Newsletters ...........................

Will not be pruned !

Newsletters ...........................

Postby peter » Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:11 pm

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The Languedoc Page newsletter, December 2006

This is a newsletter from The Languedoc Page.
You are receiving this because you have registered with Expat Foyer or requested it through The Languedoc Page.

Wine :
The wine market has been tough worldwide due to over production of low cost wines. Languedoc wine growers have found difficulties in competing with new world wines. Competing wines are labelled by grape variety, Merlot, Cabernet etc. The French AOC, Vin d’Oc, Coteaux du Languedoc labelling is less well understood. There is a proposal to widen the scope of AOC Coteaux de Languedoc, but this has not been universally accepted. The worst hit are volume producers of low cost wines.

Weather :
After a late Spring, the Summer was average for the region. There were no long hot spells this year. June, July and August had temperatures of 30C – 35C with virtually no rain. Winter has been mild so far. There have been some torrential, but short lived, rainstorms recently.

There has been very little flooding so far this year. A development resulting from the 2002 floods is a map of France with clickable areas for each river showing height of the water at different locations : http://www.vigicrues.ecologie.gouv.fr .

Current weather is warm, but rather overcast at times.

Land transport:
Line 2 of the Montpellier tram system opens on 16th December 2006. It will connect Jacou (NE) with St Jean de Vedas (SW) by a route winding through the city centre. The park and ride facility (Euro 4 for parking and return tickets for the car occupants ) is being expanded.

Line 3 has now passed the public enquiry stage and detail engineering studies will commence in January 2007. It will link Juvignac (W) to Perols (S near Carnon) via Montpellier centre. Start date is planned for 2010.
More tram information at : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=839

The Millau bridge has now been opened 12 months and has been a great benefit. There are delays at peak times (school holidays) but of a minor nature compared to the delays experienced crossing Millau. The link to the A9 is not yet completely finished.

The connection of the TGV line from Nimes to the Spanish border commenced in 2006. The route follows the existing rail link through much of Languedoc. There is evidence of some work having started. Work on the Spanish side is much more advanced with considerable activity between the Pyrenees and Barcelona.

The A9 autoroute will have an additional loop South of Montpellier to relieve congestion in peak periods.

Many more fixed radar traps have been installed in the area during 2006. There is a map here : http://www.radarsfixes.com . The A9 near Montpellier has a limit of 110 km/hr as it is a free section. We can confirm that the cameras are operational! There is a camera in an 80 km/hr section as the A75 descends towards Lodeve. Others have told us that this one is very operational.

Air transport :
There will be new routes to Languedoc this year. As news becomes available, we will update this page : http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/tourism/languedoc-tourism-air.htm .

An early announcement is Flybe Southampton – Perpignan.

Currently the BA Montpellier – Gatwick and Ryanair Nimes – East Midlands flights have been suspended for the winter. BA has reduced its service consistently over the last few years and the future of this route may be threatened. The East Midlands flight has suffered by having a return departure time of 05.40 and the absence of a daily service. Nimes airport continues with flights to Luton, Liverpool, Charleroi and hopefully East Midlands during the summer.

During 2006 Ryanair announced a new hub at Marseille, which is quite close to the Eastern half of Languedoc. Current plans are for 12 routes including Glasgow, Dublin, Stansted, Rome, Madrid, Porto, Oslo, Brussels, Eindhoven, Gothenborg, Malmo, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Frankfurt. Plans for three routes to Morocco have been suspended due to a delay in obtaining EU agreements. Marseille also has BA and Easyjet flights to UK.

Also During 2006, Ryanair have expanded flights to Carcassonne.

There are ongoing rumours about developments at Bezier airport. Apparently, a runway extension will be completed by Spring, and discussions are underway with low cost airlines. Ryanair has been mentioned.

Cricket :
The Midi Cricket Club has a new website at : http://www.midicricket.com .

ADSL :
Many cities have a choice of supplier for both phone and ADSL. Some also have cable. Competition is now spreading to smaller towns. Those with this option can select from various offers including free phone calls and other services. To check if your phone is eligible and deals on offer use this link : http://www.degrouptest.com .

FT have continued to expand availability of ADSL to smaller villages. ADSL 2 is now becoming available. Prices are reducing.

Only 12% of visitors to The Languedoc Page are still using dial up.

Property:
2006 has been a relatively quiet year for property sales in Languedoc. Average prices have fallen nationally : Languedoc has been an exception and recorded a modest increase. Desirable houses continue to sell. Languedoc prices remain attractive compared with those in Provence and Cote d'Azur.

Swimming pools :
Private pools should have met the new security laws by 1 January 2006. Many still don’t! Despite scare stories of government inspections, I am not aware of any prosecutions.

Samantha David :
Samantha has been writing articles under the title of The Secret Cevennes for the past two years. Her first novel – I Married a Pirate - will be published in July 2007. Publishers details : http://www.myrmidonbooks.com/authors_samantha_david.html

Google Earth :
France launched a rival website during the year : http://www.geoportail.fr. It is based on aerial photos, some up to 5 years old. At the same time Google Earth increased the resolution of its satellite images for many parts of Languedoc–Rousillon.

Rugby World Cup 2007 :
This will be hosted by France (including Scotland & Wales !) in September and October 2007. Local fixtures will be in Montpellier, Marseille and Toulouse. Information here : now deleted

Xmas Food
Best of British – http://www.bestofbritish.fr now has British Xmas food in the shops and by mail order. They also have started stocking US foods.

Expat Foyer :
This forum was hosted by Aimoo until February 2006. It was then transferred to The Languedoc Page (http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/forum) using phpbb software.

Since then, 300 new members have registered bringing the total up to 1000. The 1000th member was Carrera, who is based in France. The spammers continue to attempt to register both manually and automatically. About 1 registration in 25 is genuine and accepted. If you have registered and heard nothing from us, please email us directly.

Over 2000 new postings have been made and around 2000 topics are being read per day. The old forum continues as an archive and 10,000 archive topics were read in November.

The Languedoc Page :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com
There are now over 1000 pages of information excluding forum pages.

