An Expat Guide to Life in L’Ecusson, Montpellier, France

L'Ekusson is the title of the old heart of Montpellier. Also it's many peoples 1st choice when searching for housing and accommodation in Montpellier. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the hub of Montpellier is a web of small, winding streets that open out onto a handful of larger roads that cut through the heart…

L'Ekusson is the title of the old heart of Montpellier. Also it's many peoples 1st choice when searching for housing and accommodation in Montpellier. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the hub of Montpellier is a web of small, winding streets that open out onto a handful of larger roads that cut through the heart of the town. With beautiful old buildings, charm, and scores of pubs and eateries l'Occusson is a glorious spot, particularly in the long, languid hot months. For a lot of expats and natives alike the chance to stay in a traditional townhouse, with their blue-gray wooden shutters, is just too romantic an option to oppose.

However there are disadvantages in living in the old heart of the city. Rent is a little more expensive than the suburbs where, for example, 600 Euros every thirty days goes a great deal further. Quite a few apartments are tiny, poky, and lacking the modern comforts typical in Britain. Washing machines are scarce and dishwashers even more so. Kitchens in general are very small, often merely hobs shoved into the corner of a living room. Heating is an issue also. Many places are lacking in central heating and, truth be told, Montpellier is really chilly in winter. This leaves people with the unenviable decision of resorting to inefficient electric heaters provided by landlords or wearing yet another jumper.

For many, particularly young business people and students, everything is worth it however. Living in Montpellier and having everything on your front door is incredibly liberating and enables you to pop out on a bright afternoon for a lager, ice cream, or just an ambulance across the winding backstreets. It's also a fairly safe part of the city. Although there's a lot of late night drinking on weekends – and during the week – it rarely spills over into the violence associated with British town centers. Young women bought to be watchful however as it's sadly not unheard of for them to attract unwanted attention when walking on their own late at night. A great deal of this will likely be reliably innocent but is regardless of a disagreeable, unpleasant experience.

None of this should discourage you. For those who love the look, energy, and vitality of the old city you'll continue to smile while you lug your clothing into the laundrette or try to prepare dinner for four with two electric hobs. Pleasant, furnished one-bed apartments or studios can be found for 600 Euros a month, give or take, but you'll spend less if you happen to find a flat share, known as a colocation or coloc, via a site like Appartager.