The perfect French city
Sunshine, elegance and sensuality – Montpellier has always had the characteristic Mediterranean virtues. Lately, it has also seen rapid growth thanks to “high-tech industries, brains and brilliance”, says Anthony Peregrine in The Daily Telegraph, and is becoming the most “seductive” and cultured provincial city in France. At its heart is the grandest pedestrian square in Europe, the Place de la Comédie. The city also has the oldest botanical garden in France, a good art museum (the Fabre), two opera houses, an orchestra, several arts festivals and no end of good bars and “posh shops”. And then there are the beaches – just 45 minutes away by bike through a “wild and open land of scrub, high skies, lagoons and flamingoes”. For train tickets, see www.voyages-sncf.com.