TO SEE | FESTIVAL
Christmas is coming closer and what better way to celebrate the start of the holiday season than with a light festival? Montpellier yearly organises Le Cœur de Ville en Lumières. The heart of the city will literally be illuminated with the most spectacular projected animations on the most well-known monuments of Montpellier. Keep your eyes and ears open to immerse yourself in another world!
Last year I went to see Cœur de Ville en Lumières a bit unprepared. Not this year. No less than 11 monuments are joining in the 2017 edition, and I wanted to see them all on one evening. This required some planning. So I first downloaded the map from the official festival website, which you can find here.
Strategic starting point
As I don’t live in Montpellier, I came by car. Many roads and car parks are closed during the festival, so I was a bit afraid to find a place to park. However, I arrived early (around 19h00), and it was no problem to find a spot in the car park near the place Royale du Peyrou. This happens to be a very strategic starting point, with the first participating monument Peyrou at a few steps from the car park. I could already see the lights and hear the music from far. You will also find a small information point at the Place Royal du Peyrou.
In 2016, about 150,000 people visited the festival in three days, so you won’t be alone. Expect a lot of people, and you might not be able to see all 11 monuments on one evening. However, the light festival is very well organised. From 18h30 to 22h00 you’ll be drawn into 11 magical worlds on each of the monuments. Each light show takes about six minutes followed by a 5 to 10-minute break. The striking animations are made by students of the various art schools in Montpellier. Light projections, 2D and 3D imaginary perfectly melt together with some fine tunes. It is incredible to see how this transforms historic buildings into true pieces of art.
I have to say I was completely struck by the beauty of the animations. It is absolutely amazing to see how the buildings are brought to life. Of course, I did take some pictures, but this is something you really have to experience for yourself. In the end, I managed to see all 11 participating monuments. Although I think this is a bit much for one evening, as I hardly took a break. The printed map I brought with me wasn’t really necessary. Just follow the crowd. My personal highlights of the evening were the Arc de Triomphe, Église Saint-Roch and Musée Fabre. A definite must-see!