Montpellier is the capital city of Languedoc, sophisticated in its architecture and culture, yet incredibly vibrant with a large young population, many of them students. It's incredibly easy to relax in, with a vast pedestrianised main square surrounded by elegant buildings.
There are any number of terraced cafes here and nearby - café culture is a big part of city life in Montpellier - and after a small restorative stop in the sunshine for a little glass of something, you might decide to stroll up the car-free rue de la Loge to explore l'Ecusson, the ancient part of town. Here the narrow streets and shady squares are full of charming little bistros, which are perfect for pauses between taking in the charms of the Cathédral de Saint Pierre, built in the 14th century, and the botanical gardens.
Other Montpellier pleasures include the numerous dance and music festivals held here every summer, and the Fabre Museum, which holds a huge collection including works by Rubens, Duffy, Delacroix and Poussin.
Once done with urban delights (which might take some time), there are plenty of diversions on the Montpellier doorstep. The seaside is minutes away, as are vineyards and marshes and the meandering course of the Lez River, perfect for canoeing, boating or walking along. And perfect for picnics too. Stock up at the amazing les halles Castellane first, a covered market selling charcuterie, cheese, bread, fresh fish and local meat - everything this part of France does so well.