This is a scheme allowing you to hire a bike to get around Montpellier, get some excercise and keep the pollution down. The picture gives you all the details you need to know as well as the prices by the hour or daily.
As you know, cycling is extremely popular in France generally, so give it a go!
There are fast (TGV) direct train services to Montpellier from all over France and beyond (including Belgium, Switzerland and Italy). It takes just 7 hours from London with one change at Lille, which is how we did it (about GBP 100 one-way, first class).
Trains from Lille take about 5 hours, from Paris about 3 and a half hours.
There are also Talgo trains direct to Barcelona twice a day (taking just under 5 hours).
Moving around Montpellier is easy. The city is well served by two lines of tram.
The trams are very pleasant, clean, comfortable (air conditioning in summertime and heating in winter), and offer an excellent view of the city. Trams arrive every three to five minutes at peak hours but less frequently at night.
Ticket prices are the same as for the buses and the tickets are interchangeable. Purchase tickets before boarding - there are multi-lingual ticket machines at each tram stop.
Trams are also goodlooking, line 1 is blue with white swallows, while line 2 has a flowered pattern.
Some contemporary artists have been employed to design the elegant livery.
Avoid ADA car hire. I am British and was seriously ripped off. I rented a car for a weekend and handed it back in perfect condition. They claimed there was a dent on the back bumper - complete rubbish. They claimed to have had a quote done for the 'repair'. I ask for them to fax it to me. They REFUSE. I ask for it to be sent to me by post. They say they will but it never arrives. I don't think it ever existed. In the meantime they debit my card for 220 euros. It emerges from the French consumer website www.ciao.fr that this is common practice. I wish I had checked before. Caveat emptor.
To reach the area :
1) Plane : you land at Montpellier.
2) Train : there are some TGV (Train ? Grande Vitesse) which link Paris to Montpellier.
3) Euroline : the coaches stop at Montpellier and at Beziers.
4) Car : from North use the motorway A 75 which is less busy than the A6/A7. Unfortunatly, A75 is not finished and you must use the road at Millau and there is often a heavy traffic.
The Millau bridge (in building on the picture) must be acheived on January 2005. So the motorway will be direct from Paris to Montpellier. In Summer, you can expect at least 2 hours of queue to cross the city of Millau.
One of the greatest way to go to Gruissan is via the TGV (the fastest train).
You have to take the train from Paris-Gare de Lyon to Narbonne via Montpellier. The time from Paris to Montpellier (800km) is 3hours and 15 minutes.
The company SNCF, has put in place low cost train fare, which means that you have last minute ticket at 50% discount. For example, you can have a one way ticket from Paris to Montpellier, last minute ticket, at 34 euros. These tickets are sold only in Internet and you can print your ticket (electronic ticket).
Montpellier is a small town and the best way to see it is on foot. There are many nice streets, quiet gardens & parks to see and most of these are located in or around the town centre. There is also a tram system within the city which looked rather nice.
If you want to see the Mediterranean Sea, take the tram to station "Port Marianne" and take one of the busses down to the sea. To get back, you can take one of those busses again, but there is also a bus that goes from La Grande Motte (and even further) along the coast and then straight to Port Marianne.
Nothing more easy than the TGV, high speed train, that puts you right in the heart of the city
Montpellier has an excellent bus system and just while I was there they opened Tramway. Take a ride from one end to the other if you are tired of walking. It connects La Paillade with its flee market, the university, the city center and a huge shopping mall.
On the picture is the Arc de Triomphe of Montpellier. Besides Paris and Montpellier there are more placand countries that have a gate like this. An example is the India Gate in Delhi.
Better rent a car at ADA voitures
(cheapest car rental there) so you can easily visit Palavas and other resorts by the sea.
(pic: the center of the city in front of the municipal building)