10 largest cities in France
Montpellier is a French commune, prefecture of the Hérault
department. Capital of the former administrative region
Languedoc-Roussillon, it is the center of a metropolis and a center
of balance for the Occitanie region, where plenary assemblies take
place. Montpellier is located in the South of France, on a major
communication axis joining Spain in the west and Italy in the east.
Close to the Mediterranean Sea (7.1 km), this town has as neighbors
Béziers, 69 km to the south-west, and Nîmes, 52 km to the
Montpellier is, by its population, the seventh municipality in France and the third French city on the Mediterranean axis (after Marseille and Nice). It is one of the few cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants whose population has grown uninterruptedly, every year since 1945. It has almost tripled over this period to reach 285,121 inhabitants on January 1, 2017, which makes it the most populous municipality in the Hérault department and the second most populous in the Occitanie region after Toulouse. The urban unit of Montpellier has 440,896 inhabitants, the metropolis has 472,217 inhabitants and the urban area 616,296 inhabitants in 2017, i.e. the 14th in France by population. The inhabitants are called the Montpelliérains and their nickname is Clapassièrs or Clapassencs.
Since the 1990s, Montpellier has experienced one of the strongest economic and demographic growth in the country. Its urban area has experienced the highest demographic growth in France since the year 2000. Its living environment, its cultural life and finally its Mediterranean climate largely explain this craze for "the Gifted" (title of an advertising campaign in the 1990s, launched by Georges Frêche during his mandate as mayor).
With 70,000 students, it is also the city with the highest ratio of the number of students per inhabitant in France after Poitiers (21% of the total population).
In the Middle Ages, the city was an important city on the Mediterranean rim and formed one of the main cities of the Crown of Aragon - where King James I of Aragon was born - then of the kingdom of Mallorca. Above the medieval city, the old citadel of Montpellier is a stronghold built in the 17th century by Louis XIII. It is located at the foot of the historic center of Montpellier. Became the Joffre barracks at the end of the 19th century, then in 1947, the largest high school and college in the Hérault department.