A quick guide to the Place de la Comédie, Montpellier
Located in the city of Montpellier, Hérault departement, in the province of Languedoc-Roussillon, the Place de la Comédie is a buzzing and outstanding city square that inevitably attract locals and tourists. Its location is right in the middle of the city in the quarter of l’Écusson, which was the former Medieval city. The Place de la Comédie is one of the main highlight in Montpellier, it measures some 230 meters long over 50 meters large and it goes from the Lycée Joffre to the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle. Named after the Theatre “Opéra Comédie” located on the square’s South-West side, it displays some monumental architectures from the 19th century and it is definitely one of the best and grandest pedestrian square in the region.
Dated from 1755 the Place de la Comédie has a long history. Facing the Opéra Comédie you can see the stunning Fontaine des Trois-Graces created in 1797 by Etienne d’Antoine. This fountain is made of Carrara marble and it displays marvelous mythological sculptures, it is by far the favorite meeting spot of the locals.
Surrounded by a cinema (Gaumont), the tramway, a supermarket (Monoprix), some cafes, an old theater and several restaurants, the Place de la Comédie is a spectacular and buzzing place that is inevitably crowded and commercial all along the year, day and night. The square also leads to the several typical pedestrian streets of Montpellier that are filled with all varieties of shops. The Place de la Comédie is also a venue for major events within the city, holding concert during the “fetes de la musique” or a beautiful Xmas market “Marché de Noël”. Do not hesitate to also have a walk to the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle located at the Eastern part of the square. Dated from 1900 the esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle is a wide and beautiful garden with sculptures, water ponds and plenty of locals laying out under the shady branches of the plane trees.
If you walk furthermore you can reach the Corum which is a conference center and an opera house. Climb the stairs that leads to the roof for a panoramic view over Montpellier.
Build up under the Second Empire, the rich and fine Haussmann style architecture of the buildings surrounding the Place de la Comédie is typical from the 19th century and it almost creates a distinctive Parisian urban atmosphere. It is at night, that all the buildings of the square are expressing themself fully with a beautiful lighting system that features a palette of different colors. It gives to the Place de la Comédie a romantic and even magic feeling especially in December with the Xmas decoration. Without mentioning its beautiful French traditional merry-go-round that you can see all along the year.
Restaurants and cafes
A great number of Restaurants and Cafes cluster around the edge of the Place de la Comédie as well as in the surrounding streets (Rue Vanneau, Rue de Verdun, Rue Boussairolles). You may want to stop by and have a seat for a coffee or a meal comfortably seated at a terrace. Notice that the quality of the food and service can be widely different up to the restaurant and the café.
If you want a terrace just to see and be seen, then just go for the Grand Cafe Riche (8 Place de la Comédie) http://cafe-riche.com/ le Yam’s or the brasserie Les Trois Graces (14 Place de la Comédie), the food and drinks are ok, nothing really fancy but a great location.
You may want to go for some Italian food at Piazza Papa restaurant (13 Place de la Comédie), however don’t be fool by the cheap express lunch formula, if you take the a la carte dishes you will notice that it is not a great deal pricewise considering the average quality of the food. Well I don’t mean Piazza Papa is a bad deal, but just go there if you don’t know where to go or you are in a hurry. If you are looking for a good pizza at a great price you can give a try to Il Pizzaiolo (14 Rue Boussairolles). By the way don’t waste your time in the kebabs restaurants located rue Boussairolles, they are cheap and of low quality.
If you are craving for a hamburger or a steak, you can go to l’entrecote located 3 Rue de Verdun http://www.entrecote.fr, great prices however nothing fancy and I would almost say the food is just average. However if you really need to get a fix of hamburger you may walk furthermore into the surrounding streets to Burger’N’Co (http://burgernco.fr) 71 Rue de L’aiguillerie.
