Jardin des Plantes


One of Montpellier’s hidden gems, the Jardins des Plantes is the oldest botanical garden in France. Established in 1593, it was used as a model for the much better-known Jardin des Plantes in Paris, laid out nearly 30 years later. Along its shady paths you’ll find more than 2500 species, including nine varieties of palm, 250 medicinal plants and an arboretum of rare trees, as well as a glorious greenhouse dating from 1860.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Montpellier attractions

1. Cathédrale St-Pierre

0.07 MILES

Noted for its disproportionately tall porch, Montpellier’s monumental Cathédrale St-Pierre began life as a church attached to the 14th-century monastery…

2. Hôtel de la Vieille Intendance


The early-17th-century Hôtel de la Vieille Intendance was built during the reign of Louis XIII for the queen mother and his niece Marie Louise d’Orléans …

3. Arc de Triomphe

0.22 MILES

Built in 1695, Montpellier's 52m-high triumphal arch is dedicated to Louis XIV. The tourist office organises guided tours in summer that take you up 103…

4. Place Royale du Peyrou

0.25 MILES

At the eastern end of this wide, tree-lined esplanade is the 1695 Arc de Triomphe. From the Château d’Eau, an elaborate hexagonal water tower at its…

5. Carré Sainte-Anne

0.28 MILES

The landmark neogothic St Anne's church, with dazzling stained-glass windows, was deconsecrated in the 1980s and is now a spectacular setting for…

6. Hôtel de Varennes

0.36 MILES

The Hôtel de Varennes is a harmonious 18th-century makeover of a medieval structure; it now contains the city’s small history museum, the Musée du Vieux…

7. Musée du Vieux Montpellier

0.37 MILES

This municipal museum has a fairly pedestrian collection of local-interest pieces ranging from furniture to paintings and antique weaponry, but it’s worth…

8. Musée Fabre


Founded in 1825 by painter François-Xavier Fabre, this exceptional museum houses one of France’s richest collections of European art. The galleries…