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How Is Montpellier as an Alternative to Paris?

How Is Montpellier as an Alternative to Paris?

May 25th, 2012, 09:23 PM
  #1  
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How Is Montpellier as an Alternative to Paris?

I've been researching other cities in France since Paris would be so expensive given my limited financial resources. I found a thread at ExpatExchange that recommended Montpellier. I looked at the Wikipedia article about the city and it sounds like it might be the second best choice to Paris. It's France's second biggest city, it's got history, art, culture, beautiful architecture, three universities (which apparently are merging into one) -- all things I want in a city.

I went to Craigslist to check out rentals in Montpellier (this was not a serious search as in "I'm moving there ASAP," it's only for purposes of getting some idea of housing costs). It wasn't enormously helpful because there were very few listings, but this is a problem, at least on Craigslist, with every city in France other than Paris. I looked at the ones that were there and were priced reasonably for me (defined as the equivalent of $800 or less -- that's $200 less than the rent I'm paying now in New Jersey, USA). As I said, there weren't many, but there weren't many listings, period.

So, what do those of you knowledgeable about living in France think of Montpellier? Could I do better, given the kind of city I want to live in and the rental costs?
katkat1950 is offline  
May 25th, 2012, 09:35 PM
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Montpellier is a delightful city.

However, if you found Paris to be incredibly expensive, you must have been checking out mostly the tourist areas.
kerouac is online now  
May 25th, 2012, 10:41 PM
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Marseille is France's second biggest city and Lyon takes 3rd place. But Montpellier is lovely, a vibrant and young city (lots of students)and close to the sea which as far as I am concerned is always a plus.
nuggi is offline  
May 25th, 2012, 10:42 PM
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Montpellier is not the 2nd biggest city in France. It comes 8th after Marseilles Lyons, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes, Strasbourg. (Montpellier has approx 240,000 inhabitants).
It is a lively university town (the Medecine Univ. is the oldest in France), public transportation is excellent, rentals are not cheap because of the high number of students.
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May 25th, 2012, 11:09 PM
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"However, if you found Paris to be incredibly expensive, you must have been checking out mostly the tourist areas."

I meant housing costs, mainly. I feel like I could find an affordable apartment in Paris, but if your income has to be no more than a third of your income for landlords to be willing to rent to you, then it might be hard for me to find a place.
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May 25th, 2012, 11:15 PM
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"(Montpellier has approx 240,000 inhabitants)"

Well, according to Wikipedia, the estimated population in 2008 was 533,000. But that's for what Wikipedia calls "the metropolitan area."

Mea culpa on the second largest city. I have no idea how I could have read a sentence that says Montpellier is the 8th largest city (which it does), and read 2nd largest city.

But maybe it's a moot point, if Montpellier is not significantly less expensive than Paris. I'd rather be in Paris, then.
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May 25th, 2012, 11:18 PM
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"... and close to the sea which as far as I am concerned is always a plus."

Oh definitely, for me, too. I can't think of too many things I'd miss about New Jersey, but the Jersey Shore is certainly one of them. Having water nearby would be lovely.
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May 25th, 2012, 11:19 PM
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Me: "... but if your income has to be no more than a third of your income..."

LOL! Okay, maybe it's time to go to bed. I meant "if your RENT has to be no more than a third of your income..."
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May 25th, 2012, 11:45 PM
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"if Montpellier is not significantly less expensive than Paris. I'd rather be in Paris, then."

I never said that. The cost of living is cheaper in the province than in Paris. Rent is part of it and rental costs are higher in Montpellier than let's say Narbonne, Béziers or Perpignan.

"according to Wikipedia, the estimated population in 2008 was 533,000. But that's for what Wikipedia calls "the metropolitan area."
In which case Montpellier is 15th in France.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
May 26th, 2012, 04:07 AM
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Montpellier may be a nice city to visit but you can't consider it an alternative to Paris. Paris is Paris. There is nothing else remotely like it.

