from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Montpellier coat of arms
Montpellier (France)
Country France
region Occitania
Department (no.) Hérault ( Prefecture ) (34)
Arrondissement Montpellier
Canton Montpellier-1
Montpellier - Castelnau-le-Lez
Community association Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole
Coordinates 43 ° 37 '  N , 3 ° 53'  E Coordinates: 43 ° 37 '  N , 3 ° 53'  E
height 7– 121  m
surface 57.12  km²
resident 295,542 (January 1, 2019)
Population density 5,174 inhabitants / km²
Postal code 34000, 34070, 34080, 34090
INSEE code

Hotel de ville Montpellier

Montpellier  [ mɔpəlje, mɔpɛlje ] ( Occitan Montpelhièr ) is one of the largest cities on the French Mediterranean coast and belongs to Région Occitan , which on 1 January 2016 by merging the former regions Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon has emerged. Until then, Montpellier was the capital of the latter. Montpellier is the seat of the Préfecture des Dérault . The population is 295,542 (as of January 1, 2019) (1999: 225,392), together with the suburbs, the population is over 400,000. Please click to listen!Play


Montpellier is located about 240 km east of Toulouse and 170 km northwest of Marseille in a hilly area, about 10 km from the Mediterranean coast, on the river Lez . The original name Monspessulanus is derived either from Mont Pelé (bare hill, little vegetation), Mont de la Colline or Monte Pestelario .


Montpellier is one of the few important French cities without an ancient background. It was first mentioned on November 26, 986, when Count Bernard de Melgueil (Melgueil corresponds to today's Mauguio ) William III. Land on the ancient Via Domitia , between the Lez and Mosson rivers, for his selfless merits. His heirs built a castle that housed a castle and a chapel. Due to the excellent location between Catalonia and Italy on Via Domitia next to the port of Lattes , Montpellier quickly became a trading center with connections across the Mediterranean, to Spain and Northern Europe and developed a mixed population of Jews, Muslims and Christians. Goldsmiths, drapers and also merchants settled here, and even today you can tell from the street names in the historic center which goods were traded there. On November 9, 1202, the dynasty of the Lords of Montpellier from the Guilhems family (in German Wilhelm) ended with the death of Wilhelm VIII.

Montpellier came into the possession of the kings of Aragon through the marriage of Marie of Montpellier to Peter II from Aragon in 1204 and their death in 1213. Montpellier received city ​​rights in 1204 and the right to appoint twelve ruling councilors a year. The very extensive privileges were retained until the death of James II . In the Middle Ages, the Via Domitia was used as a pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The Notre-Dame-des-Tables church in Montpellier was an important stop for the pilgrims of St. James. As a result of pilgrimage tourism and the expulsion of Jews and Moors from Spain, a number of hospitals and charitable institutions developed in Montpellier . 1220 founded city council Konrad von Urach (after 1170-1227), legate of Pope Honorius III. who have favourited Montpellier Medical School. By the end of the thirteenth century, the school's reputation was legendary.

In 1289 the medical school was given university status by Pope Nicholas IV . The university was shaped by Jewish, Arab and Christian cultures alike. Followers of all the cultures mentioned studied there. This was an almost revolutionary state of affairs, to which the university owed its enormous progressiveness. Montpellier was founded in 1349 by King James III. of Mallorca to the French King Philip VI. Sold by France to fill the war chest in the fight against Peter IV of Aragon to retake Mallorca. The city was the second most important in the French kingdom after Paris. But in the second half of the 14th century, the city lost more than a third of its population due to epidemics.

Early 15th century, the city experienced an economic boom thanks to its neighboring port Lattes and a commercial genius named Jacques Cœur , financier of the French king Charles VII. In this period of economic prosperity, the medical school made a vegetable garden (1593-Jardin des Plantes) the can still be visited today and is the oldest of its kind in France. After further growth, the Bishop of Maguelone finally moved to the neighboring parish of Montpelliéret in 1536, which was later taken over by Montpellier (see Archdiocese of Montpellier ). The Saint-Pierre Cathedral was built on the site of the Saint-Benoît Monastery (founded in 1364). In the 16th century, the Huguenots gained more and more influence in the city, also due to the Huguenot Wars , which led to the Huguenots of France being pushed back to the south. After 36 years of war, the Edict of Nantes in 1598 brought peace to the city for the next 20 years.

Louis XIII. of France waged war against the Huguenots in spite of the Edict of Nantes. He besieged the city in 1622 and conquered it after two months.

