Don't miss The must sees

Our top sites

Discover our selection of the top sites you won’t want to miss!

Places to discover

1. The Triumphal Arch

Designed by architect François D’Orbay, a student of Mansart, Montpellier’s Arc de Triomphe was built in 1692 on the site of one of the gates of old ramparts.

It is the only way into Montpellier from Peyrou Park. 

Discover its medallions, bas-reliefs and attic (top) colour in ochre and yellow, as well as a royal coat of arms which has regained the colour blue for France…


Exclusively on a guided tour run by the Tourist Office, you can climb the Arc de Triomphe (about 90 stairs), where you will discover one of the most striking views of Montpellier and the surrounding area.

2. Faculty of Medicine

Montpellier’s Faculty of Medicine is a unique place, not only because it is the oldest still in existence but also because it adjoins Montpellier Cathedral.

Let us guide you…

Enter this historic site. As soon as you walk in, the great room will surprise you with its monumental staircase.

The School of Health, to the left, is located in the old private apartments of the Bishop. In this cloakroom, you can admire the many portraits of alumni physicians, all dressed in the traditional colour of physicians, red, in contrast to the surgeons who are clothed in black.

The Salle des Actes (Assembly Room) is the students’ viva voce room, in the former Bishop’s Chapel. During the ceremony, the students all had to wear the famous “gown of Rabelais” and take their oath under the statue of Hippocrates, a tradition which is still in place today. Can you find the lone female doctor amongst the portraits in this room?

The Faculty of Medicine also possesses an extensive library, with 100,000 volumes in print, 900 ancient manuscripts, and each and every thesis defended at the faculties of Montpellier since the 17th century, some by famous doctors.

The inner courtyard holds the cloister belonging to the former Benedictine monastery and the anatomical amphitheatre.

3. The Mikvé

This 12th century ritual bath designed for the Jewish rite of purification is the only remaining witness to the size of the Jewish community, that played a major role in the development and influence of Montpellier.

It is one of the oldest and best preserved mikvehs in Europe. It is fed by a continuously renewed groundwater source. The water comes out through an aperture, symbolizing its passage.

You enter by going down 15 ritual stairs leading to the undressing room, with the bath itself visible below through the gemelled window.

The building on Rue de la Barralerie is a listed Historical Monument and contains remnants of the medieval synagogue.


The Mikvé can only be visited on the “Essential Montpellier” tours offered by the Tourist Office!

4. St Pierre Cathedral

Converted to a cathedral in 1536 when the Archdiocese of Maguelone was transferred to Montpellier, it was originally the chapel belonging to the Benedictine monastery.

Absolutely not to be missed: the porch, an imposing canopy supported by enormous circular pillars measuring 4.55 metres in diameter, that once bore the arms of Urban V, a former student and teacher in Montpellier, later appointed bishop before being elected pope in Avignon (1362).

It is a representative example of the Gothic style in the South of France and the only medieval church in the Ecusson to have survived the Wars of Religion. 

Inside, a major piece by Sébastien Bourdon, The Fall of Simon Magus, will sweep you away into the artistic life of 17th century Montpellier. The painting depicts an apocryphal episode from the life of Saint Peter (whose name the cathedral also bears).

Montpellier Cathedral has been a listed Historical Monument since 1906.

5. The Opéra Comédie

Inaugurated in 1888, Montpellier’s Opéra Comédie, a large Italian-style theatre, is the work of architect Joseph-Marie Cassien-Bernard (1848-1926), a student of Charles Garnier.

Red velvet seats, gilding and arrangements in the pure tradition of an Italian theatre: this gem of Montpellier is a performance venue which is unique among its kind.

With the exception of establishments in Paris, it is the largest Italian-style theatre in France, after the one in Bordeaux.

The Montpellier Occitania National Opera Orchestra performs here.

With its 93 musicians and a chorus of 31 singers, the organization boasts a vast repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary music.


The Tourist Office organizes regular tours which allow you to explore the building from its lobby to backstage and admire its many sculptures and paintings. Not to mention the hidden aspects of the décor, thanks to the presence of the stage manager who will alternate between explanations and anecdotes.

6. Private Mansions

After the Wars of Religion, Montpellier was rebuilt thanks to its new status as capital of Languedoc. The city grew richer, and the medieval hostals were reorganized.

The first private mansions appeared.

This construction would continue into the 18th century. Today, Montpellier contains nearly 80 private mansions. Over the centuries, the wealth of the nobility was displayed in an abundance of décor, with the buildings’ windows, balconies and façades becoming truly majestic.

Explore the city with your eyes looking upwards!


These places are mostly private and closed, but for the curious-minded visitor, you can take advantage of a gate hanging open to peek in and discover surprising, elegant inner courtyards. But better still, join one of the Tourist Office’s guided tours, and we will unveil the secrets of these hidden places, opening up doors that would otherwise be closed to you.

7. The heights of Montpellier

Get a good view of Montpellier and enjoy the different viewpoints of the city!

Among which:

  • The top of the Arc de Triomphe
  • The Tour de la Babote (Babote Tower)
  • The Urbain V Tower of the Saint-Pierre cathedral

8. Contemporary architecture

The emblem of the Port-Marianne district and the result of the collaboration between Jean Nouvel and François Fontès, the Montpellier City Hall is a model of contemporary architecture, but it is not the only jewel to be discovered!

Among the other curiosities: the Arbre Blanc by architects Sou Fujimoto, Nicolas Laisné and Manal Rachdi, the Folie Divine by Farshid Moussavi, the Nuage by Philippe Starck…

9. Maguelone Cathedral

Located to the southwest of Montpellier, Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone boasts 9 kilometres of preserved beach, devoid of any constructions.
You can reach it via a footbridge straddling the Rhône Canal at Sète.

On foot, by bicycle or aboard the Petit Train (May to September), a path will lead you to the beach, but not just there.

In a lush green setting in the middle of the peninsula, Maguelone Cathedral is a unique place where history and tradition intermingle.
This Romanesque fortress-church, formerly a bishop’s palace, hosted popes and bishops during the Middle Ages.

The town has a number of well-reputed vineyards offering a range of consistently award-winning wines and muscats.