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!
Last year I went to see Cœur de Ville en Lumières a bit unprepared. Not this year. No less than 11 monuments participate in the 2019 edition, and I wanted to see them all in one evening. This required some planning. So 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. However, although I arrived rather late (around 20h00), I had no problem 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 at a few steps from the car park. I could already see the lights and hear the music from afar.
During the three 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. Although the light festival is very well organised. From 18h30 to 22h30 you’ll be drawn into 11 magical worlds glowing on each of the monuments. Each light show takes about 6 minutes, followed by a 7- to 10-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 11 participating monuments. However, I think this is a bit much 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 Arc de Triomphe, Église Saint-Roch and Musée Fabre. All definite must-sees!