With the help of people on this forum and on other travel sites, you should be able to find accommodation in Paris that will fit your budget. It will be worth the effort.
mamcalice is offline  
May 26th, 2012, 05:09 AM
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Are you absolutely determined to stay in downtown Paris? With your "limited" finances perhaps you need to be realistic as to location. I agree that Paris is Paris, no other city in France IMO compares but that includes what is IN Paris. If those things aren't terribly important then staying somewhere else seems realistic.
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May 26th, 2012, 05:16 AM
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You are going to "live" there? What are you going to do? What job? Montpelier is a nice city--but to me pretty generic and a "city". If I'm going to a city, let it be Paris.
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May 26th, 2012, 05:32 AM
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I love Montpellier.

"Rent is part of it and rental costs are higher in Montpellier than let's say Narbonne, Béziers or Perpignan."

I agree with this. Plus, I think you might be happy in any of the 3 other towns that are less expensive. I have close friends living in the area near Béziers and it is quite vibrant and the weather is exceptional.

I have a dear friend who has a son attending Univ. in Montpellier. She had one hell of a time finding a low rent apartment (second year, young man wanted OUT of the loud, crowded dorm). Granted, she did not have the 'luxury' of searching outside of the city.
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May 26th, 2012, 10:40 AM
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"You are going to "live" there? What are you going to do? What job? Montpelier is a nice city--but to me pretty generic and a "city". If I'm going to a city, let it be Paris."

Gretchen,

See the "French Nationality" thread.
katkat1950 is offline  
May 26th, 2012, 10:42 AM
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"In which case Montpellier is 15th in France."

Well, who knows. The Wikipedia says it's the 8th largest city, but I really have no idea.
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May 26th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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The Wikipedia ARTICLE says.
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May 26th, 2012, 10:45 AM
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Mamcalice,

Well, I can't deny that's what I want to hear.
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May 26th, 2012, 10:54 AM
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"Are you absolutely determined to stay in downtown Paris? With your "limited" finances perhaps you need to be realistic as to location."

I don't know what you mean by "downtown Paris." I'm not "absolutely determined" about anything having to do with moving to France, but if I do move to France, I want to live in Paris if at all possible. To me, that means somewhere within the 20 arrondissements. If by "downtown Paris" you mean the 1st to 10th arrondissements, which I understand are the most "desirable" (whatever that means), no I'm not absolutely determined to live in any one particular arrondissement. I just want to live in Paris. I don't want to live in the suburbs of Paris. I want to live in Paris.

2. "I agree that Paris is Paris, no other city in France IMO compares but that includes what is IN Paris."

Which is why I began to research locations in France, other than Paris. Which is why I started this thread about Montpellier.

"If those things aren't terribly important then staying somewhere else seems realistic."

Those things ARE terribly important to me. What is IN Paris IS terribly important to me. If it's at all possible for me to afford living in Paris, I want to live in Paris.

You say "staying" somewhere else. You may be thinking I'm talking about visiting France. I'm not. I'm talking about moving to France. Of course, I would not move to France w/o visiting France first, but in the context of whether I live in Paris or not, I'm talking about moving to Paris.
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May 26th, 2012, 10:54 AM
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I think Montpellier would be a splendid place to live. We considered moving to that part of France for 3 months because there is so much to do and it is easy to get around. We still love Paris, but if I were thinking of totally relocating as an expat, I would choose SW France. Montpellier is a gem. There is a great transport system and while the Centre Ville is lively and appealing, it seems there are also surrounding communities that are quite liveable. The weather is also sunnier more days per year than in any other part of France.
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May 26th, 2012, 10:58 AM
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mamcalice,

I just realized you are also under the impression I'm talking solely about visiting Paris. I just noticed your word "accommodations." That implies a visit, not a permanent move, so I just want to clarify that I'm talking about moving to France, not just visiting. Not JUST visiting, to forestall comments telling me I can't move to France w/o visiting France.
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