Integrating the forum has resulted in a significant increase in daily visitors. There will be around 345,000 visitors in 2006 (2005 = 220,000), equivalent to over 1m pages read.

New sections have been added, or significantly expanded, including sailing, a visitor map, museums and galleries, wifi hotspots, hotel bookings, villa rentals, rugby world cup, bank accounts, mortgages, leasebacks, surveys, translation, notaires, currency exchange, town websites, and shopping.

The continuing attraction of Languedoc has resulted in ongoing property purchases by foreigners. We will extend property information, and properties for sale, in 2007. The work has already started : so, if you are house hunting it would be worth contacting us.

The Languedoc Page has always been a community driven website. Contributions from users have greatly enhanced the photo section (now approaching 400 images), restaurant reviews, and articles (now over 120 articles). Together with the forum, this visitor participation has driven the rapid expansion of The Languedoc Page.

The Languedoc Page has been in the top two for the keyword “languedoc” on google.com and google.co.uk since November 2005. Google has 25m – 42m references for Languedoc.

The advertising that was started 12 months ago has progressed. The rates are remarkably reasonable given the visitor numbers. More information about advertising and statistics : http://the-languedoc-page.com/languedoc-advertising.htm . There will continue to be no pop-ups, porno or gambling ads !

We hope that you have found The Languedoc Page useful.

If you haven’t visited it for a while, it is worth a look to see how it has developed. And I’m still happy to receive article and photo contributions !

Have a great 2007


Peter
Last edited by peter on Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby ipacker » Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:13 am

Well done Peter. Good reading. Keep up the good work.
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Newsletter 2007

Postby peter » Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:31 pm

The Languedoc Page newsletter, December 2007

This is a newsletter from The Languedoc Page.

You are receiving this because you have registered with The Languedoc Forum or requested it through The Languedoc Page.

Wine :

The wine market has continued to be difficult in Languedoc. The EU has a master plan to reduce wine production and Languedoc would suffer more than other areas from digging up vines. It is still under discussion and opposed by France, Spain and Italy.

Inter Sud, the Languedoc Rousillon wine growers association, has developed a marketing plan to increase the perception of local wines. They envisage doubling the value of wine sold over 10 years, both within France and the key export markets of Germany, Netherlands, UK, Canada, USA and Japan. They intend to develop “Sud de France” or “South of France” as an umbrella brand.

Meanwhile the militant wine growers association, CRAV, took advantage of the Presidential election by issuing a video threatening violence if their demands were not met. There have been some terrorist attacks on supermarkets, large wineries and wine importers.

The 2007 harvest will be less than usual due to bad weather in other wine growing areas. However there was little impact on Languedoc wine production.

Weather :

After a late Spring, the Summer was average for the region. There were no long hot spells this year. There was a week, or so, of temperatures over 35C in August.

The summer was dry, and the autumn did not provide the usual quantity of much needed rain. There has been no flooding so far this year. Current river levels are available here : www.vigicrues.ecologie.gouv.fr and risks by commune are now available here : www.prim.net/home.htm . Select Department, Then risk, then commune, then zoom in.

Most of Languedoc (and Cote d’Azur, Provence, etc.) had snow on 15 December. It melted within 24 hrs except at higher levels in the hills. Currently, we have clear skies, chilly nights and up to 15C during the day.

Land transport:

Lines 1 & 2 of the Montpellier tram system are now fully operational.

Tram line 1 is intended to be extended with a new stop called Cité Ludique near IKEA (and future Geant Hypermarket). However there is also a suggestion to extend a little further to create a station & parking on the A9 autoroute. Some work has been done in preparation for this.

Tram line 2 is intended to be extended East from St Jean de Vedas to Fabrègues, Cournonterral et Cournonsec as well as Northwest to Castries. I haven't seen any dates for these developments.

Tram line 3 was originally planned to go from Juvignac to Perols. It will now be launched in 2012 as Collines d'Estanove to Lattes. There is a longer term plan to extend the line from Lattes/Perols to run along the coast (but excluding Palavas) as far as Grande Motte. The colour scheme will use a coral reef theme.

Tram line 4 initial studies were authorised for commencement in september 2007. One option that has been put forward is to extend to the East from the end of the projected line 3. No proposal has yet been made.
The topic is regularly updated here : www.the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=839

The final links from the A75-A9 near Beziers are still not completed. The Montpellier CCI has published these dates :

2008 (start) Pezenas - Valros section work starts
2008 (summer) Valros bypass opens
2008 (end) Valros to Beziers section opens
2009 (end) Pezenas - Valros section opens

The connection of the TGV line from Nimes to Barcelona commenced in 2006.

Current predictions are :

2008 Nimes - Montpellier TGV line bypass surveying starts
2008 Public enquiry on Montpellier - Perpignan TGV line route
2009 Nimes - Montpellier TGV line bypass work starts
2009 Perpignan - Figueres TGV line in service
2011 Figueres - Girona - Barcelona TGV line in service*
2013 Nimes - Montpellier TGV line rail bypass opens
2020 Montpellier - Perpignan dedicated TGV line in service
* It now seems that technical problems associated with the route into Barcelona will delay the Girona – Barcelona line until at least 2012.

The plan for an additional loop of the A9 South of Montpellier has been deferred.

More fixed radar traps have been installed in the area during 2007. There is a map here : www.radarsfixes.com .

Air transport :

Once again, there will be new routes to Languedoc this year. As news becomes available, we will note it here : www.the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1758 and eventually update this page: www.the-languedoc-page.com/tourism/lang ... sm-air.htm .