But due to the strong resistance of the Huguenots, especially in La Rochelle and Montauban , the king finally recognized the Edict of Nantes in the Peace of Montpellier on October 21, 1622. In order to nip any future resistance in the bud, Cardinal Richelieu had a huge citadel built right outside the city gates. Montpellier became the administrative center of the lower Languedoc. In the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685 the Edict of Nantes was revoked and the Catholic religion was established as the only state religion. There was a mass exodus of the Huguenots from France. In 1693 the Arc de Triomphe Porte du Peyrou was inaugurated in honor of Louis XIV and his victory over the Huguenots in Montpellier.

Industrialization turned the city into a regional industrial center in the 19th century, and in the 1960s the immigration of French Algerians (" pieds-noirs ") ensured rapid growth (see demographics).

The socialist Georges Frêche was elected mayor in 1977. Under his leadership, the cityscape changed rapidly. During his tenure, a. built the Antigone , a social housing estate in the post-modern “Roman style” in the east of the city center. Montpellier changed from a major city in the south of France to a metropolis with a strong international influence. So it has, inter alia. an international orchestra, a modern dance center , the Corum congress center and an exhibition center. The RadioFrance Festival and the Montpellier Danse Festival also take place there.

In 1943/44 the Navy maintained a naval hospital in Montpellier.


Continuous population growth ...

During the first half of the 20th century, Montpellier experienced low population growth, averaging 0.47% per year. Thereafter, growth exploded to an average of 2.2% per year between 1954 and 1999 with a record growth of 5.3% between 1962 and 1968. These were the years in which the " pieds-noirs " fled Algeria to France . According to the INSEE extrapolation , Montpellier had 244,100 inhabitants in 2004. This made Montpellier the eighth largest city in France before Bordeaux. With its enormous population growth, Montpellier has been at the fore in France for years.

According to the 1999 census, the population of Montpellier is made up of 20.9% people aged 0–19, 60.7% aged 20–59 and 18.4% aged over 60.

Population development
1806 1820 1876 1901 1911 1921 1936 1946 1954 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2004
33264 35123 55258 75950 80230 81548 90787 93102 97501 118864 161910 191354 197231 207996 225392 244100
- 0.39% ** 0.81% ** 1.28% ** 0.55% ** 0.16% ** 0.72% ** 0.25% ** 0.58% ** 2.51% ** 5.29% ** 2.42% ** 0.43% ** 0.67% ** 0.9% ** 1.61% **
Number declining since 1962: population without double counting
* annual calculation (new method of population census) ** increase per year based on the last census


After Georges Frêche ( PS ), Hélène Mandroux (PS) was mayor from 2004 to 2014. Philippe Saurel was Mayor of Montpellier from 2014 to 2020. Michaël Delafosse (PS) has been mayor since the 2020 local elections .

Economy and Infrastructure

The city is an industrial center and is known for medical technology, metal processing, printing industry, chemicals, agricultural technology, textiles and wine production.


The Joffre high school inside the Citadelle de Montpellier

Today Montpellier is one of the largest student cities in France alongside Paris , Toulouse and Aix-en-Provence . With more than 60,000 students, every fourth resident of the city is enrolled in one of the numerous universities.

Today there are three universities in Montpellier .

There are also several grandes écoles in Montpellier:

Montpellier is also the seat of one of two French faculties for Protestant theology, the Institut Protestant de Theologie . It has the status of an independent faculty, the Faculté de Théologie Protestante de Montpellier . Since 1972 it has formed the Institut Protestant de Théologie with the Faculté de Théologie Protestante de Paris . Since 2006 there has been mutual recognition of academic achievements with the Université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier III ; Since 2007 the faculty has also participated in the Ecoles Doctorales of this university.


