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A Holiday to The Languedoc

This Is My Look At The Sights of Montpellier

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Montpellier: Ambition And Architecture

February 20, 2014

In recent times, since the Sixties, it has benefited from massive spending on infrastructure. The first wave of growth was driven largely by the single-minded vision of the controversial socialistmayor, George Freche. During a 27-year term as Mayor of Montpellier, carrying on the work of his predecessor Francois Delmas, he created a welcoming business environment for exciting new hi-tech and service industries. Accompanying these social changes wasa grand scheme of city planning which created an entire new district, Antigone, which joins the historic centre to the Lez River. Now, the march towards the sea continues with the construction of Port Marianne, another new environment where urban planning embraces some bold new architecture for offices, shops and apartments. It feels like it can only be a matter of decades before Montpelliers urban expansion continues to the sea which lies just a few miles from the city for now you can walk or cycle the remaining few kilometres between Port Marianne and Lattes or Palavas on the coast. The modern face of Montpellier, exemplified by its contemporary architecture, is fascinating. On the edge of the old city lies Antigone, a vast 36-hectare site reclaimed in the 1980s for a mix of private and social housing. With its monumental scale neo-classical buildings designed by Richard Blofill, the Catalan architect, you admire the sheer scale and the vision and commitment required to pull this off. Today, the neo-classical style looks slightly dated and perhaps a little grandiose, but it comes to life in the warm weather when the plaza fills with people, there are open air concerts and the deep azure sky creates a vivid backdrop.
For the original version of the article including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.francetoday.com/articles/2013/08/25/montpellier_ambition_and_architecture.html

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