Some early news :

Ryanair :

Beziers-Bristol
Girona-Birmingham
Marseille-Birmingham
Marseille-Edinburgh
Girona-Manchester
Marseille-Manchester
Girona-Newquay
Rodez - Dublin

Eurociel :

Eurociel (a new operator for 2008 flying from Nimes) :

April - October

Nimes-Amsterdam
Nimes-Beirut
Nimes-Lisbon
Nimes-Marakesh
Nimes-Nice-Athens
Nimes-Palma
Nimes-Rabat
Nimes-Seville
Nimes-Tunis

June-September

Nimes-Ajaccio
Nimes-Amsterdam
Nimes-Bastia
Nimes-Beirut
Nimes-Fez
Nimes-Ibiza
Nimes-Lisbon
Nimes-Marakesh
Nimes-Nice-Athens
Nimes-Palma
Nimes-Rabat
Nimes-Seville
Nimes-Tunis

www.eurociel.net/telechargements/1014%2 ... s%20BD.pdf


Jet 2 :

Avignon-Edinburgh
Avignon- Leeds/Bradford

www.jet2.com/Timetable.aspx

GB Airways (BA franchisee Gatwick-Montpellier) have been taken over by Easyjet. They will run this route for summer 2008.

A new airline based in Cardiff ( www.flyforbeans.com ) is shortly expected to announce 12 European routes.

ADSL :

Many cities have a choice of supplier for both phone and ADSL. Some also have cable. Extending the service to villages has been rapid, and currently around 3% of visitors to The Languedoc Page still use dial up. To check the speed available from your phone and review the various deals on offer use this link : www.degrouptest.com .
ADSL 2 (faster than ADSL) is now becoming available. Prices are reducing. In general ADSL is cheaper than dial up and, increasingly, some free phone calls are included in the deal.

Property:

2007 has continued to be a relatively quiet year for property sales in Languedoc. Desirable houses continue to sell. Languedoc prices remain attractive compared with those in Provence and Cote d'Azur. President Sarkozy's proposals have resulted in boosting the Parisian 2nd home market.

Swimming pools :

Private pools should have met the new security laws by 1 January 2006. Many still don’t! Despite scare stories of government inspections, I am not aware of any prosecutions.

Health cover :

The French government did an about turn regarding health cover for EU “early retirees”. Previously they paid a proportion of their income into the government health system; the proposal was that they needed to buy private health cover until retirement age. This was retrospective. The developments can be followed here : www.the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1957 .

The government reviewed the situation and changed it’s position. The effect of the changes was that new arrivals must take private health cover until they have either been in France for 5 years, or reach retirement age – existing contributors to the government system can remain in the system.

Blogs :

The number of South France residents blogging in English has steadily increased. We maintain links to the more disciplined (and interesting) bloggers here : www.the-languedoc-page.com/articles/lan ... les01d.htm

Elections :

During 2007 Nicholas Sarkozy became the new centre right president of France. He started dynamically and made several proposals that could be beneficial to expat residents (or future expat residents). They are summarised here : www.the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1919

The local elections will be held in 2008. EU national who are resident are entitled to vote provided they register before 31/12/2007.

The Languedoc Forum (Expat Foyer) :

This forum was hosted by Aimoo until February 2006. It was then transferred to The Languedoc Page (www.the-languedoc-page.com/forum) using phpbb software. Since then, 684 new members have registered bringing the total up to 1384. The spammers continue to attempt to register both manually and automatically. About 1 registration in 25 is genuine and accepted. If you have registered and heard nothing from us, please email us directly. Around 5000 topics are being read per day. Only a small minority of readers contribute by posting.

Aimoo seems to have had some problems, and the old forum vanished for a while because I stopped paying the subscription this year. Currently, it continues as an archive here : http://forum1.aimoo.com/expatfoyer .

The Languedoc Page :

www.the-languedoc-page.com

There are now over 1500 pages of information excluding forum pages. There will be around 430,000 visitors in 2007 (2006 = 352,129), equivalent to about 1.5m pages read. The growth rate has slowed down at the end of 2007, mainly because visitors were lost due to deletion of Aimoo, and pruning of the current forum reduced the content available through the search engines.

As mentioned in the last newsletter, we have expanded the property section www.the-languedoc-page.com/property/ . Currently, we have around 2000 properties for sale listed through IFP, private sales and local agents. This is excluding the free property classifieds in the forum. We are looking at ways to expand the presence of private sellers and local agents. We have developed contacts with some local agents, and can help with advice if you are looking to buy property in Languedoc.

We used Villa renters to provide a searchable choice of villas to rent in the South of France area in 2007. This continues here : www.the-languedoc-page.com/tourism/lang ... villas.htm

The Languedoc Page ( http://the-languedoc-page.com) is a community driven website. Contributions from users have greatly enhanced the photo section (now 440 images), restaurant reviews, and articles (now over 170 articles). Together with the forum, this visitor participation has driven the expansion of The Languedoc Page.

The Languedoc Page has been in the top three for the keyword “languedoc” on google.com and google.co.uk since November 2005. Google has 25m – 42m references for Languedoc.

The advertising that was started early 2006 has progressed. The rates are remarkably reasonable given the visitor numbers. More information about advertising and statistics : www.the-languedoc-page.com/languedoc-advertising.htm . There will continue to be no pop-ups, porno or gambling ads !

We hope that you have found The Languedoc Page useful. If you haven’t visited it for a while, it is worth a look to see how it has developed. And I’m still happy to receive article, photo and restaurant review contributions !

Have a great 2008

Peter
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Postby peter » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:03 pm

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The Languedoc Page newsletter, December 2008

This is a newsletter from The Languedoc Page. You are receiving this because you have registered with The Languedoc Forum or requested it through The Languedoc Page.

Wine :
The weather in 2008 will result in a lower yield of higher quality grapes available for winemaking this year.
EU wine reform aims to grub up around 175,000 vines across the EU zone in order to cut the risk of oversupply. France's national wine body has said that it has received applications to grub up more than 20,000 hectares of vines in the next year. Nearly two thirds of the vine areas put forward are in Languedoc Roussillon. CRAV (Regional Committee for Viticultural Action) has continued to make violent protests against this.
An entirely subjective analysis is that there are many more good quality Languedoc wines coming on the market and a much more adventurous marketing approach is being adopted for exports - (www.arrogantfrog.fr).

