Tried and tested – Montpellier

by Traveleads | January 23, 2019 | Reviews

As businesses continue to expand, travel has become an almost essential part of that growth cycle. Gone are the days of meetings taking place only in capital cities, or the sprawling expanse of a major metropolis.

Today business is just as likely to take you off the beaten track, as it is to more predictable destinations – such as Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo.

As growth across all sectors reaches lesser known cities and regions, we are seeing a new trend emerge, and business travel is increasing to destinations once reserved for holiday-makers.

We asked members of the Traveleads team to tell us about some of the cities they have visited, and this week Rosie Campbell (IT Administrator) shares her recent trip to Montpellier, France with us:

I would have to begin by saying that Montpellier is a wonderful city and makes for a great weekend break, or business trip. If you’re in the market for chic boutiques, designer wine bars, electronic music and art house films, then Montpellier is the place for you. Languedoc-Roussillon’s capital city is arguably one of the chicest spots on France’s south coast.

With a relatively short flight time of only two hours from the UK and low-cost airlines offering direct regional flights, it really is an easy place to visit, not to mention affordable! We flew with Ryanair and included priority boarding, guaranteed 10kg hand luggage and front row, extra leg room seats. Our return flights cost £100.00 per person, including taxes and fees, although prices may vary.

From Montpellier airport it takes just 10 minutes to reach the centre of town in a taxi and costs €26 one way.

My sister had been in town to attend a conference at the Corum – which is a 6,000m2 conference and exhibition centre, just a 10 minute walk from the train station, so we decided to join her after the conference for a few nights, to explore the sights and delights of Montpellier.

Montpellier is a gorgeous and compact city, and can easily be discovered on foot. Visitors tend to start their Montpellier sightseeing tour on the central expanse of Place de la Comédie, seduced by its café terraces and imposing, 19th century opera house.

We took a quaint little sightseeing train, which proved to be the ideal way to familiarise ourselves with the layout of the area.

The main parts of the city have been pedestrianised – creating a safe, traffic free, relaxed environment. Broad boulevards are shaded by tall trees and lovely boutique stores line the pavements. Along with high-end designer names you’ll find a huge shopping centre containing many high-street brands.

Montpellier boasts colourfully exotic botanical gardens, perfect for picnics and time to relax and unwind. The eclectic flea market every Sunday entices bargain hunters from far and wide, with items ranging from antiques, to a whole host of bric-a-brac. it’s a collectors paradise!

With so many bars and restaurants to choose from, offering live music and entertainment in the evening, it’s hard not to be captivated and swept away by Montpellier’s ‘joie de vivre’. With its two Michelin stars, contemporary décor and vast dining room, Le Jardin des Sens is the place to splurge in Montpellier, but there are umpteen more accessibly-priced gourmet options.

If you fancy a day on the beach, it’s less than 20 minutes by tram and bus to the coast. During the summer months when temperatures hover around 32 degrees, a refreshing dip in the Mediterranean is the fastest way to cool off! If you want to hire a car or take a taxi to the finest of all Languedoc’s beaches, Espiguette stretches for kilometre after kilometre of fine sandy dunes. This beach is big enough to find your own space, no matter how many people are there.

There are plenty of hotel and apartment options available in the city, ranging from the super swanky Domaine de Verchant (10 minutes outside of the city) to more recognisable centrally located hotel chains such as the Novotel, the Crowne Plaza and the Ibis.

At the end of our trip we decided to make like the locals and take the tram and bus back to the airport. At only €3 per person it seemed like the most cost effective way to transfer to and from the airport. The trams are a great, easy and cost-effective way to get around but be warned you must purchase tickets prior to boarding and validate them at the small machines located inside the tram door. As we found out the hard way an on the spot fine of €30 each may be issued if tickets are not validated.

We returned from Montpellier with the fondest of memories and a longing to return. I would love the opportunity to explore the Languedoc region in greater depth and hope to someday go back and discover more of the beautiful scenery and charm the area offers.

Bon Voyage! – Rosie Campbell

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