Towns in Languedoc

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Towns in Languedoc

Postby Zoot » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:41 am

Thought I'd posted this a few days ago but it seems to have evaporated! :drunken:
We have been living in France for 19 years, first in the Vendee and for the past 14 in Charente Maritime. Now considering a move South, to Languedeoc, mainly to be within striking distance of Barcelona where 2/3 of our children live, and to enjoy more clement winters. We are confirmed townies and would really appreciate views on 3 towns that seem to fit the geolocation bill; Perpignan, Narbonne and Beziers. Your observations on the upsides and downsides of these places would really help. We have stayed in each of the towns in the past but would really like to have some 'insider' views. And of course any other town suggestions. Many thanks.
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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby graham34 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:56 pm

This thread may help http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6303&p=25044&hilit=beziers#p25044

My impression is those who post here live in smaller towns and villages with a few from Montpellier.

Having visited all three of your shortlist I found Narbonne the smallest of the three by a long way and arguably the most affluent judging by the fabulous Les Halles.

Beziers has very diverse neighbourhoods and would require quite a bit of research to find an area to your taste, but if your taste is edgy then it meets that criteria.

Perpignan is a bit sprawling for my taste so being central would be ideal.

I know quite a few who have moved from quieter nearby locations to central Pezenas.

Another option is Sete, a port of course and different to your three but obviously further from Barcelona.
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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby Zoot » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:57 pm

Thanks Graham
You've more or less confirmed my own thoughts about those 3 towns. Think Beziers is definitely out; too old to do 'edgy'! I like Sete but it's too far from Barca, same for Montpelier. Yes Pezenas could be one to look at.
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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby Genghis Cohen » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:07 pm

I don't know how often you will want to go to Barcelona. But it might be worth considering that going there from Pezenas will add 200+ kms to your trip compared with Perpignan.

Perpignan is a great place to live. You can live in some of the surrounding villages and yet get into the town centre within minutes. The sea is close by and the mountains an hour away by car. The Cote Vermeille is superb. Proximity to Spain has a positive effect on the local economy. Shopping is definitely cheaper than the Herault.

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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby Zoot » Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:36 am

Thanks Genghis. Perpignan is still a possible location but I don't know it very well. What would be the districts to focus on within walking distance of the centre? Is there much of a live music scene? I'm a guitarist, Jazz/Blues
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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby Sandra » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:06 am

pezenas is "dead" in the winter so if you are real Townie I would look elsewhere ! Beziers is not as bad as people make out.
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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby hesfordj » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:13 am

I'm biased because I chose the Roussillon but Perpignan has a lot of attraction that is missing from other large towns/cities in the region.

It's good size and rarely congested. It has lots of stuff going on, even out of season. The central old town is attractive, has lots of nice shops and cafés and restaurants and it's pretty safe. There are also several busy towns close to Perpignan to offer a change of scene and as mentioned above, it's only 30 minutes to Figueres in Spain.

The town centre has several districts. The old town is great but the run-down Arab quarter is right on its doorstep. The area around the Gare could be interesting as it is undergoing a lot of renovation. The Las Cobas area is quietly residential too. Up around the Palace is a nice district with many interesting properties. Moulin-a-Vent is a sort of new town with lots of amenities but lack of historic charm. Then you have the satellite towns of Cabestany, Toulouges, Canohes, Villeneuve de la Raho which are very popular with commuters. The larger towns of Thuir and Elne may also be of interest. They are pretty lively for their size and certainly not seasonal like Pezenas.

I don't know all the residential districts well enough to give advice but perhaps looking at http://getrealfrance.blogspot.fr/ and http://www.medandmountain.com/ might give more insight. I know the people who run these sites and they would be happy to give advice.

Music-wise, Perpignan has El Mediator and several other regular venues as well as a whole season of Les Jeudis. Several big music events such as Ida y Vuelta and Les Deferlantes. All the nearby coastal resorts have a buzzing music scene in the summer.

The downside of all the Languedoc-Roussillon towns is the Tramontane wind and high unemployment.
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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby peter » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:42 am

Just worth saying that Montpellier is the most active town in the region. Because it has autoroute, TGV and the airport nearby it is very accessible. Barcelona to Montpellier is faster than Barcelona to Pezenas by road and the rail station will make TGV journeys into Montpellier faster, too.
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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby ringlefield » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:35 pm

Peter wrote :- "Barcelona to Montpellier is faster than Barcelona to Pezenas by road"

Sorry to contradict you, Peter, but this is simply not true. A glance at the map will confirm that going north on A9 you will pass J 34 (ten minutes to Pezenas), possibly 30 minues before you could reach Montpellier. We live close to Pezenas, between the A9 and the A75 and have done this journey many times.

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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby peter » Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:38 pm

ringlefield wrote:Peter wrote :- "Barcelona to Montpellier is faster than Barcelona to Pezenas by road"

Sorry to contradict you, Peter, but this is simply not true. A glance at the map will confirm that going north on A9 you will pass J 34 (ten minutes to Pezenas), possibly 30 minues before you could reach Montpellier. We live close to Pezenas, between the A9 and the A75 and have done this journey many times.

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You may be right - It always seems to be slow from the A9 to Pezenas ...
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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby graham34 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:21 pm

peter wrote:
You may be right - It always seems to be slow from the A9 to Pezenas ...


But going south-west from Pezenas there's a road to the A9 called the A75 :)

Zoot - I would have thought putting up with the extra 30 mins drive from Montpellier to Barcelona would be worth it if your want a serious lively city. Only caveat would be the size of property you get for your euros.
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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby Zoot » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:14 am

Thanks again for all that useful info and links. Our daughter went to uni in Montpelier and we got to like the city very much. However a property exploration, about 7 years ago, demonstrated the inflated prices meant we would have had to do a serious downsize!
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Re: Towns in Languedoc

Postby hesfordj » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:51 pm

But there are many places within spitting distance of Montpellier where you get more space and scenery for your money.
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