Weather :
After another late Spring, the Summer was average for the region. There were a couple of hot spells this year, but it was nowhere near the 2003 “canicule” summer. There was some heavy rainfall in October, but no flooding. The period immediately before Xmas enjoyed blue skies with chilly nights and warm days. From December 25th onwards we have had an overcast period with much rain resulting in limited flooding. The current situation is updated here : www.the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3115 . Current river levels are available here : www.vigicrues.ecologie.gouv.fr and risks by commune are now available here : www.prim.net/home.htm . Select Department, Then risk, then commune, then zoom in.
There has been snow in the Cevennes and Massif Central resulting in occasional closure of the A75 autoroute. The latest traffic news for A75 is here : www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr/diri/ ... e=en&evt=1 .

Montpellier Tram :
Work has started on extending the Montpellier Tram line 1 towards a future new stop to be called Cité Ludique near IKEA (and future Geant Hypermarket). There have also been suggestions to extend line 1 a little further to create a station & parking on the A9 autoroute. Tram line 2 is intended to be extended East from St Jean de Vedas to Fabrègues, Cournonterral et Cournonsec as well as Northwest to Castries. I haven't seen any dates for these developments. Tram line 3 was originally planned to go from Juvignac to Perols. It will now be launched in 2012 as Collines d'Estanove to Lattes. There is a longer term plan to extend the line from Lattes/Perols to run along the coast (but excluding Palavas) as far as Grande Motte. The colour scheme will use a coral reef theme. Tram line 4 was initially proposed to adopt the route « la gare Saint-Roch et desservirait les quartiers de Figuerolles, La Chamberte, Montpellier Village, avant d'atteindre le stade Yves du Manoir ». It is still under discussion, resulting in various proposals that can be seen on the maps here : www.pagesperso-orange.fr/edouard.paris/trace_l4.htm . Discussions on the route of tram line 5 (map : www.pagesperso-orange.fr/edouard.paris/ligne5.htm ) are still in the early stages. Georges Frêche has indicated that he would like to see a Line 6 following this route from Castries to Odysseum : www.pagesperso-orange.fr/edouard.paris/ligne6.htm . Both Line 5 & 6 are “future wishes” with no finalised programme agreed.

Rail :
President Sarkozy has announced an expanded and accelerated programme ( more : www.lexpress.fr/actualite/politique/l-e ... 05427.html ) of rail TGV projects. In Languedoc Roussillon this has resulted in some delays and the revised schedule is :
2008 Public enquiry on Montpellier - Perpignan TGV line route
2013 (was 2009) Nimes - Montpellier TGV line bypass work starts
2009 Perpignan - Figueres TGV line in service
2015 (was 2011) Figueres - Girona - Barcelona TGV line in service*
2013 Nimes - Montpellier TGV line rail bypass opens
2020 Montpellier - Perpignan dedicated TGV line in service
2020 Paris – Toulouse
2030 Toulouse - Narbonne
* More : www.la-clau.net/info/douche-froide-le-t ... -2015-1396

SNCF have announced that they are considering the closure of the Nimes - Clermont Ferrand rail line for passenger traffic. Politicians from the regions involved have met to prepare their defence of this action.



Montpellier road upgrades :
There have been various proposals regarding the A9 around Montpellierincluding a northern loop (creating a ring road) and duplicating the current southern route. Various other proposals (including rail & canal improvements ) are being considered as alternatives.
In the meantime, improvements to the Northern Castries - A75 route continue. The forecast route map is here : http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/route ... x-LIEN.jpg and the forecast completion dates are :
2008 : Ouverture annoncée (le 2 décembre) du LIEN entre Assas et Les Matelles 2012 : Début annoncé des travaux entre Saint-Gély-du-Fesc et Bel-Air
2015 : Ouverture annoncée du LIEN entre Saint-Gély-du-Fesc et Bel-Air
2015 : Ouverture annoncée de la LICOM entre Saint-Georges-d'Orques et Fabrègues

Autoroutes :
The final links from the A75-A9 near Beziers are still not completed. The Montpellier CCI has published these dates :
2008 (end) Valros to Beziers section opens
2009 (end) Pezenas - Valros section opens

Canal :
The Canal du Rhône à Sète (which is part of the Canal du Midi Bordeaux to Rhone route) has been carrying much increased freight traffic in recent years. As part of a plan to reduce road freight traffic, there is now a plan to improve the capacity of the canal. Essentially the improvements will allow bigger boats and faster transit time through locks by 2013.

Road :
More fixed radar traps have been installed in the area during 2008. There is a map here : www.radarsfixes.com .


Air transport :
The economic situation is hitting airlines hard, and particularly low cost operations. Both Ryanair and Easyjet have adequate funds to continue with the lowest costs with the hope that competitors will not survive. Nevertheless Ryanair has mothballed some aircraft over winter. They have also abandoned less supported routes and destinations.

News of summer 2009 timetables continues to be released, and confirmed routes will be updated at www.the-languedoc-page.com/tourism/lang ... sm-air.htm when available.

News is noted at www.the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2906 as it becomes available. Current information and changes :
• Ryanair has announced that it will fly Marseille to Cagliari (Italy) in 2009
• Sterling Airlines filed for bankruptcy in October 2008
• BMI has been taken over by Lufthansa; it is rumoured that BMIbaby is for sale and FlyBe may be interested
• Cancelled route : Air France Bordeaux – Montpellier
• Cancelled route : Air France Clermont-Ferrand – Montpellier
• Cancelled route : Lufthansa Dusseldorf – Marseille
• Cancelled route : Ryanair London Stansted – Toulon
• Cancelled route : Wizz Air Sofia – Barcelona
• Cancelled route : Ryanair all routes to Blackpool inc Girona
• Cancelled route : Ryanair all routes to Newquay inc Girona
• Cancelled route : Ryanair Nimes – East Midlands Airport
• Ryanair are expanding flights from Gatwick including Girona - Gatwick from December 2008
• Beziers will have year round flights to Bristol and Luton with Stansted available off peak
• There are rumours that Beziers may also have flights to Dublin and a N European location starting in 2009


GB Airways (BA franchisee Gatwick-Montpellier) were taken over by Easyjet and ran a limited service through the winter.

