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Culturally rich and buzzing with student life, Montpellier is one of France’s finest coastal cities with accommodation for all tastes and budgets. Montpellier city centre has a good selection of mid-range three-star hotels, from tastefully converted old mansions on the doorstep of the atmospheric old town to graceful high-rises with rooftop pools.
Most of Montpellier’s three-star hotels are located centrally between the railway station and the Place de la Comedie, Montpellier’s grand square. Dubbed Place de l’Oeuf for its egg-like oval shape, the beautiful marbled square has a fountain at its centre and people-watching cafes along its edges.
With a 19th-century theatre at one end and a pretty tree-lined esplanade at the other, the Oeuf is right at the heart of Montpellier and connects the old and new parts of town.
Founded in the tenth century, Montpellier is far from young, but it does have a youthful energy thanks to its trio of universities and huge student population. Things are less lively in the summer when the students are leave town, but the cobbled streets of old Montpellier are still packed with bustle and charm.
Choose a three-star hotel in the pedestrianised old town and you can stroll through its narrow lanes at your will, seeking out the 17th-century cathedral and discovering little French cafes and shops selling trinkets and local favourite, macaroons.
Montpellier is a coastal city with long stretches of beach in striking distance of the city centre. Three-star hotel prices are lower on the outskirts of town, and staying here puts you on the road to the lively beach of Palavas or the secluded sand dunes of Espiguette.
If you are staying in town, take your pick from highbrow events at the Corum concert hall or the art exhibits at the superb Musee Fabre. The Musee has a huge collection of contemporary artworks, ceramics and European paintings stretching from the 17th to the 19th centuries, including priceless works by the likes of Raphael and Delacroix.