Montpellier is a city in southern France near the Mediterranean Sea. One of the largest urban centres in the region of Occitania, Montpellier is the prefecture of the department of Hérault. At the 2020 census, 299,096 people lived in the city proper, while its metropolitan area had a population of 813,272. The inhabitants are called Montpelliérains.
In the Middle Ages, Montpellier was an important city of the Crown of Aragon (and was the birthplace of James I), and then of Majorca, before its sale to France in 1349. Established in 1220, the University of Montpellier is one of the oldest universities in the world and oldest medical school still in operation, with notable alumni such as Petrarch, Nostradamus and François Rabelais. Above the medieval city, the ancient citadel of Montpellier is a stronghold built in the seventeenth century by Louis XIII of France.
Since the 1990s, Montpellier has experienced one of the strongest economic and demographic growth in the country. Its urban area has experienced the highest population growth in France since the year 2000. Numbering 70,000, students comprise nearly one-fourth of its population, one of the highest such proportions in Europe. Its living environment with one of Europe's largest pedestrian area, along with its rich cultural life and Mediterranean climate, explain the enthusiasm for the city, which is nicknamed the "Gifted". Montpellier was nominated for "Best Emerging Culture City of the Year 2017" by the think tank LCD. It is ranked as a Sufficiency city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.