Ferries :
Speedferries went into liquidation in November 2008. Current low cost cross channel favourite seems to be Norfolk Lines Dover-Dunkirk service.




Property:
2008 has been a relatively quiet year for property sales in Languedoc. Desirable houses continue to sell. Languedoc prices remain attractive compared with those in Provence and Cote d'Azur.

Swimming pools :
Five of the six alarms previously approved for private pools had their approval withdrawn. Subsequently 4 of the 5 approved alarms which had their approval withdrawn were approved again. The alarm that was approved, then not approved, and remains not approved is the "Alpool-JB 2005 commercialisé par JR International et Alpote". No, I can’t understand it either !

Health cover :
The situation now is that new arrivals must take private health cover until they have either been in France for 5 years, or reach retirement age.

Blogs :
The number of South France residents blogging in English has steadily increased. We maintain links to the more disciplined (and interesting) bloggers here : www.the-languedoc-page.com/articles/lan ... les01d.htm

Elections :
The EU elections will be held in June 2009. EU nationals who are resident are entitled to vote provided they register before 31/12/2008.

Airport parking :
Montpellier Airport has a car park pass at 18 euros for a period of between 7 to 15 days inclusive : www.montpellier.aeroport.fr/layer_en.asp?nav=6_1_5

Marseille airport has www.chequeparking.com/accueil.do , which is much cheaper and less than 5 minutes walk from the terminal.

Beziers has free parking, but there have been reports of vandalism

Novotel Girona provides a free shuttle service and free parking included in the cost of one nights stay.


For Brits doing business with Languedoc :
The region has opened a central London premises to promote commercial interests between UK and the south of France.
La Maison de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon, 6 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PD, Tel. 020 7079 33 44
www.maisondelaregionlanguedocroussillon.com

Beziers airport :
Beziers airport has had a succesful start with above average passenger numbers. There is a shuttle bus waiting at the airport to take passengers to Beziers bus station (Fare €3). The free shuttle runs from there to the train station.

Intermarche home delivery :
www.expressmarche.com is starting to experiment with home deliveries via internet. Cost is €5 for delivery (first one free) and €4 to put the order together. Or save €5 and just collect it yourself. The website allows you to enter your postcode to check if it is available in your area.

FOR SALE 35 feet sailboat with mooring :
FEELING 346, Port Camargue mooring in Dept 30, 10m40 X 3m46 X 1m40
More : www.feeling346.com

Tour de France 2009 :
The outline Languedoc route is –
July 6, stage 3: Marseille - La Grande Motte
July 7, stage 4: Montpellier - Montpellier, TTT 38km
July 8, stage 5: Cap d’Agde - Perpignan
The exact route will be announced in early 2009.

Local history :
Herault Department have put a huge number of scanned historical archives on the web here : http://archives.herault.fr

M&S mail order to France :
M&S will now deliver some of their mail order range to France. Marks & Spencer products will be sold in pounds Sterling on a Delivery Duty unpaid basis. The recipient may have to pay import duty or a formal customs entry fee prior to or on delivery. Clothing and selected homeware and beauty products will be available with delivery approximately 6 -9 days at a cost of £10.00. Website : www.marksandspencer.com

English breakfast in Montpellier :
Vert Anglais (3 place Castellane, Montpellier, 34000 – 0467660303) will be serving an English breakfast/Brunch on Saturdays. Homemade sausages, bacon, eggs, baked beans, fries, fried tomatoes.




The Languedoc Forum :
www.the-languedoc-page.com/forum
The spammers continue to attempt to register both manually and automatically. About 1 registration in 25 is genuine and accepted. If you have registered and heard nothing from us, please email us directly. Around 6000 topics are being read per day. 1,972,807 topics were read in the 12 months to 31 December 2008. There is a very active free classifieds section. Only a small minority of readers contribute by posting.

The Languedoc Page :
www.the-languedoc-page.com
Google reports over 4000 pages of information including the forum.
The exponential growth of traffic to The Languedoc Page has slowed reflecting the current economic situation. For the first time, rolling 12 months unique visitor totals reduced. 335,000 unique visitors viewed around 1,500,000 pages in the 12 months to December 2008.
The Languedoc Page remains a community driven website. Contributions from users have greatly enhanced the photo section (now 450+ images), restaurant reviews, and articles (now over 200 articles). Together with the forum, this visitor participation has driven the expansion of The Languedoc Page. The Languedoc Page has been in the top three for the keyword “languedoc” on google.com and google.co.uk since November 2005. Google has 25m – 42m references for Languedoc.
The advertising that was started early 2006 has progressed. The rates are remarkably reasonable given the visitor numbers – small banner ads cost from Euro 1 per 1000 views. More information about advertising and statistics : www.the-languedoc-page.com/languedoc-advertising.htm . There will continue to be no pop-ups, porno or gambling ads !


We hope that you have found The Languedoc Page useful. If you haven’t visited it for a while, it is worth a look to see how it has developed. And I’m still happy to receive article, photo and restaurant review contributions !


Have a great 2009

Peter

© The Languedoc Page, January 2009
If you wish to use any of this content, please contact us at contact@the-languedoc-page.com
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Postby peter » Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:11 pm

The Languedoc Page newsletter, December 2009

This is a newsletter from The Languedoc Page. You are receiving it because you have registered with The Languedoc Forum or requested it through The Languedoc Page.

Wine :
Most vignerons are quietly confident that the 2009 harvest will produce an exceptionally good wine. Reasonable rain in spring, cool nights and hot days in June and July followed by a very hot August brought forward harvesting by 7 – 10 days in most areas. Volumes will be around 8% down on 2008 (itself below average) at just under 12m hectolitres with whites reduced by around 25%.
The effects of the EU wine reforms aiming to grub up around 175,000 vines across the EU zone (and 12,000 hectares in Languedoc) are becoming visible in the area. Small and difficult areas of vines are being cleared of vines, but there are also areas being replanted with better quality vines. CRAV (Regional Committee for Viticultural Action) has continued to make violent protests against this.
There is evidence that marketing effort continues to focus on the export of higher value and better quality wines. The umbrella brand name of Sud de France is increasingly being used.

