The Light(er)-House

We had only intended to make a quick trip to Ikea. Ikea in Montpellier, to be precise. It’s an hour’s drive from us, and Saturday seemed like a good choice, aiming to go early to avoid the crowds. We found what we needed and wrapped up our «raid» around 11:30. For the return journey, we opted for a special route: It took us from Montpellier across the Etang du Prévost to the coastal town of Palavas-les-Flots, which serves as a kind of bridge between the Etang and the Mediterranean Sea. The prominent landmark of Palavas-les-Flots is an architecturally unusual lighthouse, known as «le Phare de la Méditerranée». On the 12th floor, there is a revolving restaurant, and that was our destination for lunch.

On the 11th floor, there is a bar, one floor below the restaurant, which rotates around its own axis every 90 minutes. Upon reaching the bar area, we were directed to an elevator to the restaurant, which required us to cover a short distance. Suddenly, we noticed some generous glass display cases showcasing – to our great surprise – a magnificent collection of Trench Art artifacts from World War I. The collection belongs to the French collector Jean-Pierre Malka and can be admired permanently at Le Phare de la Méditerranée (

An important part of the collection is the Trench Art lighters, but there are also many other objects from those war days and beyond, when artworks were crafted from war munitions. There are also items visible from the production process, so semi-finished products, giving the impression that there must have been a veritable industry behind it.

Our lunch was excellent as we rotated 360 degrees. The restaurant comes highly recommended. Le Phare de la Méditerranée is located about 30 minutes from the city center of Montpellier or about 30 minutes directly from Montpellier Airport.

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