Montpellier (UK: /mɒntˈpɛlieɪ/, US: /ˌmoʊnpɛlˈjeɪ/, French: [mɔ̃.pɛ.lje, -pə-] (listen); Occitan: Montpelhièr [mumpeˈʎɛ]) is a city near the south coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Hérault department. It is located in the Occitanie region. In 2017, 616,296 people lived in the urban area and 285,121 in the city itself. The inhabitants are called the Montpellierers and their nickname is Clapassièrs or Clapassencs.
In the Middle Ages, the city was an important city around the Mediterranean and was one of the main cities of the Crown of Aragon – where King James I of Aragon was born – and then of the Kingdom of Majorca. 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 or François Rabelais. Above the medieval city, the ancient citadel of Montpellier is a stronghold built in the seventeenth century by the French King Louis XIII.
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. With 70,000 students nearly one third of the population are students which is among the highest rates in Europe. Its living environment with one of Europe’s largest pedestrian area along with its cultural life and Mediterranean climate largely explain the enthusiasm for the city nicknamed the “Gifted”. As part of this dynamism the city was nominated for “Best Emerging Culture City of the Year 2017” by the think tank LCD. Montpellier is also ranked as a Sufficiency city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.