A quick guide to living in…Antigone

Stretching east from the old centre of Montpellier to newer developments by the river, Antigone is a modern, neo-classical development housing many 100s of apartments. At its heart is a long, straight promenade running from the Polygone, a modern shopping centre, to a stretch of river a 10 minute walk from the new town hall in Port Marianne. At several points the promenade opens out onto large squares with Greek-themed fountains, such as a statue of Poseidon, at their centre. These squares mimic the historic centre of Montpellier and are flanked by cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating. A couple of times a week market stalls selling food, clothes, and trinkets take over the promenade.

 

Apartments in Antigone tend to be more spacious than those in the old centre of Montpellier. Having this extra space means you’re more likely to find modcons like dishwashers, washing machines, and decently equipped kitchens. Some buildings also have small balconies which, unlike the balconettes in the centre, allow you to sit out and enjoy living in the south of France. After a day stuck inside the option of being outside without going out is very, very welcome.

 

In exchange for these comforts you sacrifice some of the charm of the old town. With its looming neo-classical buildings Antigone divides opinion architecturally but few would claim it stirs the heart like l’Écusson. Having said that, depending on which end you live at, you can walk into the centre of Montpellier in under 10 minutes. Equally, the convergence of tram lines at Place de l’Europe and Rives du Lez means Antigone is well linked to the rest of the city.

 

As a final negative, there’s anecdotal evidence that Antigone is unsafe at night. While we have no first hand experience of this, the layout of the buildings makes it sound feasible. Off the main promenade are several poorly lit and secluded side streets which it’s easy to imagine looking threatening. As with any city, being sensible will help you avoid danger though. A well-lit main road, with cars and trams, runs parallel to the Antigone promenade and it seems likely this is the safer option late at night.

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