The more I travel, the more I see that there are few places in the world as privileged as the north coast of the Mediterranean arc. Of course, mine is a totally skewed and distorted view, and believing that your origins are in an area rich in history, monuments, with delightful food, a pleasant weather, and populated by beautiful and welcoming people, this happens to anyone... isn't?
Once established these approximate coordinates, the hard part is finding the right place that has it all, the point where you have to be when the next planetary alignment occurs. Then, without being a big fan of petanque or pastis, Montpellier is a strong candidate to become my headquarters, the base camp for the bon vivant from where to prepare the assault and exploration of the wide world. Here's why:
There is no really any top monument here worth crossing the seven seas to be visited. No need to get up early to queue to get into the museum, tourists used to be rare in Montpellier before the low-cost airlines era. Image Geoffrey Froment
Instead, the vast majority of the buildings in the old town are original medieval constructions of white stone where to wander around. Image Maevo66
It is the architectural ensemble and the sum of hundreds of streets, squares and details that will make you forget the architectural horrors from the postwar period. Image Geoffrey Froment and Trey Ratcliff
Even so, among its notable buildings, we find this peculiar cathedral, buried in the lower part of the city, contrary to what is usual. Next to it is the oldest active medical school in the world. Image Wolfgang Staudt
The towers of the portal of this cathedral-fortress certainly have a distinctive appearance.
Image Nick Thompson and Trey Ratcliff
But best of all is that once we have grown tired of walking and we think that we have seen it all, in Montpellier is very hard to get bored. Image Sergi Nog
There is always a excuse to go out, whether to celebrate that the new Beaujolais wine has arrived, the Fête de la Musique or some other festivals, there is always a good opportunity to socialize and interesting people out there. Image Fabien Martinez
Another of the advantages of settling here is the scale, although if you like big cities you may find Montpellier a little small.
But if you are someone who do not like to wait for your friends to have to cross the city by subway to enjoy all this bonheur, Montpellier scores. Image Andrea Ciambra
Only about 250.000 people live here (and half a million in the metropolitan area), but don't have the feeling of being in a provincial town from the periphery. Image Strapontins
Perhaps is the large young population and the universities which fuels its open and tolerant character.
It even seems that churches have to be cool...
All wrapped up in a stylish look retro between La Dolce Vita and a Martini ad.
Image Marco Fieber
Also Montpellier has being criticized of being a little megalomaniac, as major urban projects have not stopped growing.
Image Wolfgang Staudt
The flagship was the construction of the Antigone neighborhood, an area where ultra-modern buildings and public facilities inspired by ancient Greece were erected, but on a scale adjusted to the size of city. Image Éole Wind
Walking you find replicas of some of the most famous classical statues like the Victory of Samothrace. Actually it does seem a bit unreal, like you're in a movie set or a stage, like in the EUR quarter in Rome. Image David Olivari
Also you can go everywhere cycling or hop on the tram to get to a place that is a must... The beach!
Image Wolfgang Staudt
We almost forgot to mention the goodness of the weather: mountains at the west protect the city from neighboring clouds from the Atlantic climate. This means plenty of sunshine to enjoy the narrow strips of beach, that have a lake on one side and the sea on the other. Image Sabin Paul Croce
From the Pyrenees to the estuaries of the Camargue, the natural sites around the region of Languedoc are yet another of its delights. Image Franck. Minez
One of the nearby monuments is the awesome Pont du Gard, the tallest Roman aqueduct of history. Nimes, Arles and Avignon are some of the hundreds of places to continue experiencing high levels of art and beauty. Image Brian Smithson
Another amazing bridge, the Millau Viaduct, links the region to central France. Barcelona to the south, is at less than four hours distance. And you, where would you live for a while?
Image Chris Willis
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