June 25, 2012


by Antonia Leslie 

Finding yourself stuck near Montpellier do not hesitate to go to Le Grau du Roi, the New Brasilia of the South of France. Architects were quietly left to their own devices from the 60's on, to design holiday homes, hotels and apartments. Local architecture with no restraints. It is like being on the set of Moonraker. 
Just drive around between Le Grau du Roi and Porte Camargue, or take a boat and follow the coast round from one marina to the next and one building more indescribably strange than the next. Remove the term building from your head and you can see roller coasters, 1960's cartoon space ships and of course sails.
Sometimes the size and proportions are very difficult to compute and one can almost make the building into a miniature, making you take on the size of a giant with dizzying effects. The windows are all worked to death. You can choose between the egg, the toppled wine glass and the triangle, sometimes all on the same building. The balcony has taken on the importance of the alter although thankfully they do not have the usual English accessories of two chairs, a table and a bicycle.

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