In the Hospitals-Faculties area, there is, as most inhabitants of Montpellier call it, ‘the doughnut and sausage roundabout’, but it doesn't really have any name.
Or rather… yes, 'Homage to Confucius'; that’s what Alain Jacquet, its creator called it in the early 2000s. This artistic structure near the Faculty of Science, serves as point of rendezvous for students.
"We’ve never really understood just what it represents, but what is certain is that it’s an essential part of the landscape!", said Doria, a student.
And… "Without it, we’d be lost!” joked Pierre, next to her and late for his class.
A little further north, another strange roundabout, designed by Chinese artist Chen Zhen, appears to show two huge satellite dishes topped with seventy chairs — 'The human constellation' is the gateway to the district of La Paillade.
It’s also in this area of Montpellier that a huge concrete vessel arose in 2012 — Pierresvives, home of the departmental archives of Hérault and also a media library.
"The composition of Pierresvives is absolutely unique'', confided Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-British architect who designed the building, “It is part of a long, French architectural tradition”
It certainly is a fantastic building with a majestic air, and well worth a look.
But it would be foolish to evoke the fine aspects of Montpellier without considering a thing of beauty that has wound through the city centre and into the suburbs for fifteen years now, the tramway. Often presented as ‘the most beautiful in the world’, the Montpellier tramway was inspired by famous names, including the fashion designer, Christian Lacroix.
It’s a practical but beautiful design that runs over the city’s hills and dales, a colourful centipede that inspires other world capitals.