A Romanesque gem on the Maguelone Peninsula
This 1,000-year-old fortress of a cathedral on the sands, set between sea and lagoon, was the seat of Montpellier’s bishopric up to the 16th century and as such central to the creation of the city of Montpellier and its university. A major Christian centre, on several occasions it provided refuge for popes. Today, this site on the Maguelone Peninsula is managed by Les Compagnons de Maguelone, running an establishment offering the handicapped care and careers, here cultivating vines and organic produce.
Exploring this spot surrounded by lagoons helps teach visitors about French history and many waves of invaders. The majestic cathedral, in Romanesque style, is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, but provided with defensive features such as arrow-slits. Its unique site intrigues visitors today, as they learn that people from practically all the great Mediterranean civilisations stopped here or occupied the place.