Another six of the best free things to do in Montpellier

Still not got two centimes to rub together? Us too. Fortunately there’s still plenty more free things to do in Montpellier. Here’s another six of the best.




CC Image courtesy of Peter Curbishley on Flickr

There’s almost enough free stuff at or near the Peyrou to justify a dedicated own sub-section. Coming from the Comedie you pass along Rue Foch, a pretty, upmarket street, and come to Montpellier’s own Arc de Triomphe. It’s not Parisian in its grandeur but holds its own, particularly when lit up at night. Pass by the arc and to your left there’s a statue of Jesus on the cross, to your right the road leads down to the botanical gardens, and straight ahead is the Peyrou.


Wander past the central, domineering statue, sit in the small green areas, look for fish in the pond, and admire the view. It’s a magnificent view, probably the best in Montpellier. Behind the platform at the back of the Peyrou a viaduct stretches out over Les Arceaux and to the right you have an unobstructed view of Pic St Loup, the mountain some 20km from Montpellier where many of the region’s finest wines are grown. Find a seat in the dappled shade and it’s one of the finest places in Montpellier to watch the world go by.


Food market 


Taking the steps down from the main promenade at the Peyrou brings you to a lower level, lined with small trees which beguile with or without their leaves. From this lower level you can go down further to stand beneath the viaduct behind the Peyrou. Follow the viaduct along and, on a Saturday morning, you’ll find the excellent Les Arceaux market. All manner of meat, fish, vegetables, breads, herbs, and spices are on sale.


Petanque and table tennis


When Les Arceaux isn’t hosting markets it’s a surprisingly sporting location. It’s one of several areas where locals gather to play petanque – a form of boules that originated Provence – and also houses some concrete table tennis tables. Bring along a couple of bats and balls and you’ve all you need to play. It’s probably wise to bring a few spare balls. The tables are fairly close to the road and balls are liable to go rogue, especially if the wind picks up. That’s my excuse anyway, nothing to do with my heavy handed approach to table tennis.


Cycle ride to beach


Grab your bike or hire one of the Velomaggs and you’re a short, pleasant ride from the beach. Head down to Port Marianne and follow the signs to the beach. The route takes you along the river, past Lattes, and out to the Mediterranean sea.


Art exhibition


The church at Place St Anne – an excellent spot for an afternoon drink – now houses art exhibitions. It’s normally fewer than 10 pieces housed in one big room that comprises the bulk of the church, which is worth seeing in its own right. Sculpture features heavily. In the past interactive features have made it a great place for kids, although some other exhibits are probably less interesting for children. The small size means they shouldn’t be in there long enough for them to get bored. Definitely worth 10 minutes of your time if you’re passing. And you really should.

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