The must-see architecture festival of Montpellier

By June 16, 2017FESTIVAL, TO SEE

As the famous architect Le Corbusier said during a discussion with students: “Architecture is a fact of art, a phenomenon of emotions, beyond the possibilities of construction. Construction is to keep the framework together; architecture is to cause emotions”. And that is the theme of this year’s edition of the “Festival des Architectures Vives” in Montpellier: Emotion.


As architecture plays such a big role in all of our lives, the association Champ Libre decided to organise a special festival dedicated to this art and science of designing. Every year since 2006, the general public is invited to discover the work of more than ten young and international architects. In fact, there are two festivals, one in Montpellier and one in La Grande Motte; I visited the first one. The starting point is the Chambre de Commerce in Montpellier, where you can see the first installation. After receiving the brochure with a map of the route, I went on my expedition.

Open to public

If you don’t know your way in Montpellier centre, the map is a bit of a challenge. Might be my map reading skills as well… However, together with Google Maps on my phone, I figured out the route. The cool thing that you discover the city in a completely different way. The festival opens the interior courtyards of historical mansions, some of them private and normally not open to the public.


I was looking out for the little signs which are clearly standing outside these “Hôtels Particuliers”. Sometimes you could already get a view of the installation from the street. Other times you had to go inside the courtyard or even inside the installation. All to evoke an emotion, positive or negative.


When entering the courtyards, you will be welcomed by a team of students. All of them are very willing to explain you more about what you are seeing. Very good thing to do, as it really made me feel part of the festival. At the end you can vote for your favourite installation at the pavilion, the winner will receive the “Prix du Public”. For me, the winner is clear; I am curious if other people share my opinion!


The Festival des Architectures Vives (FAV) takes place from 13 till 18 June 2017 in the historic centre of Montpellier. The starting point is at the Chambre des Commerces, but as the festival is open to everybody without an entrance fee, you can follow your own route at your own pace.

Pavillon du FAV
Hôtel Saint Côme
32 Grand’rue Jean Moulin
+33 (0)4 67 92 51 17


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