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Monument centre historique Montpellier - Aqueduc des Arceaux © Aqueduc des Arceaux - crédit Eric Brendle

Nearby, the warmth of the outskirts

In Montpellier, you will find the Comédie square, the Peyrou garden, the Charles de Gaulle esplanade and the Saint-Roch church. In short: the historical and flamboyant Montpellier. However, like european capital cities such as London or Madrid, the city abounds with special neighbourhoods with individual and spicy identities. Their social mix makes them places which are full of life.

ZOOM IN

  • FIGUEROLLES
  • ARCEAUX
  • CELLENEUVE
  • GAMBETTA
  • ZAT
Figuerolles © Mission Grand Coeur

Off the beaten track, Montpellier opens its suburbs to the most curious.

In Figuerolles for example, the market on the Roger Salengro square is one of the cheapest in town but also one of the most colourful.

Here, in this multicultural community, one can find the best products to make a mint tea or a ‘taboulé’.

«Come and visit this market once and you will never want to go to a supermarket again!» shouts René, his overflowing basket in hand. 

«The stall handlers are so helpful, the products so fresh and the atmosphere so characteristic that anywhere else seems bland by comparison » adds this retired man.

This neighborhood has another speciality. Here all the generations mix.  When the evening comes, the night owls like to meet up in ‘La Pleine Lune’ bar which combines a good mix of international music with art exhibitions, making this place a cultural landmark.

« Aren’t we happy here? » asks Alain sitting on the bar terrasse and who has been living in this neighbourhood for 15 years.

A little further, is the Arceaux neighbourhood, in the shade of the huge aqueduct which used to bring water to the city, some people are playing ‘pétanque’ (a form of bowls), with family or friends.

«No!! You should shoot instead!» advises Jean-Jacques.

«That’s impossible ! Let me do it my way» answers his wife confidently.

«When my husband leaves me in peace, we have the best times of the week here, summer or winter! » admits Maryse.

In the Celleneuve neighbourhood there is a superb farmer’s market favouring local produce and direct trading with the producer.

«This market came to life thanks to the residents’ initiative.

All this was possible because we do everything together like in a small village » explains Claude, an ex-serviceman;

It is in this neighbourhood that Léo Mallet was born and also most probably here that his main character Nestor Burma took shape.

Finally the boulevard Gambetta is the cultural crossroads of the city.

Here all religions and all occupations live side by side.

«Once retired, I looked for an interesting place to live. Here I have found what I was looking for»  confesses Jacques Molénat, a journalist who worked for both local newspapers; the daily Midi Libre and the weekly La Gazette de Montpellier. 

THE "ZAT" IN THE HEART OF THE NEIGHBOURHOODS

A man that dances with a digger. Magicians who defy the laws of gravity . A gigantic ball of fire in the middle of a field… Welcome to the "ZAT" spirit. Since November 2010, the council has organised these Temporary Artistic Zones (ZAT) whose aim is to see the city differently using surprising artistic projects.

In each neighbourhood where they set up, the ZAT get they inspiration from the places themselves, their history, their customs, their surroundings, to show things in a different light. These artistic zones mix live shows (theatre, dance, music) ,visual arts (art installations, pyrotechnics, projections), street art, performances, on-site projects and shared creations as well as participative projects.

The next ZAT will take place in the Figuerolles neighbourhood on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th April 2016.

These creations will be enough to inspire everyone.

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