Charite fountain ( Les trois graces ) on the Place de la Comédie
Tower of the former city fortifications, Tour de la Babote
  • The Place de la Comédie: Located between the main train station and the old town with the fountain of the three graces ( Les trois graces ) by Étienne Dantoine , the opera and the characteristic buildings. Because of its oval shape, the square is also called "the egg" ( l'œuf ). It is considered the center and meeting point of the residents.
  • The Cathedral of Saint Peter (Saint-Pierre) : built at the will of Pope Urban V at the end of the 14th century
  • Medical Faculty: Right next to the cathedral, founded in 1220, it is considered one of the oldest in Europe with famous graduates such as François Rabelais .
  • The churches of Sainte Anne, now used as an exhibition hall, and Saint Roche in the historic center.
  • The Triumphal Arch Porte du Peyrou: built in 1691 in the Doric style, later expanded in honor of Louis XIV, is located at the end of Rue Foch right next to the Palace of Justice.
  • The Promenade du Peyrou: Opposite the triumphal arch, laid out at the end of the 17th century on the highest point of Montpellier, it offers a view of the surrounding district and the aqueduct, which also feeds the water reservoir located there with its two 22-meter-high arcades. In the middle of the square is a statue of Louis XIV.
  • The St – Clément aqueduct : Created in the 17th century, the aqueduct extends over a length of 800 m through the Les Arceaux district . The entire aqueduct led from the spring at St. Clément, 14 kilometers away, into the city and filled a water tank near the triumphal arch, from where fountains and public water intake points were filled.
  • The Jardin des plantes: The first botanical garden in France, planted in 1593.
  • Musée Fabre : The museum, founded in 1828 by the painter François-Xavier Fabre , is associated with an art school. The museum has one of the most important public collections of paintings in France.
  • Musée Atger : Art museum in the Medical Faculty of the University of Montpellier with drawings and prints by French, Italian and Flemish masters
  • Musée Fougau : Folklore museum in a Hôtel particulier from the 18th century
  • Pavillon Populaire : Exhibition building erected in 1891 on the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle with temporary exhibitions on photography
  • Tour de la Babote: A former city tower, today the seat of the Astronomical Society, which operates an observatory there .
  • The Antigone district : East of the city center with several large monumental buildings by the Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill , which are built in the neoclassical style.


Famous sons and daughters of Montpellier include the botanist Pierre Magnol , the statesman Jean-Jacques Régis de Cambacérès , the philosopher and religious critic Auguste Comte , the singer Juliette Gréco and the politician Jean-Luc Dehaene .

Town twinning



Montpellier tram network

Montpellier's Aéroport International de Montpellier Méditerranée is located around twelve kilometers southeast of the city center near the Mediterranean coast. The airport was used by around 1.2 million passengers in 2009.

The main station is Montpellier-Saint-Roch in the city center, from which Paris can be reached in 3 hours 19 minutes since the completion of the LGV Méditerranée high-speed line . With the connection of Montpellier to the LGV Méditerranée near Nîmes , Montpellier received another train station Montpellier-Sud-de-France halfway to the airport for part of the through TGV traffic . A further extension of the high-speed line to Perpignan with a connection to the existing line to the Spanish border and on to Barcelona is in the planning stage under the name LGV Languedoc-Roussillon .

The public transport is by the Transports de l'Agglomération de Montpellier (TaM) performed. This operates numerous bus routes and four tram routes in the region. A fifth tram line is under construction. The TaM also operates the Vélomagg bike rental company with 1200 bikes.

Motorway : A 9 and A 7 (via Rhône Valley) or A 75 (via the Massif Central with the viaduct at Millau between Clermont-Ferrand and Béziers )

Climate table

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Montpellier
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 10.5 12.0 14.9 17.6 21.0 25.5 28.5 27.7 24.6 19.8 14.9 11.1 O 19th
Min. Temperature (° C) 1.2 1.7 5.0 7.5 10.8 14.0 16.2 16.2 14.0 9.6 5.4 2.3 O 8.7
Precipitation ( mm ) 72 72 55 55 52 33 20th 42 62 110 63 63 Σ 699
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 4.7 5.9 6.6 8.4 8.9 10.8 11.9 9.8 8.3 6.0 4.8 4.0 O 7.5
Rainy days ( d ) 7th 5 6th 6th 5 4th 2 4th 4th 6th 5 6th Σ 60
Humidity ( % ) 74 71 72 67 67 65 59 66 71 74 75 78 O 69.9
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


  • Heike Schmoll : Montpellier . In: Hans Dieter Betz, Don S. Browning, Bernd Janowski, Eberhard Jüngel (eds.): Religion in past and present . Concise dictionary for theology and religious studies. Volume 5: L-M. 4. completely rework. Edition. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2002, ISBN 978-3-16-146904-6 .
  • Ralf Nestmeyer : Languedoc-Roussillon. Michael-Müller-Verlag, Erlangen 2012, ISBN 978-3-89953-696-6 .
  • Félix Platter, Thomas Platter: Récits de voyages entre 1499 et 1628. In: Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (ed.): Le Siècle des Platter. 2 volumes, Edition Fayard, 1995 and 2000
  • Gérard Cholvy (dir.): Histoire de Montpellier. Self-published, 1984.
  • Josef Smets: Quatre voyageurs allemands à Montpellier, XVIIe – XIXe siècles. In: Bulletin historique de la ville de Montpellier , 1998, pp. 51-65.
  • Alexandre Germain: La Renaissance à Montpellier . BiblioBazaar, 2009, ISBN 978-1-113-00577-9 .

Web links

Commons : Montpellier  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Montpellier  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Montpellier  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. EKF Calendar , accessed March 25, 2016
  2. Montpellier is growing towards the Mediterranean