Montpellier

 

Montpellier II Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology

The 8th largest city and fastest growing in France, Montpellier combines the infrastructures and facilities of a major city with a sweet Mediterranean art of life; colorful markets, vast pedestrian squares, lively café terraces, beaches just a bike ride away, and over 300 days of sunshine per year.

A city of science since the Middle Age and host of the oldest European faculty still in activity, Montpellier’s charms mix those of narrow medieval streets in its historic center with those of daring contemporary creation by architects such as Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Massimilino Fuksas, Philippe Starck and Ricardo Bofill.  Montpellier is well-known for the excellence of its research and innovation, attracting 90,000 students, a youthful melting pot, with an active night life, great access to outdoors, culture and gastronomy.

Shopping: The Montpellier Chamber of Commerce has a dedicated page on our congress presenting the congress to local merchants who can post their discount offers to congress participants . Check this page regularly for new discounts!

For more details on the destination, see here.

By showing your congress badge at the Tourism Office, you can benefit from a 30% discount on the City Card. The City Card proposed by the Office de Tourisme offers free entrance or discounts to Museums, leisure activities and shopping. Your badge also allows you to have a 10% discount on souvenirs at the Tourism Office shop.

TRANSPORT

The best way to enjoy Montpellier is to stay in the city center, this is where the conference center (Corum) is located along with many bars, shops and restaurants. If your hotel is in the historic center of Montpellier, you can easily walk to the Conference venue (Le Corum) in a few minutes and do not need to use public transportation. If your hotel is too far away from the center to walk, we do not recommend renting a car as downtown is pedestrian only and driving around can be nightmarish.

With 4 tram lines, 36 bus lines, more than 50 Vélomagg bike rental stations, Montpellier has a great public transportation system. It also hosts the largest pedestrian center in France. We therefore strongly advise you to choose green transports for your stay!

For public transportation, a 4-days pass was available for 7 euros (conference negotiated price) during registration. This pass gives access to bus and tramways in Montpellier and neighboring cities, allowing for example to have a look at the Mediterranean Sea (but count ca. 1 hour from the city center). Tramways are running approximately until 00:30 (01:30 on Fridays). The local transportation company (TaM) has an app and a website (in French…) where you can map a tram voyage from and to a specific address. You can also use buses (from the same company), but they come less frequently. The same tickets can be used for buses and tram, and you can buy them from ticket machines at tram stations, if you did not buy a transport pass when registering to the congress. Once validated, a regular ticket is valid for 1 hour in a single direction, and can be used for transfer among tram and buses. The price is 1.60€ for 1-trip tickets, and 10€ for 10-voyages tickets.

Bikes are also a favorite mode of transportation of Montpellier residents. As a visitor, you may use the public rental system Vélomagg (also from TaM, in French as well), where bikes can be picked from and returned to 56 stations throughout Montpellier. For this you will need to register at one of these stations, either directly using your payment card, or through a phone application. There are also more ‘traditional’ bike rentals, such as W - Ville et Vélo (41 bd de Strasbourg, +334 34 43 04 52) or Holiday bikes (58 Avenue Georges Clémenceau, +334 67 58 34 35). Bike stealing is quite frequent so always securely lock your bike and its different parts!

Montpellier II Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology
Montpellier II Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology

Places to eat

You can find a list of places to eat and drink, along with information on the type of food they serve and their opening days and hours here. In principle all places in this list should be open during the congress. Some restaurants may nevertheless be closed, and many tourists will be in town, so we suggest calling ahead to book a table, especially for dinner or lunch. Usual serving time: Lunch 12 - 2pm and dinner 7 - 10pm. Service is always included in restaurants and bars, so tipping is not mandatory in France. People may tip around 2-3€ in total in a bar, and about twice this in a restaurant, but rarely above 10% of the bill.

Below are a few suggestions of restaurants based on the personal taste of members of the organization committee (see a map here):

  • Cheese bar
    - La fine mouche (12 rue Saint Anne, from Tuesday to Saturday)
    - Club et thés (18 Rue Saint-Guilhem, opens until 5pm)
     
  • Restaurants
    - Le Paresseur, 15 Rue Jules Latreilhe
    - Thym & Romarin, 14 Rue Roucher
    - Les Petits Siamois (thai), 10 Rue du Pila St Gély
    - Ban Thai, 7 Rue Bernard Délicieux
    - La Pagode (vietnamese) 17 Rue Boussairolles
    - Le Chat Perché, 10 Rue du Collège Duvergier
    - Le Pastis, 3 Rue Terral
    - Les t'OCqués, 15 Rue Roucher
    - Les casseroles en folie (crêperie), 5 Place de la Chapelle Neuve
    - L’artichaut, 15 Rue Saint-Firmin
    - Les vignes, 2 Rue Bonnier d'Alco
    - Rosemarie, 3 Rue des Sœurs Noires
    - Le black cat, 20 rue de Candolle
     
  • Vegetarian
    - Green lab, 2 rue de l’Université
    - Mezzanine, 39 Rue de l'Aiguillerie (vegan evenings only Fri-Sat)
    - Coffee Club, 12 rue Saint-Guilhem
    Summer means many restaurants serve “salades repas” meaning large salads with lots of toppings. However, many can have non-vegetarian friendly items, so don’t be shy to ask and look carefully.
     
