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Montpellier is the seventh-largest city in France and one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Located in southern France in the region of Occitanie, Montpellier (map) is just a short distance from the Mediterranean Sea. On a flight from Amsterdam, I was treated to panoramic views of Montpellier from the plane window. I sat on the right side of the plane (‘F’) and the aerial view of Montpellier during the final approach from the north was amazing.

Montpellier seen from a plane window.

Before the final approach into Montpellier, the plane also passed another amazing French architectural icon: the Millau Viaduct, reputedly the tallest bridge in the world.

The Millau Viaduct seen during the approach into Montpellier Airport.

Aerial view of Montpellier from a plane window

With a population of less than 300,000, Montpellier is a relatively small city with university students making up about a quarter of the population – established in 1220, the University of Montpellier is one of the oldest in the world. Montpellier became an important trading and cultural centre in the 12th century. Today, its historic city centre, with its broad boulevards and atmospheric lanes, is a joy to explore.

As the city centre came into view, I first noticed the Montpellier Cathedral, with the university adjacent to it. The two towers of the Cathedral and the lone tower of the Carré St. Anne were easy to spot. The Promenade du Peyrou, with its Arc de Triomphe and surrounded by trees in a chain-like formation, was also clearly visible.

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An aerial view of the Montpellier historic city centre, with the twin towers of the Cathedral (middle right) clearly visible. To the right of the Cathedral are the botanical gardens, and just above that is the Promenade du Peyrou.
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In the middle right, you can see the Promenade du Peyrou, one of Montpellier’s top attractions, and the double-tiered 18th century St. Clement Aqueduct leading away from it.



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As the plane flew further south towards the airport, the impressive Place du Millénaire and Place de Thessalie came into view. Surrounded by buildings in a key-like shape, these squares are another focal point of the city.

The key-like shape of Place du Millénaire and Place de Thessalie.

Another Montpellier landmark soon came into view: the Place de L’Europe (the buildings in a half circle below). I also spotted a curious-looking white building across the river from the Place de L’Europe. As soon as the plane landed, I looked it up and it’s the L’Arbre Blanc (the ‘White Tree’), a condominium complex with a striking tree-like design. I love how the balconies jut out like branches of a tree.

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The half-circle Place de L’Europe and the extraordinary L’Arbre Blanc (white tower on the left).

Here’s what the L’Arbre Blanc building looks like from the ground:

The L’Arbres Blanc (image courtesy of Mila Kreuz/Unsplash).

The runway of Montpellier airport extends into a lagoon. Look closely after landing and you’ll spot the resident flamingos in the lagoon! If you’re flying into Montpellier, book a window seat for stunning aerial views!

Read other Velvet Escape posts from the Plane Views series:

 

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