Even though it is situated in a very strategic place, just 10 kilometers from the Mediterranean, it was never ruled by the Roman. Around 1000 BC, an Episcopal town flourished near what is now Montpellier. However, the propitious location of the city made more and more people settle in the area, developing the trade and economy. People from Montpellier have always been very open to foreigners, running successful businesses with Muslim, Jews and Cathars.
Right after the Renaissance, when the country entered the Reformation period, many people converted from Catholic to Protestant (or Huguenots, as they were originally called in France). The city was relatively independent up to the beginning of the 17th Century, but then King Louis XVIII took over, and also built the cathedral.
In the 19th Century, the country went through a very dynamic industrialization. Along with this, the preserved historical monuments and atmosphere make Montpellier quite a dynamic place. The city is the administrative capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, and the entire metropolitan area has a population of almost half a million. There are two interesting facts related to the population: in the 1970s, many Algerian people settled in Montpellier, and between 1999 and 2004, the population of the city increased by 1.7%, a real Baby Boom!
Its university was founded in the 12th Century by William VII of Montpellier, the first faculty was for medicine. Ever since then, it has been one of the most competitive and high-quality educational centers for medicine. More than 60,000 students are enrolled in Montpellier's universities every year, making it one of the most significant centers for higher education in all of Europe.
Like many cities which combine antiquity and modernity, Montpellier has a very cozy old town, nestled in the center of the big metropolitan area. They say the most romantic time to visit the city is during the long hot days of mid-summer, when the students are gone and everybody else is at the beach, making the old town calm and peaceful. However, the many attractions and the mild climate make going to Montpellier a worthy experience all year long.