La Grande-Motte, A Modernist City Inspired By The Maya

Last summer we had the opportunity to visit what many call the "New Florida" or "French California" city of La Grande-Motte in Southern France. The city's construction started in the 1960s and spread over the next 20 years.  Aimed to compete with Spain tourism, the French government decided to implement a major urbanization plan along the mediterranean coast, giving a place for tourists to spend their time and money in France while developing a local economy.  Architect Jean Balladur, who drew his inspiration from the Maya pyramids in Mexico, was responsible for planning and designing the city. Most of the buildings were built using concrete, since it is cheap, resistant to the salty sea breeze and was expected to age well in the city's mild and dry climate.  The 60° incline of the facades also made it possible for every apartment to have a balcony or terrace.  In 2010, La Grande-Motte was awarded the title of "20th Century Heritage Site" by the French Ministry of Culture, in recognition of its architectural heritage.

Photos © 2016 David Meaux Photography.  All rights reserved.