7 Best Neighborhoods in Montpellier, France

I’ve been living in France for more than six years and I’ve visited Montpellier several times. I know every corner of this beautiful city. And I have to say, Montpellier is a true gem in southern France.

It’s known for its beautiful architecture, lively cultural scene, and fascinating art museums.

But what truly makes Montpellier special are its charming neighborhoods.

Whether you’re looking for a chic urban vibe or a calm residential area, there’s something for you here.

In this post, I’ll share with you an in-depth guide to the seven best neighborhoods in Montpellier.

Here is your complete guide to the best neighborhoods in Montpellier, France.
Montpellier’s Best Districts

Overview: Montpellier’s Best Neighborhoods

If you’re short on time, here is a summary of this article.

Below is a list of Montpellier’s best neighborhoods:

  • L’Ecusson – Best for history and architecture lovers
  • Beaux-Arts – Best for a bohemian vibe and art galleries
  • Antigone – Best for modern architecture and convenient living
  • Port Marianne – Best for modern architecture and residential living
  • Les Arceaux– Best for a village-like atmosphere and local markets
  • Hôpitaux-Facultés – Best for families and residential living
  • St. Roch – Best for nightlife and short stays

Top 7 Neighborhoods in Montpellier

As the second largest city in the Occitanie region, Montpellier has a variety of unique neighborhoods, each with its own character.

Below I’ll cover the top seven neighborhoods you should consider when visiting or moving to Montpellier.

1. L’Ecusson

This is L'Escalier Arc en Ciel Belvédère in L'Ecusson. It's a staircase going up the street Rue des Bras Fer and each step is painted a different color of the rainbow.
L’Escalier Arc en Ciel Belvédère

L’Ecusson is Montpellier’s historic center and is one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city. Its winding streets are lined with charming cafés, boutiques, and restaurants.

It boasts stunning medieval architecture, jaw-dropping historical landmarks, tree-lined promenades, and lively markets.

I spent hours wandering the streets of L’Ecusson, admiring the beautiful buildings, and soaking in the culture.

My favorite things to do here were:

  • Exploring Place de la Comédie
  • Visiting the Musée Fabre
  • Shopping at Les Halles Castellane
  • Taking photos of L’Escalier Arc en Ciel Belvédère

I also loved watching the sunrise from Promenade du Peyrou.

The only downside to L’Ecusson is the tourists. And, in summer, the streets can get very crowded.

2. Beaux-Arts

This is the Marché des Beaux-Arts. There are several fruit stands and there are vendors organizing the displays. There is one elderly woman shopping.
Marché des Beaux-Arts

Beaux-Arts is known for its bohemian vibe and artsy atmosphere. This neighborhood is home to many artists’ studios, galleries, and street art.

In my opinion, it’s one of the most underrated districts in this already underappreciated city.

I enjoyed strolling through the colorful streets and discovering unique shops and cafés. The local market, Marché des Beaux-Arts, is a must-visit for fresh produce.

Helpful Tip: I preferred the Marché des Beaux-Arts to the market in Place de la Comédie. It was less-crowded and there wasn’t a tourist in sight.

It’s also where you’ll find one of my favorite museums in town, the Musée Art Brut, which features a unique kind of art called raw art.

The only thing I didn’t like about this neighborhood was the Quai du Verdanson.

It’s a long boulevard that passes below the main streets. It’s lined with murals, street art, and graffiti.

While it was once a popular tourist attraction, it’s now a hangout for homeless people and not a safe area to visit, especially at night.

3. Antigone

This is Esplanade de l'Europe. It's a large square with a fountain in the center. In the back there is a building with an arch and a walkway. There are people walking around.
Esplanade de l’Europe

One of the newer neighborhoods in Montpellier, Antigone is a modern urban development built in the late 20th century.

This district stands out with its neoclassical buildings and grand squares, the most popular being Esplanade de l’Europe.

You can also find many restaurants and cafés here, making it a great spot to grab a bite to eat or enjoy some people-watching.

I stayed in Antigone during my last visit to Montpellier. I loved the convenience of being close to the city center while still having a quiet and peaceful place to stay.

There’s a big shopping mall called Le Polygone, lots of restaurants, and plenty of green space.

