Imagine a monastery and its church... The monastery, transformed into the current Medicine faculty... The church, transformed into the current cathedral... Saint-Pierre cathedral was primitively the church of a former Benedictine monastery dedicated to Saint-Benoît-Saint-Germain, founded by pope Urban V in 1364.
But Montpellier cathedral was elsewhere! Etymologically, the cathedral is the church where the cathedra is, which means the bishop’s seat. Until 1536, Montpellier’s one was in Maguelone, a little city located a few kilometres away.
Yes, Maguelone was a peninsula, at that time, between the sea and the lagoon, with a humid air which caused epidemics and illness: inhabitants ran away. Meanwhile, Montpellier became a prosperous and modern town... so, they moved out in Montpellier, in 1536.
The bishopric also moved in Montpellier, in the monastery’s church! A church dedicated to Pierre, patron saint of Maguelone former cathedral. The link between cathedral and Medicine faculty happens now... The current faculty of Montpellier is the building adjoining the cathedral.
It settled in the former Saint-Benoît monastery, in 1795, while the cathedral kept his function. It’s the world’s oldest Medicine school still practising! Its story began in 1220: with this school, Montpellier became pretty famous in Europe, thanks to lessons dispensed by great teachers: Jew doctors expelled from Spain, Arab doctors...
Arab, yes, because in the Middle Ages, modern medicine came from the Arabic World. The propagation of the knowledge came by Southern Italy and Spain. Until it arrived in Southern France, via translations. A big upheaval of the knowledge...