10 Things To Do in Montpellier, France

When you think France you automatically think love and Paris. That’s pity – not the love part but that only city we let define our image of France is its capital. I love Paris and its cultural touristy things but there is a lot more to see in this huge European country. Paris may have Eiffel Tower, Louvre and dozen of other attractions popular among tourists but other parts of the country have as much if not even more to offer for those loving adventures.

Today we are going to take peak to France’s south coast and list 10 things to do in Montpellier.  I was privileged to visit this charming city last year. Montpellier is more known among the local travellers and families who come to spend their holidays to the beautiful beaches. Everyone who prefers old town atmosphere, street art varying from graffiti to magicians or relaxed days on beach will fall in love with Montpellier.

 

beautiful beach and seashell

10. Day trip to the beach

Take the scenic tram or bus to the beach and enjoy the soothing sea. At winter you will be solely by yourself whereas summer brings all the local tourists to take their part of the sunbathing and swimming. Both seasons are worth of visit and maybe pick up some pretty stones or seashell as souvenirs.

Maybe this is because I’m Finn and not used to visit endless white sand beaches but this really made me fall in love with southern France. Not many things are as epic as walking around empty endless beach and picking up beautiful seashells. 

 

9. Roam around the old city

Start from the place de la Comedie and be ready to get lost (and to shop cheap shoes…) Stop for Nutella pancakes or to drink bear. Maybe visit some of the small galleries or drift to remote patio. Be ready to take photos because the old city is full of charm!

 

Montpellier Graffiti

8. Graffiti Hunting

There is two ways of approach graffiti hunting… First one is just go for it. The old town and literally every other place in Montpellier is full of street art. Just keep your eyes open and remember to look up and down. Because some of the art is on ground while some of it is up on the roofs. You will never know what you can find.

The second way of graffiti hunting is more systematic. Go to the tourist information (or use Google) and take map with marked graffiti spots. Then just look like a real tourist and use the map to locate some of the best street art there is.

One of the specialties of Montpellier are the huge murals taking over the whole wall of buildings. These may be hard to find at first because often they are made to look real and as part of the city. However after a little searching you will get amazed.

 

7. Guided Tours

Montpellier is full of tours from free ones to pricey longer ones. Just go on the city’s tourism website or use google. I didn’t go to any while in Montpellier but heard a lot of good feed back of them. You will get to go in places normal tourist can’t get in. You can also try driving segway around the old city! I think there is tours for any kind of people so you will definitely find one perfect for you.

 

Wanderlust Wednesday: Travel Montpellier

6. Musée Fabre

This huge museum has something to offer for everyone. Mainly “older” art works, known artists and local masterpieces. It will take hours to wander around and see everything. When I visited Fabre the art works at the end of museum didn’t get a lot of my attention because of the tiredness. Visiting here in two different days would be the best option.

 

5. Rockstore & Gazette

Concert place and club in the downtown Montpellier. I didn’t go inside while in the city because I’m not huge fan of indie music or partying. However even just seeing the door is must thing to do. Unfortunately I have lost my photo from this place but it’s easy to recognize. Half of car comes out of the wall above their front door.

Gazette is another place to spend your evening and find interesting nightlife. I fell in love with this cozy restaurant, cafe, bar right after stepping in for the first time. Everyone from babies to elderly people can spend time together and have fun. There was literally people from every age group. And at one point of the evening there was free dance lessons for anyone wanting to take part.

 

Wanderlust Wednesday: Montpellier Travel Guide

4. Streets

With this I mean a lot of things. The street arts filling up every free wall space you could possible imagine being in city like this. Colorful decorations and small boutiques. The performers playing instruments, dancing and entertaining passersby. Endless possibilities to get lost and never find your way out.

Don’t forget to look out for the graffiti and artsy bikes coming out of the walls. And don’t be scared to visit the small galleries and shops that you can find everywhere from the city’s small streets. Montpellier’s charm is hold in these places.

 

Wanderlust Wednesday: Travel Guide Montpellier

3. Tram, Tram, Tram

If I had to say my favorite thing from Montpellier it would be the colorful trams! Also if I had to share one surviving tip for Montpellier: never cross the tram lines… This is not for your own safety but rather tip to not get lost. The trams circle around the old town so if you never cross the tram lines you will never exit the old town. This way even if you get lost you won’t be totally in trouble.

There is several tram lines that have all their own design. For example blue tram with bird design and colorful one with funny images. The stops are always styled similarly to the trains passing through it. In addition of looking cool trams are cheap way of going around and see more than just the centre of Montpellier.

 

2. La Panacee

I live for free museums and modern art. La Panacee combines those two (and amazing buffet restaurant.) It may be hard to find and at least for me it took several tries to exploring around the old streets before spotting this small museum. Definitely worth of taking your time and trying to find it. The changing exhibitions are interesting and something different from the more normal museums. And did I already mention that it is FREE! 

 

Wanderlust Wednesday: Montpellier Urban Travel Guide

1. Wine & Cheese picnic

The last but not the least on my list is picnic. Go to local super market, buy some cheap cheese, wine or sweets and find beautiful place to have picnic. Maybe you should go to the beach or some of the lively parks. Where ever you decide to make your home, Montpellier won’t disappoint you. This city is full of life, funny people and charm. (Disclaimer: Don’t picnic on tram tracks like my photo seems to suggest…)

 

So have you ever been to Montpellier? Or have you even heard about this charming city? Any comments you have are appreciated like always…

So this was the first post of my returning Wanderlust Wednesdays series! I hope you liked it because there is more posts coming soon.

