Strawberry Field, the childhood refuge of John Lennon, re-opened to the public last weekend.
I attended a preview a few days before, writing an article for iTravel.
Here’s a preview of my feature:
The former Salvation Army children’s home, made famous in the 1967 Beatles song, has re-opened with a new permanent exhibition about Lennon’s early life [pictured above], a community garden and café.
The young Lennon would often play in the garden after he moved to live nearby with his aunt Mimi when his mother started a new relationship.
He would meet Paul McCartney at a local church fete in the late Fifties.
But Strawberry Field remained, as Lennon later expressed in the song’s lyrics, a place where, “Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about”.
“John always said Strawberry Field was his favourite song and he referred to it as his psychoanalytic poem,” says Julia Baird, Lennon’s younger, half-sister and the Honorary President of the Strawberry Field project.
I’ve got form with Montpellier, where I spent an early summer visit on assignment for a couple of publications.
I remembered it from student days as my favourite French city, but then had a mixed experience on a more recent visit.
I was back in early July on a group press trip with tourism officials for the opening of the city’s new contemporary art museum, MOCO.
The city has certainly grown, expanding into new districts towards the beach and bustling with language-exchange students.
I still love the Old Town with its cobblestone backstreets and labyrinthine passageways. But I was less grabbed by some of the modernist architecture of somewhat soulless outer districts.
Here’s a taster of my story:
The opening of the art museum, Montpellier Contemporary (MOCO) is the latest development in a city embracing art. There was always a flirtation with street art and a regular summer arts festival but MOCO has really put the city on the map as a hub for all things conceptual.
I finally feel like I’ve got a better sense of what makes Montpellier tick.
Just in time to recommend some places to visit, such as the new Marché du Lez [pictured above], to my daughter, who is due to visit on a school exchange next Easter.