The tramway also passes through this area, making it easy to explore other parts of the city.

4. Port Marianne

This is the Bassin Jacques Cœur in the Port Marianne neighborhood of Montpellier. It's a small man-made body of water with a fountain in the center. It's surrounded by walking paths and there is long grass growing at the water's edge. Then in the back there are modern residential buildings.
Bassin Jacques Cœur

Port Marianne is a newly developed neighborhood in Montpellier, located on the banks of the Lez River.

This area is known for its modern architecture and sustainable design. It’s mostly for residents of Montpellier with a few hotels, restaurants, cafés, and shopping centers mixed in.

I stayed in Port Marianne on my first visit to Montpellier, and it was a great experience. The views of the river and the surrounding green spaces were breathtaking.

One of the main attractions here is the Bassin Jacques Cœur. It’s a large artificial lake surrounded by walking paths, restaurants, and a park.

Compared to Antigone, which has a similar atmosphere, Port Marianne is much further from the city center.

There are several tram stations, but it’s not as convenient for exploring other parts of the city.

5. Les Arceaux

This is the view of the Aqueduc des Arceaux in Les Arceaux. You can see the aqueduct and the rooftops in the distance.
Aqueduc des Arceaux

Les Arceaux is a charming neighborhood located outside of the city center. It’s known for its aqueduct, Aqueduc des Arceaux. This area has a more local feel, with small shops and restaurants lining the streets.

Helpful Tip: Aqueduc des Arceaux is also referred to as Aqueduc Saint-Clément.

One of the main attractions here is the Marché des Arceaux. It’s a large outdoor market held under the aqueduct’s arches every Tuesday and Saturday from 7:00 am to 1:30 pm.

Here you can find fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other local products.

Like the one in Beaux-Arts, it’s not overcrowded with tourists.

But my favorite thing to do here was take in the views of the neighborhood from the top of the aqueduct (near the Château d’Eau). That’s where I took the photo above.

There are not a ton of hotels here and most of the area is residential.

So, if you’re visiting, I recommend staying in one of the other nearby neighborhoods and stopping by for the day.

Otherwise, it’s a great place to live.

6. Hôpitaux-Facultés

This is one of the outdoor exhibits at Parcelle473. It's a large mural of a woman with sunglass and psychedelic spheres behind her.
Parcelle473

Hôpitaux-Facultés is a more modern neighborhood in the northeastern part of Montpellier. It’s primarily known for its large university hospital and medical school, but it also has many residential areas and parks.

But my favorite thing to do here was visit the Parcelle473, an art museum dedicated to street art and urban culture. It was easily the coolest museum I visited in Montpellier.

If you’re a tourist, you’ll only stop by to visit Parcelle473 and Château d’Ô.

Helpful Tip: Château d’Ô is an 18th-century estate with beautiful gardens.

There are very few hotels and it’s too far from the city center to make it worth staying here.

It is, however, perfect for families or anyone who wants a quiet place to live.

7. St. Roch

The is the Trompe l'Oeil mural or optical illusion at Place Edouard Adam. It shows windows with people looking out onto the street. It looks lifelike and real.
Trompe l’Oeil Mural at Place Edouard Adam

Located just south of the city center, St. Roch is a diverse neighborhood with a mix of residential and commercial areas.

It’s known for its train station, Gare de Montpellier Saint-Roch, and its lively atmosphere.

In terms of things to do in St. Roch, there isn’t a ton. Some of my favorite activities were admiring the Trompe l’Oeil mural at Place Edouard Adam and visiting the MO.CO. art center.

But what I loved the most about this area was its convenience. There are tons of hotels, tramways, and places to eat.

If you’re spending a long weekend in Montpellier and you plan on making day trips, this is the best place to stay.

It’s not, however, the best area to live in. It can be loud, crowded, and busy.

Conclusion

Montpellier is a beautiful and diverse city with something for everyone. Whether you’re a tourist or looking to relocate, each of the neighborhoods I listed above offers something unique.

The historic center is the most popular and easily my favorite neighborhood. But don’t be afraid to venture out and explore the other areas.

Now that you know the best districts in Montpellier, why not compare it to another southern city like Marseille?


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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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