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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.

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