Dimanche du Peyrou - Brocante Montpellier © Ville de Montpellier

Montpellier's bohemian soul

Indeed, Montpellier city offers an abundance of original places of carefree character thanks, in part, to its Humanities university (20 000 students) and to its school of Fine Art.

Festival des fanfares @Bastien Defives_Transit © Festival des fanfares @Bastien Defives_Transit

« I love Montpellier because it has a real bohemian atmosphere».

Seated at the terrasse of the Chic and Bohème teahouse, in Proudhon street, Régis is an engineer from Lille who came to Montpellier to «breathe the whimsical air of the city». Indeed, the Clapas capital city offers an abundance of original places of carefree character thanks, in part, to its Humanities university (20 000 students) and to its school of Fine Art.

Régis, like so many others, finds his happiness in two key districts: the Boutonnet and the Beaux-Arts.

These two areas, linked to one another are the « epicenters of wild and wacky nights » confesses Regis. In June, this area, which is often treated as «a village within the city» welcomes the brass band festival during which musicians from the whole of France delight the lovers of brass instruments until late into the night.

A taster for Regis who waits impatiently for « the estivales » festival that take place on the Charles de Gaulle esplanade. Every Friday evening in July and August, the municipality organises tasting of regional wines with a night market. « It is a great friendly and festive time where all generations gather around a good wine from the Pic saint Loup » confesses this great connaisseur of the ‘blood of the earth’. 

And to have a rest from these very festive moments, nothing better than to break the week with an evening at the Panacée, the cultural centre for contemporary art, based in the pharmacy school street.

«I have never known such an eclectic program in an Art centre» confirms Regis, the montpellierain by adoption.

The Panacée is a bar, a restaurant, a place to exchange views and ideas, all at the same time but also an exhibition site and a residence for artists from all over the world.

Les Dimanches du Peyrou (The Peyrou Sundays)

« How much for this sextant please? ». As every Sunday morning, Marysa visits the Peyrou Esplanade to rummage through the antiques market with a view to acquire some objects for her interior decoration. «I am redecorating my office around the maritime theme» explains this young woman, urban planner in Montpellier. An initiative of the city of Montpellier, the Peyrou Sundays are weekly secondhand and antiques markets that take place from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.

An unmissable rendez-vous that gathers every Sunday between 40 and 60 professional antiques dealers.

«It is the ideal place to spend a pleasant moment with your family or with your friends» confirms Marysa as she takes two 10 euro notes from her purse. Her sextant in her pocket, Marysa returns to the « Guinguette » installed on the esplanade, which offers oysters and white wine, at tables set in the shade of the plane trees.

She is meeting Yvan and Maëlia, her husband and 11 year old daughter. «Other friends will come and join us later» explains her husband. «There is plenty of space for children to play and the site is one of the most beautiful in the whole of the city» enthuses Yvan. This event launched in September 2012 is a popular success.