About Montpellier - Accommodation around Montpellier
TIME OFF MONTPELLIER
You don't need to be an expert in the Freudian concept of random association to know that the merest mention of the word Montpellier is likely to produce another word - dynamic. For in less than three decades, the hub of the Herault department has changed more than during the previous three centuries, rising in rank from the 25th to the 8th French city. Each and every opinion poll reveals that it is the place where most French men and women would like to live, work and play. Much of this is attributable to the city's colourful Mayor and MP Georges Freches, a skilled operator who has somehow managed to move the city along by leaps and bounds without losing sight of its historic roots. Montpellier is one of the liveliest and most forward-looking cities in the south, with a quarter of its population under 25. Sometimes on summer evening in university term time it resembles more a rock festival than the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Centre of the action is the egg-shaped place de la Comedie, known as l'Oeuf (the egg), with its 19th-century opera house fronted by the Fontaine des Trois Graces and surrounded by buzzing cafes. An esplanade of plane trees and fountains leads to the Corum, an opera and conference centre typical of the city's brace new architectural projects. These best of these is Ricardo Bofillos post-modern housing complex known at the Antigone, which is modelled on St. Peter's in Rome.
Montpellier was founded relatively late for this region of ancient Roman towns, developing in the 10th century as a result of the spice trade with the Middle East. The city's medical school was founded in 1220, party as a result of this cross-fertilization of knowledge between the two cultures, and remains one of the most respected in France.
Most of Montpellier was ravaged by the Wars of Religion in the 16th century. Only the Tour de la Babote and the Tours des Pins remain of the 12th-century fortifications. There are few fine churches, the exceptions being the Cathederale de St-Pierre and the 18th century Notre-Dame des Tables.
Reconstruction in the 17th century saw the building of mansions with elegant courtyards, stone staircases and balconies. An example open to the public include Hotel de Manse on the rue d'Embouque-d'Or.