Weather :
After another late Spring, the Summer was very dry and hotter than the last few years without being as hot as 2003. A few spells around 38C and a late autumn prolonged use of many unheated pools into November.

There were a few days of storms producing heavy rainfall in September / October, but no serious flooding. The period immediately before Xmas was changeable having clear skies and nights down to -6C, followed by a warm cloudy spell with some rain, followed by clear blue skies for December 25th.

Current river levels are available here : http://www.vigicrues.ecologie.gouv.fr
and risks by commune are now available at : http://www.prim.net/home.htm . Select Department, then risk, then commune, then zoom in.
Languedoc has largely escaped the low December temperatures and snow that created problems in north Europe. Road Traffic news is here : http://www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr .


Montpellier Tram :
Tram line 1 has been extended to near IKEA under the new Geant Hypermarket and shopping centre opened in September. The terminus is called Odysseum, and the old Odysseum station is renamed Place du France. Tram map : http://www.montpellier-agglo.com/tam/up ... 009_BD.pdf There have also been suggestions to extend line 1 a little further from Odysseum to create a station & parking on the A9 autoroute and from Mosson West to an interchange with the future Line 3.

Tram line 2 is intended to be extended East from St Jean de Vedas to Fabrègues, Cournonterral et Cournonsec as well as Northwest to Castries. I haven't seen any dates for these developments.

Tram line 3 will be launched in summer 2012 as Juvignac to Perols and work has started. There is a longer term plan to extend the line from Lattes/Perols to run along the coast (but excluding Palavas) as far as Grande Motte. The colour scheme will use a coral reef theme.

Tram line 4 proposals were published in June 2009. The intention is to run from Yves du Manoir rugby stadium in the south west via Promenade du Peyrou, then continue towards Clapiers .
Georges Frêche has indicated that he would like to see a Line 6 following a route from Castries to Odysseum.

Both Lines 5 & 6 are “future wishes” with no finalised programme agreed.



Rail :
The revised schedule is now :

2008 Public enquiry on Montpellier - Perpignan TGV line route
2010 (was 2009) Nimes - Montpellier TGV line bypass work starts
2011 Perpignan - Figueres TGV line in service
2015 (was 2011) Figueres - Girona - Barcelona TGV line in service
2014/5 Nimes - Montpellier TGV line rail bypass opens
2020 Montpellier - Perpignan dedicated TGV line in service
2020 Paris – Toulouse
2030 Toulouse - Narbonne

Services from Perpignan to Barcelona via a temporary station on the high speed line at Figueres and then the existing line are planned from summer 2010. This will give a one and half hour journey which is two hours quicker than currently via Portbou and Cerbère.

SNCF have announced that they are considering the closure of the Nimes - Clermont Ferrand rail line for passenger traffic. It was still running as of autumn 2009. More : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/vi ... .php?t=923


Montpellier road upgrades :
There have been various proposals regarding the A9 around Montpellier including a northern loop (creating a ring road) and duplicating the current southern route. Various other proposals (including rail & canal improvements ) are being considered as alternatives.

During 2009 some of the Montpellier A9 junctions were improved to reduce the congestion in busy periods.

Improvements to the Northern Castries - A75 route continue. The forecast route map is here : http://www.herault.fr/territoire/pdf/lien.pdf and the forecast completion date to the A750 is 2012 – 2015. More details (in French) : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liaison_intercantonale_d'évitement_nord .

Note that ongoing decentralisation has made many RN (Routes Nationales) the responsibility of individual departments. Not only has much of the road numbering changed, but many of the now departmental roads have new speed ramps and changed traffic rules in places.


Autoroutes :
The final links from the A75-A9 near Beziers are still under construction.
Valras is now bypassed.
Additional sections will be opened in Spring 2010
The link will finally be opened in Spring 2011

The A750 link will eventually join the A9 near St Jean de Vedas. Current scheduling is for completion end 2011.
There is a plan to widen the A9 between Perpignan et le Perthus before 2015.

Canal :
The Canal du Rhône à Sète (which is part of the Canal du Midi Bordeaux to Rhone route) has been carrying much increased freight traffic in recent years. As part of an effort to reduce road freight traffic, there is a plan to improve the capacity of the canal. Essentially the improvements will allow bigger boats and faster transit time through locks by 2013.

Road :
More fixed radar traps have been installed in the area during 2009. There is a map here : http://www.radarsfixes.com .

Air transport :
The poor economy has resulted in mothballed aircraft with some abandoned routes and destinations, particularly over the winter.

News of summer 2010 timetables continues to be released, and confirmed routes will be updated at http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/touri ... sm-air.htm when available.

• News is noted at http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/vi ... php?t=3903 as it becomes available
• Easyjet will fly Marseille - Bristol, Marseille - Gatwick, Montpellier – Gatwick, Montpellier - Luton as well as other routes to Barcelona and Toulouse. http://www.easyjet.com
• Ryanair are establishing a new hub in Leeds/Bradford with flights to Carcassonne and Montpellier
• Ryanair have announced that Glasgow Prestwick to Carcassonne will start in March
• Flybe have announced their 2010 flights to Avignon and Perpignan : http://www.flybe.com
• Ryanair have announced a new route Beziers to Stockholm Skavsta (S Stockholm near Nykoping).
• After some speculation, BMIbaby - http://www.bmibaby.com – will operate Manchester to Perpignan in 2010


Ferries :
Current low cost cross channel favourite seems to be Norfolk Lines Dover-Dunkirk service. Forum users - http://the-languedoc-page.com/forum
- prefer the P&O breakfast, though ! In fact, P&O are quite competitively priced sometimes as well.

Property:
2009 has been a relatively quiet year for property sales in Languedoc. Desirable, realistically priced houses continue to sell.

Four houses in a small village near me were offered for sale during 2009. Three sold – 2 at slightly reduced prices and one offered as “needs work & priced to sell” sold in 2 weeks. The last house - http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/vi ... php?t=4299 – was offered for sale in December 2009 and has had several viewings.
Languedoc prices remain attractive compared with those in Provence and Cote d'Azur.

