Things to Do in Montpellier
At just 658 meters high, it might be surprising to learn that Pic St-Loup is one of the most beloved emblems of the city of Montpellier. After all, the Alps are not that far away. But thanks to low vegetation, impressive 300-meter-high cliffs, and a surrounding relief of just 150 meters, Pic St-Loup is very prominent and can be seen from just about everywhere in the Hérault department. It is, by definition, part of the lower end of Massif Central.
Because of its micro-climate and unique flora, the mountain is a protected site and houses a thriving population of prey birds. The mountain is a very popular day trip from Montpellier for both curious tourists and serious hikers; there is an old chapel, castle ruins, a hermitage, and a symbolic cross atop the mountain. Not to mention the unobstructed panoramas, which stretch all the way from the Mediterranean Sea to the south to the Cevennes Mountains to the north. The wine produced on the low slopes of Pic St-Loup is some of the most highly-regarded terroirs in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.
The Montpellier Zoo (Zoo de Montpellier) covers 80 hectares (198 acres) just north of the city center. Opened in 1964, the zoo has the look and feel of a safari park with open enclosures where most of the wild animals roam free. With 120 species and 1,104 animals, the zoo covers a lot of ground, from zebra and lions to lizards and birds.
Housed within an old apothecary, this small two-room museum spotlights the pharmaceutical history of Montpellier, a city with a long-standing medical heritage. Exhibits include ceramic pots, barrels, mortars, and other vessels and tools—made mostly in Montpellier and used to make and store various medical remedies and antidotes.
Planet Ocean Montpellier is located in Montpellier, on the French Mediterranean coast. The second most visited tourist site in the Languedoc-Roussillon area is home to over 3500 animals of 400 species originating from all the seas and oceans around the globe. From the Mediterranean wonders to the depths of the Indian Ocean, from the South African splendors to the Atlantic Ocean and the Amazon—nothing is off limits at the Aquarium Mare Nostrum’s 33 basins.
More than just an aquarium, the museum features a sea storm and a 3D underwater exploration simulator –the only ones in Europe– as well as France’s largest covered basin in France, which is 10 meters high and 18 meters wide. The most sought-after species are, unsurprisingly, the African penguin, the coral reefs and the multicolored fishes of the southern seas.
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