Parcours Gourmand - Guide du Goût © Parcours Gourmand - Guide du Goût

‘Gourmet‘ Montpellier

The Montpellier region is known for its local produce, its excellent wine, its fine dining and its farmers markets that cannot be missed.

Montpellier Tourist Office invites you to do your shopping at the local market stalls.

Open everyday from Monday to Saturday from 7am to 8pm and on Sunday from 7am to 1.30pm, the Halles Castellane (covered market) house some thirty producers and retailers in the centre of Montpellier (the‘Ecusson’area.)

With a list in our pocket, a basket under the arm, we are off to do some shopping all over the Metropolis. Temptation is everywhere: markets, craftsmen, fine dining… Difficult to resist the delicacies placed by the producers on their market stalls every morning in Montpellier and the surrounding villages.

First stop: les Halles Castellane (photo.). The smells of hot bread, fresh sausages and rosemary await you. From the early hours, it is bustling: « we have regular customers who come here everyday who would rather shop here than go to the supermarket » says a grocer. « We also have passers-by and tourists who adore the atmosphere here! ».

At the Café des Halles, a man drinks ‘son petit noir’ (expresso coffee) whilst reading the newspaper, as he does every morning. A few steps away, a woman enquires about the sea bream of the day, a greengrocer boasts about his grapefruit and a butcher fights with a leg of lamb.

« There are incredible smells here »  explains Odette, a regular customer who strolls with her shopping bag on wheels « it is a little paradise within the city. »

A free-range chicken, some tomatoes and fresh garlic in our bag, we set off walking through the streets of the Metropolis.

Each day, there is a market to discover in the surrounding villages. Each has its specialities and characteristics... and its prominent local characters!

In Castries (every Friday morning), in Baillargues (On Tuesday and Friday mornings), in le Crès (every Wednesday morning) or in Castelnau-le-Lez (on Tuesday and Saturday mornings), everyone yells everywhere!

Around the fish of the day, someone tells a little joke that shows the soul of the village, another, the latest gossip from his youngest son and some share recipes. « We don’t need local radio, as we know everything about everything when we come here to shop » smiles a greengrocer. « There is an incredible atmosphere in the market »  adds his neighbour the cheese maker. « You can wander amongst the stalls, smell all these odours, it gives you ideas for recipes and above all, it makes you want to eat! »

In the Metropolis, local products are promoted: the Vine festival in November in Montpellier, the Truffle festival in January in Saint-Géniès-des-Mourgues, the Tomato festival in September in Clapiers, the Olive festival in October in Pignan or the Honey festival in October in Cournonsec.

At these unusual markets, you can discover the products that contribute to the region’s culinary fame.

Did you know for example, that several thousand tomato varieties exist and over a hundred types of olives in France? And did you know that pigs are man’s best friends when it comes to finding the nicest truffles?

On that day (photo.) in Saint-Géniès-des-Mourgues, the eyes of dozens of children are wide-open whilst a truffle Master makes an enormous sow sniff the ground. Suddenly, the animal pushes a black stone with his nose: it’s a truffle.

The audience applauds wholeheartedly. A man with a moustache raises the black diamond to the sky like a trophy. « It’s incredible ! » cries a young girl who came to the Truffle festival with her family; « Can you eat this? ». Yes you can. And at the market which is part of the festival, producers and reknowned chefs are here to prove it.

The opportunity is there for the visitors who have often never tasted the famous ‘tuber melanosporum’ to do just that.

Vendanges  © Les Editions Chabot du Lez

At the end of a wine harvest day, a man walks towards his tractor full of red grapes in a vineyard between Mauguio and Montpellier.

We continue our gourmet trip in the Metropolis. To accompany our meal, it is impossible not to take a detour among the vineyards.

The Clapas wines are among the most prestigious wines of France and the World. Nestled at the heart of the Languedoc Controlled Origin Certification (AOC), you can taste appetizing reds, sweet whites or festive rosés. Each year from August to October, wine makers and the summer workforce work tirelessly in the trenches of our vineyards before the bottles can be opened on our tables.

« It’s a difficult and exhausting job but when we know that after several weeks of wine harvest we contribute to the conservation of one of our most precious products, the wine, we are rather proud ». explains Loris, a seasonal worker from Montpellier who never misses a wine harvest. 

« It’s true, each year we are proud to see the first bottles of wine » continues a local wine maker. « We perpetuate the tradition of our elders and above all, we try to please those who taste the wine! »

And for those who are curious to learn what happens behind the scenes of wine making, many wine estates and cellars offer enlightening guided tours to learn how a grape will produce  a great wine. « To take a walk in a vineyard or a cellar is quite amazing» confides Guy, an enthusiastic wine tourist. « Those places filled with history offer a certain serenity… and the wine makers are always happy to welcome you, a bit like a rock star receiving a fan in his dressing room. »

It is decided. For our diner tonight we couldn’t resist a sweet white wine for the aperitif followed by a stronger red to go with the meat.

Montpellier is also an excellent stop for good food lovers.

The Reserve Rimbaud of Charles Fontès, La Maison de la Lozère of Eric Cellier, are all among the most highly regarded addresses of the Hérault capital.

In the narrow streets of the town centre and in the surrounding villages, the Metropolis overflows with fine dining to discover, with your eyes closed and your mouth wide open.

The reputation of the Mediterranean diet and of our local produce is of such a culinary delight "Toqués d'Oc"