Montpellier: A triumph of youth
Carried along by a youthful and sport-loving public, and on the shoulders of a thriving economy and surrounding area, the Languedoc capital ranks as one of the most cities dynamic in France.
43 % of Montpellier's population is under 30, which tells you a lot about the feel and pace of the city. The Languedoc-Roussillon is a region which can claim the nation’s biggest population growth and its main centre has become France’s eighth city thanks to an uninterrupted development over the last 50 years. The Herault metropolis, sitting between the sea and the Cévennes mountains, offers a style of life made even more attractive by its Mediterranean climate. South Africans and Australians alike, whose team play at La Mosson in 2007, are sure to fall under its spell and may never leave!
Europe’s oldest medical faculty
Montpellier also has a youthful past. Unlike its Languedoc neighbours Carcassonne, Béziers or Narbonne, the city was not founded in Ancient times but several centuries later, in the year 1,000. At the crossroads of trade with Spain and Italy, close to the Salt Route, Montpellier rapidly became an economic and cultural capital. The brightest talents were drawn to its Medicine Faculty, founded in 1220 and considered the oldest in Europe. Later, personalities such as François Rabelais and Auguste Comte spent their youth on the banks of the Lez and the Mosson.
One in four a student
This university tradition also endures; no fewer than 70,000 students - one out of every four residents - cram into the three universities and six “grandes ecoles” and then catch up for coffees and political discourse at the Place de la Comédie, the heart of the city, a step from the medieval district of l’Ecusson. Montpellier's economic growth has translated into 33,000 companies choosing it as their base, specializing in high technology, chemicals, pharamaceutics, information technology (IBM). Even in sport - and outside the confines of football and rugby - the city enjoys unusual success: Montpellier HB won the European handball championship in 2003.
43% of the population under 30
Community of agglomerations
90,000 students of which 70,000 at Montpellier
13 business parks comprising 1,470 firms employing 29,523
Region: Languedoc Roussillon