Montpellier, a city of Languedoc, France, capital of the department of Herault, near the Lez, 27 m. S. W. of Nimes, 17 m. N. E. of Cette, its port, and 76 m. W. N. W. of Marseilles; pop. in 1872, 55,727. It was once a place of military strength, but of its fortifications only the citadel remains. The town rises in the form of an amphitheatre along a slope, the summit of which, 168 ft. above the sea, is occupied by the place du Peyrou, a celebrated promenade. At the end of the promenade rises the chateau cPeau, which receives and distributes through the town the water conveyed from the opposite hill by an aqueduct of 53 large arches surmounted by 183 smaller ones, and 2,893 ft. long. The modernized cathedral contains an altarpiece, the "Fall of Simon Magus," by Sebastien Bourdon, a native of Montpellier. The medical school, formerly the bishop's palace, contains a library of 50,000 volumes, and portraits of the professors since 1289. The Musee Fabre, named after its founder, a Montpellier artist, contains a collection of paintings, the library of Alfieri, of 15,000 volumes, and some important manuscripts connected with the Stuarts, which belonged to Prince Charles Edward. The botanic garden, the first established in France, dates from the reign of Henry IV. In place of the former university, founded in 1176, and the medical school of which was celebrated, there are now three faculties, of medicine, sciences, and literature.
There is also a high school of pharmacy, a lyceum, an episcopal seminary, a normal school, and several other special schools. Montpellier has manufactures of woollens, printed cottons, linens, silks, leather, straw goods, wax, and brandy; and it is particularly celebrated for its verdigris, made by oxidizing copper plates between lay-ers of grape husks. There are also extensive manufactories of alum, Prussian blue, and sulphuric and nitric acid. It is the seat of a Catholic bishop, and of a Reformed consistory. The place is celebrated for the brightness of its atmosphere, and has been much frequented by invalids, but its salubrity is questioned. - In the 10th century Montpellier was a village N. of Maguelonne. Increasing as Maguelonne declined, it became a seigniory, which passed in 1204 to the kings of Aragon, and in 1276 became part of the kingdom of Majorca. In 1349 it was ceded to France. Charles V. ceded it in 1365 to Charles the Bad of Navarre, but it returned to the crown under Charles VI. The episcopal see was transferred to Montpellier from Maguelonne about 1538. It suffered much during the religious wars, and was besieged and taken by Louis XIII. in 1622. The edict of Montpellier of Oct. 20, 1622, granted to the Calvinists freedom of worship, but forbade assemblies except of their synods and consistories, and granted them freedom from molestation only in La Rochelle and Montauban.