Montpellier and the Mediterranean area

Montpellier is a city in the South of France. As the crow flies, it is less than 300 km (200 miles) from Barcelona and less than 500 km (315 miles) from Milan and thus enjoys a Mediterranean climate like its neighboring Spanish and Italian regions.

Elements of Mediterranean culture were imported to Montpellier, particularly culinary traditions symbolized by olive oil and wine.

The city’s university, founded in 1289, is among the first established in France. Its School of Medicine is the oldest in the world that still exists today. Nostradamus studied there and François Rabelais obtained his doctorate in medicine there.

Founded at an important crossroads linking Italy and Spain and characterized by a long tradition of intercultural exchange and human mobility, Montpellier has been a city-source of innovation for 1,000 years.

Montpellier today

A popular city for students from France and around the world
In the 2015 rankings of the “best cities for students” published by l’, Montpellier was placed third among 42 French cities and first among big cities with under 400,000 inhabitants. It is also first among big cities for its “international reputation” and "dynamism" and the only French city to appear among the 45 “places to go in 2012” selected by the New York Times!

A young and dynamic city
Montpellier is the city experiencing the fastest population growth in France. A total of 50% of the city’s population is under the age of 34.

A student city
With its universities, Grandes Écoles and research centers (INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research; CIRAD, Agricultural Research for Development; Agropolis; CNRS, the French National Center for Scientific Research; etc.), Montpellier is an ideal place to study. The city has nearly 70,000 students from around the world, meaning that one in four residents is a student.

Montpellier is the second most dynamic city in France
The greater Montpellier area, Montpellier Unlimited, is the fastest growing in France; it is ranked as one of the most attractive French metropolitan areas and as a fertile ground for entrepreneurs. (See the 2012 rankings in the July 5, 2012 issue of Challenges, in partnership with Le Journal des Entreprises).

Montpellier, a fertile ground for entrepreneurs
The creation of the following start-up incubators has established quality support structures that encourage entrepreneurship: Cap Alpha in 1987, Cap Gamma in 2004 and Cap Delta in 2007, and, more recently, the Cap Omega Incubator for Innovative Start-ups and MIBI, the Montpellier International Business Incubator.
In April 2007 in Seattle, the Business Innovation Center of the Greater Montpellier Area, the BIC, was named the best incubator in the world by NBIA, the international organization for business start-up professionals.

Montpellier, known for its unique features in the service sector in the fields of Health and Medicine, ICT, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, also participates in globally competitive industries such as water.

A city rich in culture
In Montpellier, 55 entertainment venues, 26 museums and art galleries, 49 libraries, over a dozen festivals, major international expositions, and more, all contribute to a rich and varied cultural and artistic life.

A sports city
In 2012, the French Académie des Sports awarded Montpellier the Marie-Christine Ubald-Bocquet prize for the most athletic city in France. The city’s clubs stand out in French championships and European competitions in handball, soccer, rugby, volleyball, kite surfing and water polo.
There are sports facilities near campus for team sports and track and field. In total, there are 534 sports teams in the city for practicing your sports of choice.

A welcoming ambiance
Located only 20 km (less than 13 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea (30 minutes by public transport), Montpellier enjoys a superb climate with an average annual temperature of 14.2 ºC (57.6 ºF), compared to 12.2 ºC (54 ºF) for all of France, and 300 days of sunshine per year. The city has nearly 50 parks and gardens, next generation trams (signed by leading designers, including Christian Lacroix!), over 120 km (75 miles) of bike lanes and a small, river-canal that is partially navigable, the Lez. In 2011, Montpellier was the European Capital of Biodiversity and the same year won the French national award for Green spaces.

From medieval to contemporary architecture
A former medieval city, rich with narrow streets and numerous medieval remains, Montpellier today is a mecca of modern architecture. The most famous international architects have left their mark in projects around the city, including the Antigone district designed by Ricardo Bofill, the City Hall designed by Jean Nouvel and François Fontes and the departmental archives building designed by Zaha Hadid.