I have received several property related enquiries through the website including those for Euro mortgages and currency exchange quotes.

Health cover :
The situation now is that new arrivals must take private health cover until they have either been in France for 5 years, or reach retirement age. Swiss Life - http://www.swisslife.fr/assurance/assurances - seem to be quite a popular choice at reasonable cost.

Blogs :
The number of South France residents blogging in English has steadily increased. We maintain links to the more disciplined (and interesting) bloggers here : http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/artic ... les01d.htm

Airport parking :
Montpellier Airport has a car park pass at 18 euros for a period of between 7 to 15 days inclusive : http://www.montpellier.aeroport.fr/laye ... ?nav=6_1_5

Marseille airport has http://www.chequeparking.com/accueil.do , which is much cheaper and less than 5 minutes walk from the terminal.

Beziers has introduced parking charges, so the very dusty cars won’t be abandoned there for long periods in future !



For Brits doing business with Languedoc :
The region has opened a central London premises to promote commercial interests between UK and the south of France.
La Maison de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon, 6 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PD, Tel. 020 7079 33 44
http://www.maisondelaregionlanguedocroussillon.com

Beziers airport :
Beziers airport has had a succesful start with above average passenger numbers. There is a shuttle bus waiting at the airport to take passengers to Beziers bus station (Fare €3). The free shuttle runs from there to the train station.

Intermarche home delivery :
http://www.expressmarche.com offers home deliveries via internet from some stores. Cost is €5 for delivery (first one free) and €4 to put the order together. Or save €5 and just collect it yourself. The website allows you to enter your postcode to check if it is available in your area.

Mail order :
Marks and Spencer have launched a mail order to France service - http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?s=92029& ... 06&r=94461

Littlewoods now have a similar service - http://clotheseu.at/tlp?CTY=1&CID=15243

Car hire excess insurance :
The standard car hire agreement leavers the hirer with an excess lkiability of around €1000 depending on car. Hire companies offer a daily rate insurance at a price of around €15 per day. It is worth noting that these people - Insurance4carhire - offer annual European cover for £49 . If you need more than a few days cover it is a better deal than the Hire Car Co rates. Used an recommended by several forum users, so must be good !

Tour de France 2010 :
Other than a stage finish in Mende, Lozere the tour will not visit Languedoc this year. Latest route information is collated here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/vi ... php?t=3920

Local history :
Herault Department have put a huge number of scanned historical archives on the web here : http://archives.herault.fr



French Newspapers in English :
The English language newspaper French News finally folded in 2008 after 21 years. Despite appeals for funds and several proposed solutions it has remained closed.
A new English language French newspaper has been launched - http://www.thefrenchpaper.com – and joins The Connexion - http://www.connexionfrance.com – in providing “French news in English”.

Google Street View :
This is where a car with a 360° camera on the roof takes videos of streets (hence the name !). They started with cities in US and UK - then extended coverage. In 2008 they covered the Tour de France route and recently have been very active in Languedoc. Faces, car registration numbers, even whole bodies in Cap d’Agde, are blurred to protect privacy. The procedure isn’t foolproof and individuals can ask for images to be blurred. More information and links - http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/vi ... php?t=4307

The Languedoc Forum :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/forum
The spammers continue to attempt to register both manually and automatically. About 1 registration in 20 is genuine and accepted. If you have registered and heard nothing from us, please email us directly. Around 8000 topics are being read per day (these stats are excluded from The Languedoc Page stats below) and over 2.3m topics will be read in the 12 months to 31 December 2009. There is a very active free classifieds section. Only a small minority of readers contribute by posting.




The Languedoc Page :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com
Google reports over 7800 pages of information including the forum.
Growth of traffic to The Languedoc Page slowed in 2008 reflecting the economic situation. The rolling 12 months visitor numbers have increased for each of the last 5 months indicating that the slowdown maybe over.
315,000 unique visitors viewed around 1.5m+ website pages in the 12 months to December 2009 (about 5000 pages viewed per day). The Languedoc Page remains a community driven website. Contributions from users have greatly enhanced the photo section (now 450+ images), restaurant reviews, and articles (now over 200 articles). Together with the forum, this visitor participation has driven the expansion of The Languedoc Page. The Languedoc Page has been in the top three for the keyword “languedoc” on google.com and google.co.uk since November 2005. Google has 20+m references for Languedoc.
The advertising that was started early 2006 has progressed. The rates are remarkably reasonable given the visitor numbers – small banner ads cost from Euro 1 per 1000 views. More information about advertising and statistics :www.the-languedoc-page.com/languedoc-advertising.htm . There will continue to be no pop-ups, porno or gambling ads ! Please support our advertisers – they pay for the site.

We hope that you have found The Languedoc Page useful. If you haven’t visited it for a while, it is worth a look to see how it has developed. And I’m still happy to receive article, photo and restaurant review contributions !


Finally – some light relief from our own local eccentric :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4ZO2FD4pNA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiVPQp1Q_Zs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q26aEDvJPb4
More : http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=nqtv#g/u



Have a great 2010

Peter

© The Languedoc Page, December 2009
If you wish to use any of this content, please contact us at contact@the-languedoc-page.com
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User avatar
peter
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Location: Languedoc, France

Postby peter » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:18 pm

The Languedoc Page newsletter, Winter 2010 / 2011


This is a newsletter from The Languedoc Page. You are receiving this because you have requested it through The Languedoc Page.

Wine :
Local vignerons are agreed that the 2010 yield will be low, but of excellent quality. Some are even talking about it producing possibly the best wine in a generation. Reasonable spring rain, followed by high average temperatures in a dry summer (without the searing 40+C of some years), with a warm August resulted in an early harvest for most regions. Marketing effort continues to focus on the export of higher value and better quality wines. The umbrella brand name of Sud de France is increasingly being used. It encompasses a range of regional products : http://www.sud-de-france.com.

