Montpellier is located in the south of France, in the Occitania region, bordering Provence to the east and Spain to the west. The sea is about ten kilometers from the city.
With about 300,000 inhabitants, Montpellier is the sixth largest city in France in terms of population. It is one of the preferred cities for those moving to France. In fact, thousands come to Montpellier every year and decide to settle here. The population has grown from 150,000 in the 70s to 280,000 today. The city’s dynamism, its favorable climate, the beauty of its surroundings and its ancient college also attract numerous students from all over France and the rest of the world.
It is a very charming and compact city, so all major attractions can be reached on foot or by bicycle. However, if you need a bus or a streetcar, you should know that the city has an excellent public transport system that allows you to move around the city without any problems. It is also well connected to Paris, which can be reached in just over 3 hours.
Montpellier has a beautiful historic center characterized by small squares from which old alleys and narrow streets branch off, dominated by historic buildings, stores, restaurants and countless small cafes with live music. Not to mention the extraordinary beauty of the surrounding area, such as the spectacular mountains that plunge into the sea or the magnificent landscapes of the Camargue.
Due to its location, (in the south of France and near the sea), the city enjoys an exceptional climate. Temperatures are pleasant almost all year round, with the exception of the winter months, when temperatures are low but never fall below 0 °C. But the city enjoys 300 or more days of sunshine a year.
As for safety, the first thing to say is that no big city is 100% safe, and Montpellier is no exception. To be honest, it is considered one of the most dangerous cities in France, both in terms of drug trafficking and in terms of common crime: robberies, assaults and thefts. But if you avoid the city’s notorious neighborhoods and take the usual common sense precautions, you should have no particular problems.
The cost of living in Montpellier is in an intermediate position, the city is more expensive than other cities in Occitania but cheaper than Paris or Lyon. Even finding accommodation is not very difficult and not even that expensive.
The inhabitants of Montpellier, like all the inhabitants of the south of France, are generally much more sociable and open than the northern French, who seldom trust strangers, unlike the southern French, where it is even easy to pick a quarrel with a stranger. Also, being a student city and with many foreigners working here, it is easy to meet foreigners or students.
The city is full of cafes, restaurants and clubs that provide music and entertainment for the many students in the city or for the many tourists who visit it every day. It is clear that it does not offer the enormous amount of cultural activities that a city like Paris can offer, but on the other hand it offers a wide range of sports that can be practiced outdoors.
Speaking of work, the question arises whether it’s so nice to live in Montpellier because most people live in the north of France. The answer is that, unfortunately, the greatest job opportunities are to be found in the big cities and in Paris in particular. But if you’re lucky enough to find a job here, you should know that the city can offer you a good work-life balance and a relaxed lifestyle.
Living and working in Montpellier, conclusion
When we talk about Montpellier, we often compare it with other cities in the south of France like Nice or Marseille.
Nice has kept its Italian soul. Walking through the streets and talking to the people, you can still feel the Italian spirit hovering over the city.
Marseille, with its port and large number of Maghrebians, has more of an African soul than a French one. Most people who live there come from North Africa, with a completely different culture, and have no idea what it means to be French.
Instead, Montpellier is proud to be a French city that preserves its typical culture and traditions.
For those interested in working in another French city, I recommend reading the guide to work in France
Those who want to learn more about how to move to France can read the article: Moving to France