Cultural life in the city – where to search for events? Part II
What is life in a city without going out? Montpellier might look small but has for its size a lot to offer, and a very interesting cultural life. Many places are in walking distance, which invites to stroll around and simply see what you stumble across. Still much more events are happening all over, that you don’t necessarily see if no one tells you about it.
Montpellier is a growing city with a busy student life and more and more importance given to investments in the cultural sector. Therefore, the cultural life is a huge part of the « Montpellier experience ». One example is the project MoCo (Montpellier Contemporain) – a project that joins together three art institutions : the Panacée and the Superior School of Fine Arts, which already work together, and the Hôtel Montcalm, which should open its doors in summer 2019. After speaking about how to move to Montpellier, here comes part two, on cultural life in the city.
To start with, I asked a few people about their experience in going out in Montpellier.
In general I find it quite easy in Montpellier, you quickly have an overall view on the city and can just go from one spot to another.
Laura, 31, from Israel, former student at the dance and choreography centre CCN : “The moment I am in right now is very different than when I arrived. My fellow students already new everything, so I just followed. But now I am on my own. I somehow find it very exciting. For example, I went to the cinema, or went to have a coffee on my own… It is a very different and opening experience. You get more conscious of the city and the people living in the city. It is a precious moment of being an observer.”
Nastassja, 27, German, student in Cultural Management : “In general I find it quite easy in Montpellier, you quickly have an overall view on the city and can just go from one spot to another.”
Danielle, 27, German, student in social work and sport education : “I feel like mouth propaganda works the best. People here are open to say : Hey, you should try out this or that.”
How about a concert?
Almost everyday you will find concerts in the city thanks to Mama Sound, an online and printed event magazine. You will surely see it laying around in bars or in cultural institutions.
A little on the outskirts, but a charming concert place, is the music school JAM. Take the tram, ligne 4 to the stop Saint-Martin (last tram around 1am) or go by bike. The fact that it is hidden gives it even more character.
A lot of character has also La Pleine Lune. At first sight a simple place but with very frequent concerts.
I love to go there for spontaneous concerts. From outside it looks run down and old, but they have great evenings.
Many times they play world music which suits to a place located in the multicultural neighbourhood Figuerolles.
Nastassja tells me : “I love to go there for spontaneous concerts. From outside it looks run down and old, but they have great evenings.”
Le Domaine d’O – a spot for festivals
You could also have a look on the site of the Domaine d’O – a big park with a theatre and amphitheatre. Several festivals take place there. End of August they organise open-air cinema and concerts. Bring a picnic and enjoy!
Retrouvez les programmes de :
⭐La Métropole fait son cinéma (1er au 31 août) : https://t.co/KuHQ6pCSYn
⭐Les Nuits d’O (23, 24, 25, 30, 31 août & 1er sept) : https://t.co/uqTjMw3yQb pic.twitter.com/EJKS6R46am
— Domaine d’O (@domainedo) 18 juillet 2018
Let’s have a look at theatre and dance
For those who like contemporary theatre, a place worth to be discovered is the Théâtre des 13 Vents. Beside an old mansion in a parc, the site is already superb and their program is usually interesting. For getting there take the tram line 1 to Odysseum, stop Place the France. There, at the Bus Station, a routine bus brings people to the place before the show from 7pm to 7.40pm. The same little bus brings you back after the show to Place de l’Europe in the centre until 1.20am.
— Théâtre des 13 vents-CDN Montpellier (@13ventscdnmpt) 22 juin 2018
If you are student at the university, you might be surprised to hear, but also Paul Valery has a theatre where international companies are invited! Check out the program on the homepage of the Théâtre de la Vignette.
For dance, you should not miss the yearly festival Montpellier danse. Many international dance companies come to Montpellier and in the large and intensive program, you are sure to find treasures.
All the year round dance workshops, artist meetings and dance shows are ensured by the CCN (Centre Chorégraphique National). The institution is located in an ancient convent now called Agora de la danse. It is a kind of house of artist with residencies and a renowned study section in choreography.
Art in the city
Are you interested in Arts but did already the classics like the Musée Fabre, Pavillon Populaire for Photography or La Panacée for Contemporary Art? Then go and have a look at some surprising little galleries and associations, like l’Espace Saint Ravy.
The church St. Anne has since 1992 been changed into an exhibition space called Carré Sainte Anne worth a look! Unfortunately it is closed for construction until the end of 2018.
Another known public institution is la FRAC (Fond Regional d’Art Contemporain). The aim of this institution is to support artistic creation and to make it accessible to a large scale of people. For example, they organise workshops with scholars to enable a better understanding of contemporary art.
The new alternative place in town
The new spot along the river called Marché du Lez brings up all hipster atmosphere one needs. There is even a hairdresser that plays it old school! A fun place to be, with frequent concerts and food-trucks for the evening.
The fastest you get there is by bicycle. Otherwise take the tram line 3 until the stop Pablo Picasso and walk the last meters by foot. You will find the entrance to your right, just across a big parking space.
Don’t hesitate to look up events on the site of the city of Montpellier. They have an English option, which can be helpful. Just be careful to check the French version as well, to be sure everything is mentioned.