For the warmth of the early Mediterranean spring and the light which sharpens the focus of France’s most seductive city. Elegant, sensual and insurgent, Montpellier has been cultured for 1,000 years, with undertows of irony leavening the whole. And if you fancy some excitement, take in the International Festival of Extreme Sports – skateboarding, rollerblading, BMX, wakeboarding and much else – from May 8-13 (fise.fr). Fly there with easyJet (easyjet.com) from Gatwick.
theatre to the sunlit surge of southern life, overseen by 18th and 19th century grandeur. Then plunge into the medieval centre. Bourgeois mansions give way to techno-bars, ethnic jewellers and conspiratorial streets where students – Rabelais and Auguste Comte among them – have scurried since the 13th-century.
through to the Eighties weeping with nostalgia for temps perdu.