of the Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille Cathedral I saw in Lille.

Helpful Tip: If it’s open, the adjacent Faculty of Medicine’s courtyard has a beautiful view of the cathedral. That’s where I took the photo above.

Address: Rue Saint-Pierre

Relax in Jardin des Plantes

This is Jardin des Plantes. There are tons of trees and bushes surrounding walking paths. Then in the middle there is a small arched bridge.
Jardin des Plantes

The Jardin des Plantes is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.

Not only that but it’s also the oldest botanical garden in France.

It was established in 1593 and has grown to an impressive 4.5 hectares.

Today, it’s home to a variety of flora and fauna, with most species coming from the region.

I loved wandering through the different gardens, taking in the fragrant scents, and admiring the colorful flowers. It reminded me of my visit to the Jardin des Plantes in Amiens.

Address: Boulevard Henri IV

Check Out Parcelle473

This is Octopus by Sandrot at Parcelle473. It was a temporary exhibit that I saw. It shows three different versions of the same octopus, each with a different expression.
Octopus by Sandrot

Parcelle473 is an urban and contemporary art museum. It opened in 2022 with the idea that art should be accessible to everyone.

And, of the museums I visited in Montpellier, it was one of my favorites.

Every exhibit was unique and thought-provoking. But I really loved the two temporary exhibits.

The first was by Sandrot and Elisabeth Daynès and the second was Jérôme Mesnager’s “L’Homme blanc.”

But my favorite was Octopus by Sandrot. As you can see in the photo I took above, there are three versions of the same octopus, each with a different facial expression.

The goal was to highlight the extraordinary creatures that roam our planet and our impact on them.

Address: 425 Avenue des Frères Buhler

Montpellier Itinerary – Day 3

Visit the Château de Flaugergues

This is a photo of my wine glass from my wine tasting at Château de Flaugergues. There is a wine glass and next to it is a small guide to the wines that are available for tasting.
Wine Tasting at Château de Flaugergues

The Château de Flaugergues is a beautiful 17th-century estate surrounded by lush gardens and vineyards.

It’s not too far from Montpellier’s city center, but plan to spend half a day here. Reservations are also required.

I took the château and wine cellar tour so I could see the entire estate and learn about its history.

While the château itself was beautiful, I thought the interior was more impressive.

It’s filled with stunning artwork and furnishings from various periods. And the wine tasting afterward was a great way to end the tour.

Helpful Tip: Bus 9 stops near the château, but I took an Uber to get there and back.

Address: 1744 Avenue Albert Einstein

Unwind in Esplanade de l’Europe

This is a section of Esplanade de l'Europe. It's big square lined with trees and a shopping center in the distance. There are kid playing and people walking around.
Esplanade de l’Europe

The Esplanade de l’Europe is a long promenade that showcases Montpellier’s modern architecture.

It’s surrounded by neoclassical buildings that house modern cafés, bars, and restaurants. Then, in the middle, you’ll find fountains, sculptures, and manicured green spaces.

Go for a stroll, hang out on one of the benches that line the walkway, or just people-watch.

I stopped by after my visit to Château de Flaugergues. I walked around, took in the atmosphere, and then, grabbed lunch at Il Gallo Piccolo, a delicious Italian restaurant.

Address: 131 Allée de Délos

Admire the Arbre Blanc

This is the Arbre Blanc. It's a tall white building with balconies sticking out everywhere. In front of it is a small garden with pink flowers.
The Arbre Blanc

If you’re visiting Esplanade de l’Europe, then stopping by the Arbre Blanc is a must. It’s easily the coolest building I saw during my visit.

This sci-fi-looking structure is most known for its balconies that stick out in all directions.

Then, there’s a rooftop bar that offers spectacular views of the city.

Reservations are not required, but I recommend getting there early before the crowds arrive.

If you’re looking for the perfect way to end your vacation, this is it.

Helpful Tip: There’s also a restaurant, but you’ll need to book a table in advance.

Address: Place Christophe Colomb

Where to Stay

There are tons of great places to stay in Montpellier. Below is a list of hotels that I recommend:

Citadines Antigone Montpellier – This is one of the places I stayed at in Montpellier. It’s an apartment/hotel. The rooms are huge, the breakfast is delicious, and the beds are comfy.

✓ Hôtel Royal – A beautiful hotel that’s right downtown. The rooms are comfortable and the staff are helpful.

✓ Hotel d’Aragon – A charming hotel near the train station. The staff are helpful and the breakfast is delicious.

Where to Eat

Montpellier is full of delicious restaurants. You’ll find everything from traditional food to international cuisine.

Below is a list of the restaurants that I tried and loved during my visit:

Restaurant l’Aveyronnais – Specializing in dishes from Aveyron, you can’t go wrong here. The food is tasty and the atmosphere is cozy.

Rosemarie – If you’re looking for delicious food that’s fresh and full of flavor, this is the place to go. The atmosphere is lively, fun, and chic.

Le Petit Jardin Montpellier – The menu is varied and served with a modern flare. The food is delicious and the decorations are gorgeous. 

Conclusion: 3 Days in Montpellier

Montpellier is an enchanting city that’s full of surprises. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or culture, there’s something for everyone here.

I loved everything about this underrated southern gem. Of the things I did, my favorites were touring the Château de Flaugergues, visiting Parcelle473, and taking photos of the Escalier Arc en Ciel Belvédère.

Now that your itinerary is planned, it’s time to book your tickets and get ready for an amazing trip.

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Jen Ciesielski
Jen Ciesielski

Jen Ciesielski is the creator of Dabbling in Jet Lag. She has lived abroad for over ten years, traveled to more than 50 countries, and speaks French and English fluently. Her areas of expertise include moving abroad, learning languages, and travel planning. Originally from the United States, she now lives in France, where she has been for more than six years. She has also traveled extensively around the country. She shares her experiences as an expat living in France and helps thousands of people plan their trips every month.

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