Montpelier is an interesting destination to look at, because it offers a varied mix of an interesting city with large numbers of students and varied nightlife, combined with wide-open beaches and access to the great French interior. It’s also somewhere that can be reached by a range of different means – sunshine worshippers heading out of Paris might make the arduous drive down here using the auto route system, whereas visitors from London and the south-east of England might prefer to come here by train, usually with an easy change in somewhere like Lille. Budget airline passengers might find cheaper flights to somewhere like nearby Marseille (for which we also have a car hire guide that recommends not getting a car), or Nimes, Whereas Montpelier itself tends to be significantly better served by flights from Paris than it is from anywhere else, but you can still get here easy enough in London.
Our assumption therefore is that you are arriving into Montpelier by air and staying somewhere in or near the city, rather than wanting just to pick up a hire car and do a road trip, in which case there is much point in us betting against you doing that!
So when it comes to staying in or near Montpelier, there really is just no need to get a hire car, because the city has an excellent public transport system, based on a wide network of trams and also extensive local buses. By French standards, Montpelier is also exceptionally bicycle friendly city, and it’s easy enough to walk around the centre. There are also regular bus services heading to the beaches around Montpelier, and this coastline offers some excellent walking opportunities using a range of unspoiled paths were motor vehicles aren’t permitted.
Rail services are also useful for carrying on elsewhere, particularly to the much larger city of Marseille nearby, which at the very least warrants a day trip, and also along the stunningly scenic coastal line towards Perpignan.
On balance our Montpellier car advice is that there isn’t really a huge advantage in getting one, if your main focus is on the city and beaches, rather than going inland and beyond. Trains are also perfectly good for reaching other major cities in the south of France, and the opportunities for walking and cycling are excellent.
Therefore our verdict is – no