With love,

Viivi Severina

 

TOP10 Tokyo

Today I’m going to introduce for you my ten favorite things to do in Tokyo. I tried to pick up different activities, some free some not and even put them to order from 10th to 1st. If you have more recommendations, feel free to share them in the comments.

 

10. The National Art Center

artmuseum_tokyo

Tokyo has countless amount of different museums. It was hard decision to pick out just one of them. National Art Center was for me the most charming museum. Different exhibitions. Interesting artistes form Japan, Asia and around the world.

The modern art exhibition I visited was one of the best I have been. There was videos, sculptures, interactive art and inspiring works of art. One work even let the visitors take a piece with them. There was also a big house made of homeless people’s cardboard boxes.

 

9. Go to concert

tokyo harajuku street performance

Japan has music to offer for everyone’s tastes. Maybe go to small bar and listen rock or to big stadium see pop star. The Japanese music scene has many interesting artists and genres. In my opinion you can find concert experience that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else. If you are lucky, there may be free concerts or events on the street.

Visit Tower Records store and ask if they sell tickets (if they don’t ask in which of their stores they do). The staffs are nice and at least for me they were able to suggest concerts foreigner should see as part of their Tokyo experience.

 

8. RiSuPia

Risupia tokyo museum

Some may say this place is for kids but I enjoyed it as twenty years old solo traveler. Japan is the country of inventions and in RiSuPia you can experience just that. Go to buy your ticket and while waiting for your turn check out all the new inventions from first floor or play newest Nintendo and Wii games in the second floor.

You get this remote thing and with it do different tasks in RiSuPia. Problem solving, funny experiments and teaching games. It really made the mathematics, psychics and chemistry lot more clear and easy. This should be the way to teach things to children! But the point is I had fun and the staff were amazing and kind. I recommend visit in RiSuPia for everyone.

 

7. Ueno Park

sunset in ueno park

I would write a long post about Ueno Park and why it is one of my favorite places in Tokyo. I lived near it and spend countless of hours exploring around. Ueno park is home of zoo, museums, shrines and temples. Take pretty picture with torii gates or people watch locals having free time around the beautiful fountain.

Museum in ueno park

The park is right next to Ueno station so many people are hurrying through it towards schools, works and homes. At evenings different dance groups are practicing and having fun. (I stalked this one group dancing with light sticks in too many nights…)

Tokyo Ueno Starbucks

Ueno zoo is worth of seeing if you have time. The pandas are their biggest attraction but I totally fell in love with the zoo area itself. Next to zoo you can find small alley made of torii gates, the spot many tourists (and me) took pretty picture of themselves. The locals are happy to help you and take the picture (even if you don’t ask!).

 

6. Harajuku (Takeshita Street)

Line Friends shop Harajuku

As district Harajuku is place you should just get lost and find interesting shops, crazy looking people and small museums. However I know some people are short of time and for you I recommend walking Takeshita Dori/Street. They even have maps made of that one street and it’s countless shops selling different kind of fashion. Be aware of the mass trying to run over you if the touristy you decides to be too slow at walking!

 

5. Sibuya

umbrella_tokyo

One part of Tokyo known for Hachiko dog statue and rumored to be world’s busiest pedestrian crossing (Shibuya crossing). May sound crazy but I recommend visiting here when it is raining. The way Japanese walk with their umbrellas without bumping to other people is art!

 

4. Senso-ji

Senso-ji Temple Asakusa Tokyo

When visiting Japan you should go to see at least one temple or shrine. I recommend Senso-ji because of the area around it and it is photogenic place. Walking from metro station to the temple is an experience on its own. There is small shops everywhere selling sweets, souvenirs and fortunes. If you walk to one of the side alleys getting lost is sure but so are amazing adventures.

 

3. Cherry Blossom Viewing

Japan is known for its pinkish blossoming trees and the beautiful pictures taken from them. Unfortunately you only can see cherry blossoms at specific time at year. For example I didn’t see them when going Japan in autumn (well I have reason to return…) The best time to go and get charmed by the pink brilliance is in spring but you should google more accurate timing.

 

2. Character Street

Hello Kitty Character Street

Character street gets the second place because it’s something different, cute and full of life. (Oh and free to go if you don’t get too desirous to buy something!) The shops are lined closely next to each other and people are everywhere. There is a lot of tourists but also locals. You will find Character Street on the basement of Tokyo Station.

 

1. See Mt. Fuji (from far away)

Tokyo metropolitan government building night

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building offers two free observation decks. I visited there three times while in Tokyo and there was no line at all (an most of the times I was even alone in the elevator…) Maybe this is for me at first place because I am from small city and never seen skyscrapers before but definitely must place to visit for everyone.

The views are breathtaking and if you are lucky and the mother nature is in good mood (read the weather is clear) you will be able to see Mt. Fuji. You should start from here and check out the city from above. Good place to go either in sunlight (to see everything clearly/the Mt. Fuji) or after dark (beautiful city lights).

 

To see more free things to do in Tokyo go HERE.

Top 10 Things To Do In Tokyo Japan
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With love (and endless homesickness to Japan),

Viivi Severina