« Montpellier de A à Z », a book to be read again and again

Browse the city, and, while walking, discover the history of “La Tour de la Babote”, of the North African market or the music conservatory, it is this eclectic erudite Thierry Arcaix has used readers of the daily “L'Herault du jour” in his Sunday columns.

Many pages of this "Montpellier, de A à Z" are published in a section reserved for him and he titled "Patrimoine pratique”. And this is exactly what it is here: from the oldest medical school still in operation, the author brings us to today's universities. The Peyrou door, the Aqueduct of the Arceaux, the statue of Louis XIV: Thierry Arcaix is aware of any high places of the city. He knows how to show how Montpellier has been transformed over the centuries. He also discusses of many plagues of the fourteenth century as the development of the bourgeoisie and of the golden age of wine in the nineteenth century. That did not stop him to tell us in detail the history of cinemas in Montpellier since the first film of the Lumiere brothers, to go drag his gaiters in a discreet bookstore and approach the topic of publishing in the regional capital, to explain the arrival of supermarkets in Montpellier or interest in their radios.

Thierry Arcaix, life today is rooted in history. That's why it never rises boundary between past and present. "Montpellier de A à Z" is however more a storybook than a history book. It allows us to pick from it to suit our desires. We can meet strange characters, as Mounir Letaief from neighborhood Figuerolles, challenged and colorful character. It follows the journey of Roland Jolivet, an passionate of vintage postcards, as we learn a lot about the wars of religion. We discover the fabulous legend of “Roc de Substanstion” but also the memory of some of those who, in Montpellier, resisted to Nazi barbarism.

A child of Figuerolles, this popular neighborhood of Montpellier, Thierry Arcaix, kept this image of his city as a large village, which has become the 8th largest city in France, where today draws its strength. His book reminds us that this metropolis, which has occasionally lost focus in its expansion, has strong roots in Occitan.

Annie Menras.

Chef d’édition du quotidien L’Hérault du Jour. En savoir plus en français : cliquer ici.

Preface translated by Christina Khoodoruth : christina-khoo@hotmail.com