Located in the southern Languedoc-Rousillon region, Montpellier is the eighth largest city in France. Geography has benefited Montpellier greatly, as the city has been the fastest growing city in France for the last quarter of a century.
A cultural hub, Montpellier hosts an annual classical music and jazz festival, Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, which is held in a number of charming and historical venues across the city. Montpellier is also known for its opera, with the main square in the city named after the Opéra Comédie. The Musée Fabre, an art museum founded in the 19th century, is home to paintings and sculptures, and features work from notable artists across Europe, including Bernini, Poussin and Delacroix.
In terms of sport, Montpellier is home to a top-flight rugby union and association football clubs, and featured as a stop on the 2007 Tour de France route. As one might expect from its coastal location, Montpellier is popular with water sports enthusiasts.
Located on the A9 highway, Montpellier is in an ideal location, within easy reach of neighboring Marseilles, Nice and Cannes. More seasoned drivers living in Montpellier will find driving distances to ski resorts and cities such as Barcelona, Milan and Rome less than taxing. Nonetheless, for those who prefer a quicker way of reaching their destination, the city has its own airport, located in the nearby town of Mauguio.
Public transportation as a whole is excellent; Montpellier has, over the course of the past fifteen years, established its own tram system, linking the suburbs to the city center. The tramway currently incorporates four lines, with the two newest opened in April 2012. The city operates regular buses and trains, while also accommodating the more environmentally friendly through a bike-sharing scheme called Vélomagg.
Expatriates looking for bright educational prospects are likely to find them in Montpellier, with the French schooling system often rated as very proficient. Montpellier is no exception and the wide range of both public and private schools will cater for most expatriates. English is included in the curriculum, together with a number of other languages.
The city also hosts various higher education institutes, including the University of Montpellier. Established in 1289, the university is among the oldest and most well-respected institutions in the world, boasting the likes of Rabelais, Nostradamus and Petrarch in its list of alumni over the years. In addition to studying, expatriates looking at going into teaching will find a number of opportunities to do so, with the variety of schools, colleges, and universities offering a large number of roles. For those whose children are aspiring doctors, Montpellier is home to Europe's oldest medical school, Rue de l’Ecole de Médecine.