Montpellier, France is a wonderful place! Full of cobblestone streets, cafes, croissants, and almost too sunny for its own good, to me it’s a little slice of paradise.
But, being a small town, isn’t particularly well connected (no direct flights here from Canada, for sure!) so planning how to arrive and how to leave can be a bit confusing at first.
That’s also one of the reasons the town is worth visiting- when it comes to international travel, Montpellier is still a well-kept secret. Shhh!
If you’re planning to visit Montpellier during your next trip to Europe, wonderful! Here is some basic info to help you plan your trip:
How to get to Montpellier by Train:
Can be pricey if you need to travel on a particular day, but it’s the best way to get here from Paris (and most destinations within France). Try to book 1-2 months ahead for the best prices.
A direct train from Paris it’s only 3 hours because most of the trip is done at 300km/h. Cool experience, plus it’s easier to get to and from the train station than the airport.
Sometimes first class is only $5 more expensive than second class, there isn’t a huge difference in service but it’s quieter and there’s more room for your stuff. (For reference, 35EUR for Montpellier-Paris is a really good price, 50-60EUR is average)
How to get to Montpellier by Car:
Car rental can reasonable (say 35EUR/day- the prices on the site include the basic insurance) but gas and tolls can add up if you’re doing long distances between cities. This site https://www.viamichelin.com/ is good for estimating road tolls and gas.
If you have a driver’s license written in French (from Quebec for example) I think you can drive here, but if it’s in English I think you’ll need either an international driver’s license or a translation.
Keep in mind almost all the cars have manual transmission.
How to get to Montpellier by plane:
Montpellier isn’t very well connected- the only cheap direct flights in the winter are to London (EasyJet) and Brussels (Ryanair). The prices are really low but if you need to check a bag it’s extra. We usually try to plan our luggage so we get one big checked bag for both of us.
If you’re not already in Europe, it’s probably easiest (and cheapest!) to fly into a bigger hub for your first stop and then taking a train, bus or low-cost flight to Montpellier. Paris, Barcelona, Brussels, and London are all great options.
If you’re trying to come to Montpellier directly without stopping anywhere else, check out flights into Marseille and a train to Montpellier (2 hours, 20-30EUR).
For example, Air Transat has cheap flights from Montreal to Marseille. For my last travel dates, that flight plus a train ticket was much cheaper and faster than any other connecting itinerary.
(If you’re flying Air Transat though… bring your own food. Trust me.)
How to get to Montpellier by Bus:
Barcelona is surprisingly close (350km)- there are lots of buses going there for as little at 11EUR (it takes 4-5 hours) or Rideshare for 20EUR or so per person https://www.blablacar.fr/
It’s worth the work!
So… lots of information, but hopefully it can help you flesh out an itinerary based on what you’re interested in seeing- the easiest places to get to and from here would be Paris, London, Brussels, or Barcelona, so if you’re interested in seeing any of those places it would be easiest to plan one before and one after Montpellier.
How to get around Montpellier:
When you’re here there is lots to see in the city by foot, but you can also rent a car for a day or two- there are lots of cute little towns, beaches, medieval walls, and more that are close but easiest to access by car.
There are also lots of little towns nearby that are accessible by train, like Nimes and Sète. The historic centers are within easy walking distance of the train station, so you won’t even need to take a bus or taxi- just good walking shoes. Enjoy!