Yep it is a bit away from the Place de la Comédie but it is worth the trip. Not far from there, do not hesitate to give a try to the brasserie Boris et Laetitia 20 Rue de L’aiguillerie for a stunning traditional food. http://www.chezboris.com
If you don’t want to go wrong, you can go the Brasserie du Theatre (http://www.brasseriedutheatre.fr) located nearby the Place de la Comedie 22 boulevard Victor Hugo, great food and create service in a beautiful restaurant. If you look for a simple and traditional bistrot then you can go to Bistrot Chez Felix located 1 Rue Vanneau.
For a late evening drink I suggest you the trendy pub Barberousse, 6 Rue Boussairolles, you will get one of the largest infused rum selection of the city. http://www.barberousse.com/ville/montpellier
The shopping heart of Montpellier is located around the Place de la Comédie. At the North East part of the square you can reach the Shopping Mall Polygone. Just a modern shopping mall like many in France, with bakeries, restaurants, boutiques (FNAC, Zara, Gap…), a Gallery Lafayette etc… You can even find a grocery store at the basement named Monoprix Inno.
However, the most interesting and exciting area for shopping is definitely located at the South West part of the square. With the Rue de la Loge as an entry point to what we can call a huge maze of beautiful medieval streets crowded with shops, bakeries, pubs, cafes, brasserie and much more! Take the time to walk around this area and literally spend an entire afternoon getting lost, walking around and shopping.
Office of Tourism.
Located at the edge between the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle and the Place de la Comédie you can find the Office of Tourism of Montpellier http://www.montpellier-france.com
Right next to the Office of Tourism, a little bit furthermore into the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle you can reach the Pavillon Populaire. This beautiful 19th century house is a branch of the Fabre Museum, the entry is free and it helds a variety of exhibitions all along the year, often about photographers and painting. By the way the Fabre Museum www.museefabre.fr is located furthermore 39 Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, in the West part of the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle.
The Little Train.
If you wish you can visit the Historical center of Montpellier by getting into the Little Train. For an affordable price you will get some 40min ride through the streets of the city with an audioguide. The Little Train is located in front of the Gaumont Cinema and the starting/return point is the Place de la Comédie. http://www.petittrainmontpellier.com/
Easily recognizable to its 1950’s red Cadillac that is sticking out of its wall, The Rockstore is a mythic institution in Montpellier that defies conventions in many ways. Located 20 rue de Verdun this is the best Venue of the region for Indie, Pop, DJ’s Set and Rock Concerts. http://www.rockstore.fr/ so it is one of Montpellier’s first and still one of its better venue for live music and a night out. Since the very first opening in 1986, a massive amount of international artists performed there such as: Radiohead, Suicidal Tendencies, Faith No More, Boo Radleys, Lenny Kravitz, PJ Harvey, Pulp, Placebo, 54 Nude Honeys, The Stranglers, Hole, Cat Power, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Kills…. as well as French artists, such as Berrurier Noir, La Mano Negra, NTM, FFF, Noir Désir, Daniel Darc, Phoenix, M83… The crowd is mostly locals, students and fans of great music who often don’t hesitate to make the trip from nearby regions and cities.
If you are looking for a cinema you have several options, you can go to the Gaumont Cinema, located on the square (French Language movies only), Le Royal, Located 13 rue Boussairolles (French Language movies only) and Le Diagonal, located 5 rue de Verdun, they have an decent selection of non-French films and they are all shown in their original languages!
Tramway and access
The train station Montpellier Saint-Roch is located in the Southern part of the square at the very beginning of the rue de Maguelone. So if you come to Montpellier by train you can get an easy access to the Place de la Comédie just by walking along that street.
The tramway station Place de la Comédie (Opéra Comédie) is located right in the middle of the Place de la Comédie. It is a part of the line 1 (about 30 stations): Mosson, Hôpitaux-Facultés, Boutonnet, center of the city including Antigone and place de la Comédie, it also goes to Port Marianne, Millénaire and Odysseum. http://www.tam-voyages.com/
If you are planning to go to Montpellier, you can easily book your hotel on Tripadvisor by clicking to the link bellow
It is easy to use, you can compare the different accommodations and you will get the best deals.
Ben – The South of France