A perfect weekend in Montpellier

Buildings in Montpellier, France.

Whether long days at the beach, hikes through the mountains, or days spent shopping on cobblestone streets in the city centre are what you’re seeking, Montpellier offers it all – and is perfectly situated for accessing a slew of Languedoc-based wineries, too.

In addition to its central location amongst numerous Languedoc appellations, Montpellier itself is home to a bustling wine scene. Although the city doesn’t necessarily boast tasting rooms like other wine-centric regional capitals, the culture surrounding viticulture and vinification is palpable throughout the city’s food and beverage scene. From bustling outdoor terraces to rowdy hole-in-the-wall wine bars to haute-cuisine dining options, the thread that weaves Montpellier’s food and drinks scene is immediately obvious: wine.

Perhaps one of Montpellier’s single best selling points is its highly desirable weather year-round. For those seeking to break their wine-drenched evenings up with days spent lounging beneath the sun, the summer months of June, July and August offer optimal weather for checking out the region’s breathtaking, and affordable, private beaches. Spring and autumn months offer pleasant daytime highs between 15 and 25 Celsius, with winter daytime temperatures rarely dipping below 11.

Nestled between the gastronomic areas of the Sud-Ouest (South West) and Provence, the cuisine of France’s Languedoc region beautifully meshes the best of its neighbours. Home to hearty, meat-heavy cassoulet, as well as garlicky fish stew (bourride) and briny oysters, the cuisine of this versatile region offers something for every palate preference out there – and the region’s wines are equally versatile.

Whether coming from abroad or simply shooting down for a weekend from Paris, Montpellier is one of France’s most easily-accessible cities, thanks to its robust public transportation system. In addition to its small airport, located just about 10 kilometres outside of the city centre, Montpellier is also home to a high-speed TGV station, ideally located in the centre of town. To navigate the city beyond exploring on foot, Montpellier’s tram system is incredibly easy to understand, and when in doubt, Uber and taxis are very easy to come by.

The Languedoc region is home to the largest number of organic wines in France, as well as the biggest number of appellation-designated rosé wines. Formerly known as the Languedoc-Roussillon, the region now falls under the overarching Occitanie name, of which the Languedoc makes up 90% (remaining 10% is Roussillon).


A guest room at Hotel Richer de Belleval. Credit: Hotel Richer de Belleval

Evening / Overnight

Arrive in Montpellier around 3pm and check into Hotel Richer de Belleval, the first – and only – five-star hotel in the city centre. After meticulous renovation and restoration, this luxurious property finally opened its doors in June of 2021. Situated on the lush Place de la Canourgue, this former 17th-century estate now boasts 20 expansive guest rooms, each adorned with signature classic and romantic touches. Rooms include large beds, sitting areas with stunning views of the city and luxurious bathrooms equipped with a free-standing tub and separate shower, with Diptyque bath products at guests’ disposal.

Settle in at the hotel, enjoy a cappuccino at one of the many exquisite accommodations – be it the outdoor garden area, front terrasse, or enchanting bar-breakfast room hybrid – and stroll over to La Panacée, a contemporary art space featuring rotating exhibits and an expansive outdoor garden bar.

Post art excursion, head for a glass (or bottle) at Les Canons, a hole-in-the-wall wine bar that’s simply not to be missed. Founded by Camille Lapierre of the famed Beaujolais-based Lapierre family, this cozy wine bar is best known for its well-curated natural wine selection and small plates, though the former is truly the star of the show.

For dinner, return…

Source : https://www.decanter.com/wine-travel/a-perfect-weekend-in-montpellier-486532/