Christmas is coming closer and what better way to celebrate the start of the holiday season than with a light festival? Montpellier yearly organises Le Cœur de Ville en Lumières during which the most spectacular projected animations will literally illuminate the heart of the city on the most well-known monuments in Montpellier. Keep your eyes and ears open and immerse yourself in this otherworldly spectacle!
Cœur de Ville en Lumières is the start of Montpellier’s end-of-the-year festivities. This year, the city organised the light festival from Friday November 25 to Saturday November 26, from 18h30 to 22h30. Ten monuments and fifteen scenographers participated in the 2022 edition, and I wanted to see them all in one evening. This required some planning. Therefore, I first downloaded the map from the official festival website, which you can find here.
Strategic starting point
As I don’t live in Montpellier, I came by car. Many roads and car parks are closed during the festival, so I was a bit worried about finding a place to park. Also, because ‘Les Hivernales’ and the Christmas market started on the same evening. However, although I arrived at rush hour (around 19h00), I was fine finding a spot in the car park behind the Promenade du Peyrou. This happened to be a very strategic starting point, with the first participating monument Peyrou a few steps from the car park. I could already see the lights and hear the music from afar.
During the two evenings of Cœur de Ville en Lumières, the city of Montpellier will welcome over 200,000 visitors, so you won’t be alone. Expect a lot of people, and that you might not be able to see all participating monuments in one evening. From 18h30 to 22h30, you’ll be drawn into ten magical worlds glowing on each of the monuments. Each light show takes about six minutes, followed by a ten-minute break. Students from the various art schools in Montpellier and surrounding towns created the striking animations. Light projections, 2D and 3D imaginary worlds perfectly melt together with some wonderful tunes and transform the historic buildings into true pieces of art.
I have to say that the beauty of the animations left me completely awestruck. It was absolutely amazing to see how they brought the buildings to life. Of course, I did take some pictures, but this is something you really have to experience for yourself. In the end, I managed to see all ten participating monuments. However, I think this is a lot for one evening, as I hardly took a break. The printed map I brought with me wasn’t really necessary- just follow the crowd. My personal highlights of the evening were the Église Saint-Roch, Préfecture and Musée Fabre. All definite must-sees!