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Montpellier Guitar Festival

In the modern and attractive Languedoc city of Montpellier (34 Hérault, Occitanie) there is an additional reason to visit in Autumn –  the Montpellier Guitar Festival Internationales Guitare  (14 September – 12 October 2019)

Montpellier Guitar Festival poster

This unique event in Europe reveals the richness of the guitar and presents famous musicians from around the world.

An eclectic and popular festival, the Montpellier Guitar Festival is also a moment for great musical encounters. More than just concerts, other events and activities are organized, such as the Crazy 24 Hours: a free music marathon driven by the sound of guitars.

Over 150 events, many of them free, during three weeks in September and October in Montpellier and the surrounding area.

Consisting of flamenco, jazz, swing, rock, classical, world music and electro, the festival has an eclectic programme open to all combinations and trends. There are large concerts and cultural events throughout the city, particularly the ‘24 hours of madness’ and ‘Reservoir Rock’.

For more info on the Montpellier Guitar Festival see www.les-ig.com/

By train TGV to Montpellier TGV with Rail Europe



Although its history is more recent than that of its neighbours, which dates back over two millennia, Montpellier has experienced unusual and dynamic development.

Now the undisputed capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier is the most recent of the major cities of the Mediterranean. Beginning as a small group of rural villages linking the cities of Nimes and Narbonne, the city of Montpellier was born in 985. Sited near the Domitian Way and the Way of Saint-Jacques de Compostela, with a port in Lattes next to the sea, the city developed around trade, attracting pilgrims and travellers who inaugurated its strong cosmopolitan tradition.

This  led to the emergence of an important intellectual centre, and Montpellier became the site of the first medical school in France. Both Nostradamus and Rabelais studied here! The botanical garden adjoining the university, was founded in 1593 by Henri IV to provide medicinal plants. Montpellier’s prosperity continued to rise for over two centuries, first with the Guilhem family – founders of the city – then as part of the kingdom of Aragon.

Hundred Years War

During the Hundred Years War the city suffered a series of severe crises and drifted into decline. It took on new life under the impetus of Jacques Cœur. He was appointed as the king’s commissioner in 1441 to the Estates of Languedoc to raise the economy of the region. The Wars of Religion caused further suffering and most of the Catholic and Protestant churches were burnt down.

The Enlightenment was a more beneficial period for Montpellier. Largely thanks to Jean-Jacques Regis Cambacérès, a native of the city who, after graduating in law, became a member of the National Convention of the Revolution, and author of the Napoleonic Code (1804). The city was largely bypassed by the industrial revolution, the region remaining agricultural. It made its fortune from wine in the course of the nineteenth century. A small provincial town after World War II, Montpellier experienced a boom in development prompted by the repatriation of French colonials from Northern Africa at the time of decolonization. The city was built on the demographic influx in the 60s with its population doubling in size between 1962 and 2002. At the same time, the computer giant IBM set up its European headquarters in Montpellier, giving an economic boost to the city.

The heart of the city remains the historic centre The Ecusson. destinationsuddefrance.com/