La Grande Motte – Vision of the Ideal City

The architect, Jean Balladur, dedicated 30 years of his life to La Grande Motte. He was able, thanks to the support of Pierre Racine, to impose, over and above political and economic pressures, his vision of the ideal city.

La Grande Motte was constructed as part of the Racine Project; Balladur was chosen by General de Gaulle to develop one of five “tourist units” along France’s Mediterranean coastline to increase tourism in the region. The Project as a whole was given 3 billion francs and an objective to create 500,000 new tourist beds among the five locations to draw tourists from throughout France and northern Europe. Today, what marks La Grande Motte is the aesthetic and architectural unity of a complex that covers over 400 hectares (almost 1,000 acres). Jean Balladur conceived and designed everything at La Grande Motte: he provided the template for the main buildings in each of the districts of the city; he insisted on planting trees throughout these districts, in order to slow the dominant winds; he calculated the width of the streets and traced them according to the standards calculated by Baron Haussmann; he also provided the height of the pavements… He even designed the urban furniture: a pyramid for electrical transformers; traffic lights; lighting; signs…

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