The Jardin des plantes de Montpellier (4.5 hectares) is a historic botanical garden and arboretum maintained by the Montpellier University.
The garden was established in 1593 by letters patent from King Henri IV, under the leadership of Pierre Richer de Belleval, professor of botany and anatomy. It is France's oldest botanical garden, inspired by the Orto botanico di Padova (1545) and in turn serving as model for the Jardin des Plantes de Paris (1626).
The Montagne de Richer lies within the garden's oldest section, which also now contains a systematic garden. The garden was expanded twice in the 19th century. Its orangery was designed by Claude-Mathieu Delagardette (1762–1805) and completed in 1804, the arboretum was landscaped in 1810, and the English Garden, with pool and greenhouse, dates from 1859. The monumental Martins greenhouse opened in 1860.
Today the garden contains about 2,680 plant species, including 500 native to the Mediterranean region. Of these roughly 2,000 species are grown outdoors, and 1,000 under glass.References:
The Château Comtal (Count’s Castle) is a medieval castle within the Cité of Carcassonne, the largest city in Europe with its city walls still intact. The Château Comtal has a strong claim to be called a 'Cathar Castle'. When the Catholic Crusader army arrived in 1209 they first attacked Raymond-Roger Trencavel's castrum at Bèziers and then moved on to his main stronghold at Carcassonne.
The castle with rectangular shape is separated from the city by a deep ditch and defended by two barbicans. There are six towers curtain walls.
The castle was restored in 1853 by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.