Mulled wine, giant decorations and illuminations, the whole program of the festivities

It’s (already) Christmas. The streets are adorned with their most beautiful illuminations, and mulled wine is bubbling in the pots. In Montpellier (Hérault), if the boom in the cost of energy requires the Hérault capital to be a little more sober than usual, the festivities are numerous, until the end of the year. And it starts this Friday.


If, for you, Christmas is above all about stuffing yourself with chocolates and mulled wine, the Hivernales will perhaps be your HQ, from this Friday, until January 1st. Every day, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., the traditional chalets will open their small windows on the Charles-de-Gaulle esplanade. With something to eat, but also a lot of gift ideas, for those who lack it. Activities around make-up and creative hobbies will be regularly offered to the little ones. For the older ones, the Hivernales will extend the pleasure a little later, until 10 p.m., every Friday and Saturday.

Heart of the city in lights

After two blank years, marked by the Covid-19 epidemic, the Montpellier Festival of Lights is making a comeback. “In a particular context linked to the energy crisis”, explains the city, this new edition of Cœur de ville en lumière, organized by the municipality and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will not last four days, as it was the case until then, but two, this Friday and this Saturday. The time slots for the shows have also been shortened (from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.), and “a new generation of projectors” that are more energy efficient will be used.

Ten emblematic facades will be highlighted: the Peyrou water temple, the prefecture, the Fabre museum, the opera house, the Hôtel d’Aurès, the Arc de Triomphe, Saint-Roch, the Agora theatre, the courtyard of the Agora and the Saint-Pierre cathedral. Some of his shows were concocted by students from the city’s animation and video game schools. The students of the Art FX school have, for example, prepared a retrospective of the 800 years of the Faculty of Medicine, which will be projected on the Arc de Triomphe.

The magic of Peyrou

From December 3 until January 1, brave parents can drag their pushchairs to the Peyrou gardens. The royal square will host several decorations, around the themes of Christmas, winter and childhood. A surprise giant structure 8 m high, 10 m wide and 4 m deep, created from recycled plastic bottles, is in particular to be discovered. It will be made up of “39,480 LED light points, for a fairly low total power of 2,368 Watts, the equivalent of two microwave ovens”, indicates the city, anxious to save energy. “All of the garlands and Christmas decorations installed in the city center are made up of” LEDs, which makes it possible to lower consumption “by 40% compared to last year”.

In Nimes

Nîmes also went all out for Christmas. But, as in Montpellier, the concern of the municipality was to keep as many festivities as possible, while trying to save some money. “Despite this period of uncertainty which forces us to make many arbitrations, it seemed essential to us to continue to offer high quality entertainment”, notes the mayor, Jean-Paul Fournier (LR). Exit the ice rink, which was to be installed on the forecourt of the arenas, removed “for environmental reasons”, indicates the city of Nîmes. “For more than ten years, the city has opted for LED decorations in order to reduce its electricity consumption, which has been divided by three. Many decors are now made of 100% recyclable aluminum and thermoplastic. The video projector used for image projections is low consumption. »

On the program in particular, from December 2, gourmet chalets, rides, shows, parades and wanderings in the streets of the capital of Gard. For those who are not afraid of heights, a Ferris wheel awaits them on the forecourt of the arenas, from December 3 to January 2, every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Finally, from December 16 to 23, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Nîmes will also have its Festival of Lights, with projections on the Maison Carrée, the Clock Tower and the Museum of Old Nîmes.

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