Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Jardin des Plantes, Montpellier

Montpellier's Jardin des Plantes is a 4.5 hectare (11 acre) botanical garden and arboretum maintained by the University of Montpellier and open (with free admission) most afternoons.  The garden was established in 1493 by King Henry IV and is France's oldest botanical garden, serving as a model for the Jardin des Plantes in Paris (1626).  The garden contains about 2,680 plant species, including 500 native to the Mediterranean region.  Roughly 2,000 of the species are grown outdoors and the remaining in green houses.

Entrance to Jardin des Plantes

The gardens are located next to Promenade de Peyrou and we stroll over, enter, and wander along the paths.

Strolling the paths

Entering one small courtyard, we encounter stacks of bee hives.  We don't wander much further in that direction.

Bee hives

Entering a small greenhouse, we find it has been turned into an impromptu art exhibit, with vibrant colors matching the beauty in the outside gardens.

Art exhibit

The main greenhouse if closed for renovation, but we peer in the windows at the cactus and other desert plants inside.

Peering in

Continuing our exploration, we wander down more paths on the other side of the greenhouse, with new discoveries around every corner.

Continuing to wander

The Jardin des Plantes has been a great tranquil experience in the city.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Photo Exhibition at the Pavilion Populaire

Montpellier's Pavilion Populaire is a modern photography museum located in Esplanade Charles de Gaulle, just off Place de la Comédie, the city's main square.  With three new exhibitions per year, the Pavilion Populaire is considered one of the leading photography exhibition venues in France.  

Pavilion Populaire

Entry is free and we wander in, initially walking through several rooms of new European photography.

Our visits starts

After the modern photography, much of the current exhibition is devoted to Ukranian photography, particularly photos from the ongoing Russian invasion.


The combination of modern European photography and [modern] Ukranian-war photography is thought provoking and intriguing, reminding us of many different aspects of current life in Europe.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Antigone and Along the River Lez

Montpellier's Antigone district, started in 1977, is a series of grand neo-classical structures along a unified visual axis one kilometer long, stretching from the old town to the River Lez.  Starting at Place de la Comédie, we walk through the mall to the beginning of the Antigone district, first entering a tree-filled stretch of shops, restaurants, and fountains

Entering the Antigone district

Soon, the tree-fill courtyard transitions into sections of grand office buildings and sports complexes.

Grand architecture

At the far of the Antigone district, we reach the Lez River at the Bassin de Richter and follow it a ways toward the Mediterranean, 12 km (7 miles) away.

Along the River Lez

There is a lot of construction along the river and find that many kilometers of stages, stands, and booths are being erected for FISE Montpellier, the largest extreme sports event in Europe, due to start a few days after we leave.

Setup for FISE

Continuing along the Lez, we come to the Port Marianne section of Montpellier, a modern neighborhood across from the city hall, with construction starting in the 1990s and continuing today.

Port Marianne

Along the Lez

We turn around and head back on the banks of the Lez.  Later on, we'll rent bicycles and follow the Lez to the Mediterranean, about 30 minutes away, but today we're on foot.