TO SEE | TOWN
When visiting the coastline of Languedoc, you have to visit the futuristic looking seaside resort of La Grande Motte. This town got designed entirely by architecture Jean Balladur in the 1960s and officially opened in 1974. As the weather was perfect with the bluest blue sky, I drove to this famous coastal town to finally see it with my own eyes.
I have to say I was a bit sceptical when visiting La Grande Motte for the first time. Of course, I have seen the iconic images of its extraordinary architecture by Jean Balladur. But when I arrived, I had to get into it. From far, the pyramid-shaped apartments look amazing and intriguing. However, when taking a closer look, the buildings look a bit outdated…
Soon enough though, while strolling around the harbour, I discover the beauty of La Grande Motte. The white buildings, inspired on the historical pre-Colombian site of Teotihuacan in Mexico, perfectly match with the blue sky. La Grande Motte became Jean Balladur’s masterpiece, on which he worked for almost 30 years. Being a visionary, the minimalist architect provided the perfect base for the sustainable and green town it is nowadays. Since 2010, La Grande Motte is even officially classified as “Twentieth Century Heritage” by the French Ministry of Culture.
It’s hard to believe it has only been 50 years since the first pyramid style building arose at the Quai Pompidou. La Grande Motte got created on virgin land in the 1960s, as part of the “Racine mission” to develop the Languedoc coastline. They succeeded well, as today the coastal town attracts about 2 million visitors per year! I visited La Grande Motte outside the high season of July and August, so I didn’t really notice the crowd and I could peacefully stroll around.
More to discover
When driving back home, I had to conclude that La Grande Motte did positively surprise me. Because all the buildings are built in the same style, the beach resort forms an architectural unity. During summer, many events, guided tours and activities are organised. I definitely have to go back to do the photo walk tour. And the visit per catamaran to see La Grande Motte’s skyline. And learn all about marine turtles. And, and, and… Still enough to discover at La Grande Motte!