Living in Montpellier is great. It’s a beautiful city, almost as well located for the mountains as for the beach, and summer lasts into October. Few cities can offer as complete a package as Montpellier. If you’re weighing up an opportunity to live in Montpellier – for work or study – we’d recommend you say yes. Few people fail to fall for the city.
But there is a lot to consider before moving to Montpellier. France can be a little exasperating at times to say the least. Many difficulties stem from the layers of bureaucracy which have been baffling expats since at least 1765. The first person know to have committed their grievances to paper was the wonderfully-named German author Baron von Grimm. Mr Grimm was less than impressed by aspects of his adopted home.
“The real spirit of the laws in France is that bureaucracy of which the late Monsieur de Gournay used to complain so greatly; here the offices, clerks, secretaries, inspectors and intendants are not appointed to benefit the public interest, indeed the public interest appears to have been established so that offices might exist,” Grimm wrote in 1765. Since then France has been through a revolution and two World Wars, yet that quote is still as accurate today. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
If none of those events changed French bureaucracy, it’s unlikely you will. Learn to accept it and living in Montpellier will be much less stressful. Banks will be closed when you need them most. Paying your tax might be harder than you ever thought possible. If a piece of paper can make your life harder, it probably will. We’ve tips on navigating some of the bureaucratic entanglements thrown up by life in Montpellier, but perhaps the best advice is simply ‘breathe’ and ‘be patient.’ Everything will happen eventually. Probably. Well, maybe.
Living in Montpellier – why the good outweighs the bad
A big benefit of moving to Montpellier over other parts of France, is when you leave a governmental office fuming at something, it’ll probably be sunny. And you’ll be in a beautiful city. With plenty of excellent bars. A swift demi in the sun is an excellent antidote to the frustrations of butting up against French bureaucracy. Polish it off with a trip to one of the city’s many excellent restaurants and you’ll soon be back in love with working in Montpellier.
As well as tips to take the pain out of moving to Montpellier, we have plenty of advice to get the most out of living in the city. Have a look through our archive and you’ll find articles on what to do in various seasons, our favourite takeaways and lots of other useful bits of local knowledge. Armed with this knowledge you can make the most of living in Montpellier. If you see an omission in our archives then please get in touch. We’re always keen to hear what expats are getting up to after moving to Montpellier.
First though stop and have a look at some of our advice on how to get around your new home town. Montpellier is blessed with good transport links around town – including the excellent tram system – and we’ve plenty of tips on where to go. If you want to go further afield, you’re equally well catered for in Montpellier. The airport is less well connected than some larger transport hubs but is sufficient. And the train links Montpellier with Barcelona, Geneva, Paris and other cities.
Overall, living in Montpellier is a wonderful experience. The food, wine, architecture, weather, people and surrounding area are all fantastic. To enjoy this life you’ll have to put up with occasional inconveniences, but the good far outweighs the bad.