Montpellier is the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France. The city has an historic center with small narrow streets and beautiful squares. La Place de la Comédie is in the heart of the city and is so-called because the square is the domain of street artists and musicians. Montpellier has a lovely Cathedral and interesting museums such as the Fabre art museum.
The city has 250,000 inhabitants but in the entire urban area of Montpellier there are half a million people.
Montpellier lies in a hilly area in the south of France, about 10 minutes from the coast. The city is built along the Lez River which flows out into the Mediterranean Sea.
Montpellier is a center for science and research, mainly in the field of bio-technology (research for new medicine, but also development for agriculture) and IT & communication technology. Furthermore tourism is of great importance. The city not only attracts tourists, but also business travelers as there are relatively many congresses.
The city's airport, Aéroport Montpellier Méditerranée, lies 7 kilometers southeast of the city. Some airlines only fly to Montpellier during summer or have a less frequent schedule during winter.
Montpellier's public transport consists of street cars and buses. Two street cars form a sort of an X that crosses in the city center, a third street car line is in construction and will be ready to use in 2012. During the day, street cars run every 3 or 5 minutes, at night the frequency is less. The street cars run until midnight, unlike the buses that run until 9.00 p.m. For beach visitors, bus line 28 to the beach Palavas les Flots is the most interesting, although it is better to go by car since you have to walk 15 minutes from the last stop to the beach. Furthermore there is a night bus from the central bus station to the discos and night clubs around the city.
Take into account that the center of Montpellier can become very busy and that the heart of the city is pedestrianised. There are several parking garages, but finding a free parking space can sometimes be a challenge. The car is an excellent means of transport to discover the area or go to the beach, but if you go to the city center it is better to park your car at the end of the street car line and continue by street car.
There is a large variety of accommodation to offer in and around Montpellier, from four-star hotels and resorts to basic hostels and bed & breakfasts. There are trailer parks in the city area as well. In general it is not difficult to find basic accommodation but it is different for the more luxurious hotels, which are often fully-booked during the many congresses that are held in Montpellier.
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