Regarded as one of the great undiscovered cities in France, Montpellier is the perfect location for a rural retreat. It’s also the gateway to a fabulous area full of attractions, from Carcassonne’s incredible hilltop citadel to the romance of the Camargue. Of course, it helps to have a hire car to get around all these great sights.
We’re in a perfect position to help you arrange hire cars in Montpellier. We’ve got convenient rental pick-up points across the region, including offices at Montpellier Airport and the city’s main railway station.
We offer our best-price promise too. That means that in the unlikely event that if you find similar Hertz car hire locally at a cheaper price, we’ll refund the difference in full. And if you want to collect your car at one of our offices and drop it at another, that’s fine too.
Montpellier is a vibrant, fast-growing city, situated close to the Mediterranean coastline. Inland is the beautiful Languedoc region, while the coast is full of attractions in both directions. The best way for you to explore the city, the beaches and the surroundings is with a rental car.
The city stands just to the north of the A9 coastal motorway and has a loose ring road of smaller roads around it. The D65 makes it is easy to avoid the city center if you want to head out to one of the outlying areas.
The center itself is a maze of lovely little old streets, so it’s often best to park and stroll around. Be careful though if you're taking your rental car down these as some of these can be quite narrow. You should also be aware of the one-way system in operation in the city center, especially around the Place Royale du Peyrou area.
Further out you’ll find a series of wide arterial roads so you can get in and out of the center quickly. The A9 is useful for rapid journey times west and east: to Beziers and Perpignan in the former, and Nimes and Avignon in the latter. Heading inland, the roads are smaller, quieter and offer picturesque views across Montpellier. The routes heading into the Cevennes hills and gorges are among France’s most spectacular.
Traffic conforms to the normal French rules of the road. So you must drive on the right and follow French national speed limits: the maximum is 81mph on rural motorways, although this is reduced to 68mph if it is raining and 31mph in thick fog. Urban motorways and dual carriageways have lower limits. Built-up areas have a 31mph limit.
You’ll find there’s a relaxed, classy style to Montpellier. From grand architecture to the blissful rural retreats on the outskirts, this up-and-coming city already has all the ingredients for a memorable visit.
Relax on the golden sands
The city itself is six miles inland, so having a rental car really helps if you want to get to the beautiful sandy beaches. They stretch along a narrow spit of land separated from the mainland by lagoons. Lively La Grand Motte is bordered by a row of hotels, the little bay of Carnon Plage is quieter with houses along the waterfront, and Palavas Les Flots has a long shallow beach backed by apartments. For more unspoiled beaches head to Le Grand Travers, a two-mile strip of sand dunes, or secluded Maguelone, which is reached by a footbridge over the lagoon.
Cultivating history of Montpellier
The central public square, the Place de la Comedie, is an impressive pedestrianized space surrounded by grand 19th-century buildings. Explore the narrow streets off the square to find a Montpellier specialty: the ‘hotels particulier’. These are gorgeous mansions, mostly built for the wealthy members of King Louis XIV’s court at Versailles. Many are open for visits but it’s also inspiring just to wander around gazing at their grand facades.
Extend your stroll into the lovely Jardin des Plantes, France’s oldest botanical garden. It’s free to explore the orangery, glasshouses, and pools. The gardens home more than 2,600 different plant species, including nine different types of palm tree.
Other highlights of the old part of Montpellier include the landmark ornamental archway, the Porte du Peyrou. Just like a mini Arc de Triomphe, stand underneath and marvel at the fact that it was built in 1693 yet seems so perfectly intact.
France's natural wonders
Some of France’s best landscapes are a short drive from Montpellier. Cirque de Navacelles is an extraordinary geological formation: a circular canyon among the mountains. The views are amazing - you’ll certainly need your camera to capture the picturesque backdrop.
Head to the nearby deep Gorges of Herault, with cool turquoise rivers plunging through steep rock chasms and just a few miles further north you’ll enter the Cevennes National Park, a protected area of mountains, rivers, and pretty timeless villages. There are yet more opportunities for hiking, biking, watersports or simply having a picnic.
From Latin cities to tranquil riverside retreats
The A9 motorway makes it easy to drive to Beziers, a treasure of the South of France with an exotic Latin feel among its shady old streets leading down to a wide, slow river. Above the old town, the 13th-century cathedral looks down across the ancient rooftops towards the river.
Head inland to find one of the great tourist destinations of the area, the old hilltop citadel of Carcassonne. It’s a turreted and walled city that looks as good from the countryside below as it does from the narrow medieval streets within the walls.
A short drive east brings you to the mouth of the River Rhone, known as the Camargue. This romantic, tranquil delta spreads across waterways and islands to a distant hazy horizon. Follow the Rhone inland to the fabulous city of Avignon. This is another walled piece of living history. Within the fortifications, you’ll find the impressive Palace of the Popes, where French popes once held court. Head down to the river to find what’s left of the famous Pont d’Avignon bridge.
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 0800-1330 1400-1930, Sa 0800-1300 1400-1800, Su 1100-1330 1400-1800.
Opening hours:Mo-Fr 0700-2300, Sa 0800-2300, Su 0900-2300.
Address:Aeroport De Mediterrannee, Mauguio
Opening hours:Mo-Tu 0800-1300 1400-1800, We-Th 0800-1200 1400-1800, Fr 0800-1300 1400-1830, Sa-Su closed
Address:1369 Rue de la Castelle, Parc D Activites Garosud