Montpellier, a gem for architecture lovers

With the opening of the MOCO on June 29, Montpellier affirms its artistic side as an unmissable destination. In this brand new museum of collections, the vivacity of contemporary art is combined with an avant-garde architecture, which has given birth to many monumental works in the city over the past decades.


MOCO brings together the Superior School of Beaux-Arts of Montpellier, the Panacée exhibition center dedicated to emerging designers and, since the end of June, a hôtel of contemporary art collections housed in the renovated Hôtel Montcalm. With a garden redesigned by a landscape artist and a cube of light crowning the former officers' mess, this 19th century mansion, situated between the station and the Place de la Comédie, is becoming a new marker of the urban landscape of Montpellier.
The MOCO (External link)

Port Marianne and its architectural gems

In this new district, built along the banks of the Lez in the 1990s, architectural creations abound. Created by Jean Nouvel, the RBC Design Center houses a contemporary design concept store behind a graphic façade decorated with key words (like inspire or enjoy). Jacques Ferrier’s La Mantilla surprises visitors with its white concrete net, while the Koh-I-Noor residence, designed by Bernard Bühler, captivates viewers with the jewel-like shine of its two-tone glass railings, much like the jewel that shares its name.

The cube of blue glass by Jean Nouvel

The centerpiece of Port Marianne is City Hall, a large cube of blue glass and aluminum laid on the edge of the Lez, imagined by Jean Nouvel and François Fontès and completed in 2011. Two large interior patios and light-dimming blinds are reminiscent of Mediterranean architecture. City Hall distills its surprises: the facades are colored according to the light and the reflections of the water and the mineral court contrasts with the green park.

The Cloud by Philippe Stark

The envelope of this rectangular building located near the Jacques Coeur basin, in Port Marianne, intrigues all who visit. A transparent, semi-crystalline polymer membrane encapsulates the structure in a slightly moving bubble. This light, airy facade shines at night like a blue, pink or multicoloured halo, making this “inflatable” building one of the most poetic in the city. Indoors, a range of activities dedicated to sport and health, shops, a restaurant, an aquatic centre—it's a veritable oasis of self-care.
The Cloud (External link)

Pierresvives, the glass and concrete vessel of Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid, another architectural star who worked in Montpellier, left her fingerprint on the city, this one made of smooth lines, sharp edges, superimposed planes and false volumes. In the eco-district of Pierresvives, northwest of L'Écusson, the building that emerged in 2012 evokes a ship and appeals to a sense of movement.

The White Tree, architectural madness of the 21th decade

With this bold construction, Montpellier reinvents the follies, these beautiful mansions that notable residences had built outside the walls in the 17th and 18th centuries. The White Tree evokes a plant form stretched towards the sky, white and graceful, blooming with balconies and shadows as light as leaves. Port Marianne’s latest 2019 apartment also features a brewery on the ground floor and on the first floor, as well as a top bar to further enjoy this exceptional location.
Restaurant L'Arbre (External link)

Antigone, the first laboratory of architecture in Montpellier city

Since the 1980s, this city in Languedoc was betting on disruptive and contemporary architecture with the creation of the Antigone district. In praise of antiquity, symmetry and the interplay of perspectives, architect Ricardo Boffil drew six large squares along a pedestrian axis to the southeast of the historical center, with sculptured constructions of columns and pediments. Antigone is a neo-classical district with monumental dimensions, and a lively place to live.

Getting to Montpellier, in Occitanie