  • Gluten Free
    - Les Demoiselles de Montpellier, 2 Rue de la Carbonnerie
    - La Coutinelle, 25 Rue de l'Université
    - Bonobo, 46 Rue Saint-Guilhem

Places to drink

You will enjoy a drink in lively squares such as Place du Marché aux Fleurs, Place du petit Scel, or Place Saint Roch. The « Bistrot Saint Anne » (7 Place du Petit Scel) offers a 20% discount on all local beers (tap and bottle) if you show your Evolution meeting badge.

Other nice bars and cafés according to our taste, include:

  • Bars with local beers:
    - La Barbote (artisanal brewery) , 1 Rue des deux Ponts
    - Deli-Malt, 6 Rue des Multipliants
    - Couleurs de bières Nord, 48 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Jaumes
    - Couleurs de bières Sud, 23 Rue de Chio
    - Le big Mama (have also good burger), 18 Rue Diderot
    - Les BerThom, 5 Rue Boussairolles
    - L’Analog, 3 Rue du Puits du Temple
     
  • Tapas and wine bars:
    - Moody Social Club (great cocktails, too!), 21 rue Vallat
    - La Robe Rouge (excellent wine selection), 1 Place, Rue Saint-Ravy
    - L’Amuse Vin, 74 Rue de l'Aiguillerie
    - Esprit Vin (Tapas and meals, too, but best for drinking some wine), 3 Place Chabaneau
     
  • Other bars:
    - Le Rhum Runner, 12 Rue Jules Latreilhe
    - Circus, 3 Rue Collot
    - Shakespeare Barr, 12 Rue de la Petite Loge
    - Willie Carter Sharpe (cocktail bar), 3 Rue Collot
     
  • Cafés:
    - Coffee Club, 12 Rue Saint-Guilhem … Ideal for working or meeting but no free Wi-Fi
    - Café Latitude, 1 Rue Sainte-Croix, … and also has free Wi-Fi
    - Deli’s Coffee, 4 Rue du Bras de Fer … Ideal for working or meeting and also has free Wi-Fi
    - French Coffee Shop, 40 Rue Saint-Guilhem…and also has free Wi-Fi

Places to buy food and wine

Here are some of our suggestions for buying food and wine. Keep in mind that many shops are closed during lunch hours and re-open in the afternoon (usually after 2pm).

  • Bakeries
    - Au rythme du pain (11 rue Faubourg-Boutonnet, from Monday to Friday, 7 am-1 pm and 4 pm-7.30 pm)
    - Des rêves et du pain (10 rue Eugène-Lisbonne, from 8 am-7.30 pm)
    - Ô Pain Délicieux (18 rue Bernard-Délicieux, from 4-8 pm)
    - Drôle de pain (1401 av du mondial 98, from 7.30 am - 3 pm and 76 allée Wilhem-Roentgen, 7.30 pm – 7,30 pm)
     
  • Food markets
    - Figuerolle (everyday morning, from 7.30 am to 1 pm, , Place Roger Salengro, Montpellier)
    - Arceaux (Tuesday and Saturday morning, from 7 am to 1 pm, Boulevard des Arceaux)
    - Halles Castellane (everyday from 7.30 am to 8 pm except Sunday afternoon ,  Place Castellane)
    - Beaux Arts (everyday morning except Sunday, from 7 am – 1pm, 7 Place des Beaux Arts)
     
  • Wine
    - La cave des arceaux  (7 rue Marioge)
    - Maison régionale des vins (34 Rue Saint-Guilhem)

Going to the BEACH

There’s a bike path that leads all the way to the sea, through the marshes where you can see les flamants roses (pink flamingos) of the Camargue! Information in English can be found here, although it’s not a bad idea to have a data plan for the GPS! The bike path (and the flamingos) are the most lovely from the marshes just before you arrive in Palavas all the way up to La Grande Motte and may even go as far as La Petite Camargue. Some beaches are also accessible by bus.

The local beaches for dipping in are best just east of Le Petit Travers, best reached by car. During the summer, shuttles connect the end of Tramway line 3, station "Etang d'Or", and Petit Travers, Grand Travers and La Grande Motte; there is a shuttle every 10 minutes from 10am to 7 pm and the last shuttle returns at 10 pm. These beaches are free unless you rent a transat (lounge chair) at a paillote (beach-side restaurant/bar). Public restrooms and outdoor showers can be found peppered along the way.

Montpellier II Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology