My Languedoc village
Prades le Lez (34730)
Prades le Lez is a self contained village with all the advantages of being in the countryside but within easy reach of Montpellier’s city lights. It’s 10km north of Montpellier at the extreme tip of the Agglomeration.
Prades le Lez is one of the villages that clearly show the expanding popularity of this part of France. Until the 1980s there were less 1000 habitants but, by 2005 there were around 5000, and growing. The medieval part of the village retains its beauty but is dwarfed by the expanded Prades le Lez of today.
Prades le lez was first mentioned in 804 under the name ‘Villa Pratis’ (prats being an old word for prairie). The walled village dates to the 12 th and 13 th centuries with the remains of the north and south gates are still visible. Only the bell tower is left of the original 12 th century church; the rest of the building was built in the 1891 and in 1889 the village was named Prades le Lez.
During the reign of Louis XIV the château de Restinclières was built, a few kilometres north of the village. It now houses ‘la maison départementale de l'environnement’ and hosts regular exhibitions, usually on environmental themes. Within the domain of Restinclières is the popular playground and walk to the source of the river Lez. The Lez is the jealously guarded source for Montpellier, something which no doubt ensures the village’s continued presence within the administrative power of the Montpellier Agglomoration. It is also this river that that often breaks its banks during the autumnal rains and threatens to flood the village. In 2005 a local farmer had to be rescued by helicopter after a tidal wave of water threatened to wash him away. He was saved by holding onto a stubborn vine but his animals were less lucky.
Village life :
Prades le Lez has a strong sense of village life. There are many active associations and the village has an excellent sporting reputation; Stephane Goubert the cyclist lives here, as do members of Montpellier Handball team. The Mairie are very active in promoting cultural and environmental life and, there are regular festivals in the village centre with themes as diverse as ‘Hip Hop’ and ‘Vignes et Vin’. Prades le Lez also has access to broadband.
The village has a creche, ecole maternelle and primaire, each with a good reputation. There is a central kitchen that prepares all the meals for the children overseen by a Tae kwondo champion and association leader. Any complaints are no doubt swiftly seen too!
Prades le Lez sits on the key D17 road north to Quissac and suffers from a high volume of traffic, including a large number of lorries. A bypass around the whole of the north of Montpellier is expected to relieve this problem, but with the disadvantage that Prades will be hemmed in to the north by a large road. Cynics/realists expect this route to form a northern extension of the autoroute in years to come.
Like many villages Prades le Lez has its own cave but the wine is not of outstanding quality, despite the proximity to Pic St Loup. Most of the economic activity rests with the small commerces and industrial zone. There is the very fine restaurant ‘Le Vieux Pressoir’ and at last count 5 hairdressers; Prades le Lez people like to live life well! Many people who live here work in Montpellier and Prades le Lez is particularly well placed for travel to the Agropolis zone. Perhaps it has the highest number of researchers per capita of any village in the area!
A series of articles by residents describing their towns and villages. Why not add yours ?