Weather :
After another late Spring, the Summer was dry and consistently warm without being oppressive. Autumn winds caused many to close their pools early, but a late warm spell rewarded the positive (lazy) residents who had kept their pools open.

August and September were very dry with some high winds that fanned forest fires, particularly in Herault where the biggest, around Montaud and Saint-Bauzille-de-Montmel north of Montpellier, destroyed more than 2,600 hectares of woodland and a dozen homes. News clip about the fires : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnffI0W4lBw

Shortly afterwards there were a few days of storms producing heavy rainfall, but no serious flooding. Sommieres had its worst “vidourlade” since 2002 with Place du Marche properties having up to 20cm of water on the ground floor.

The period immediately before Xmas was extremely cold in North Europe and most of France; Languedoc had some cold days, but largely escaped the snow. In late December Languedoc had some grey and rainy days mixed with clear cold weather.

Current river levels are available here : http://www.vigicrues.ecologie.gouv.fr
Road Traffic news is here : http://www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr .


Montpellier Tram :
Much work is in progress for the construction of Tramline 3 (expected opening summer 2012). Some roads are closed resulting in even worse traffic in central Montpellier.

Tram line 3 will be launched with a Juvignac to Perols service. There is a longer term (but unconfirmed) plan to extend the line from Lattes/Perols to run along the coast (but excluding Palavas) as far as Grande Motte. The colour scheme will use a coral reef theme.

Tram line 2 is earmarked for extension St Jean de Vedas to Fabrègues, Cournonterral et Cournonsec in the East as well as Northwest to Castries. I haven't seen any dates for these developments.

A map of Tram lines 1,2 and 3 is here : [url]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Montpellier_-_Straßenbahn_-_Netzplan.png[/url]

Tram line 4 proposals were published in June 2009. The intention is to run from Yves du Manoir rugby stadium in the south west via Promenade du Peyrou, then continue towards Clapiers. Georges Frêche had indicated that he would like to see a Line 6 following a route from Castries to Odysseum.

Georges Freches (July 9, 1938 – October 24, 2010)
Georges Freches, always controversial, had been at the forefront of Languedoc politics for almost 40 years. He was a member of Montpellier council from 1971 to his death (and Maire 1977 to 2004). He was head of the region from 2004 until his death. Much of the dynamic change in the area was driven by Freches. The impact of his death on local, and national, politics is still uncertain.


Rail :
With the opening of the Perpignan – Figueres TGV link, Paris to Barcelona now takes 7hr 30m. Ultimately, a fast Paris to Barcelona rail service will be launched taking just 4hr 30m. Likely start date is over 30 years ahead.

The revised schedule is now :

2008 Public enquiry on Montpellier - Perpignan TGV line route
2010 (was 2009) Nimes - Montpellier TGV line bypass work starts
2010 Perpignan - Figueres TGV line in service
2013 (was 2011) Figueres - Girona TGV line in service
2015 Girona – Barcelona TGV line opened
2014/5 Nimes - Montpellier TGV line rail bypass opens
2040 (was 2020) Montpellier - Perpignan dedicated TGV line in service
2020 Paris – Toulouse
2030 Toulouse - Narbonne

Services from Perpignan to Barcelona via a temporary station on the high speed line at Figueres* and then the existing line started end December 2010.

To link up the different guauges, there will be 3 stations in Figueres over the next few years. The new line passes to the west of the town, and a new station is being built at Vilafant. It is planned to divert the existing line, so that local trains can call at this station, and close the existing railway station in the centre of the town, although at first a temporary station will be built on the high speed line. There will be a shuttle service between the temporary LGV station and the town station.

SNCF announced that they were considering the closure of the Nimes - Clermont Ferrand rail line for passenger traffic. Following review, it will remain open. Essential maintenance and further development will take place to improve tourist traffic numbers.
More : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Cevenol


Montpellier road upgrades :
There have been various proposals regarding the A9 around Montpellier including a northern loop (creating a ring road) and duplicating the current southern route. Various other proposals (including rail & canal improvements ) are being considered as alternatives.

Improvements to the Northern Castries - A75 route continue. The forecast route map is here : http://www.herault.fr/files/avigne/lien.pdf . The Assas to St Gely section was opened during 2010. The forecast completion date to the A750 is 2015. More details (in French) : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liaison_intercantonale_d'évitement_nord .

Note that ongoing decentralisation has made many RN (Routes Nationales) the responsibility of individual departments. Not only has much of the road numbering changed, but many of the now departmental roads have new speed ramps and changed traffic rules in places.

Autoroutes :
The final links from the A75-A9 near Beziers to Clermont Ferrand were finally opened in December 2010.

The A750 link is now complete from NW Montpellier to the A75.

There is a plan to widen the A9 between Perpignan et le Perthus before 2015.

Canal :
The Canal du Rhône à Sète (which is part of the Canal du Midi Bordeaux to Rhone route) has been carrying much increased freight traffic in recent years. As part of an effort to reduce road freight traffic, there is a plan to improve the capacity of the canal. Essentially the improvements will allow bigger boats and faster transit time through locks by 2013.

Road :
More fixed radar traps have been installed in the area. There is a map here : http://www.radarsfixes.com .


Air transport :
The poor economy has resulted in low cost airlines mothballing aircraft in winter. Some routes and destinations have been cancelled, particularly over the winter.

News of summer 2011 timetables continues to be released, and confirmed routes will be updated at http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/touri ... sm-air.htm when available.

Day by day news is summarised here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/vi ... php?t=5275 .

The current known position is :

*Only low cost carriers are benefiting from the downturn

*The weak GBP is reducing the attractiveness of the Euro area to Brits

*Easyjet are now competing with Ryanair at Montpellier, Marseille and Barcelona

*Ryanair are starting to use major airports including Barcelona, Gatwick, Madrid, etc

*Ryanair are starting flights to Cyprus. Cyprus would make an ideal base to launch flights to Red Sea resorts and the Gulf states which are currently outside the range of 737's from UK

*UK package holiday firms have pressured Larnaca airport and currently there will be no UK - Cyprus Ryanair flights. Expect routes to eventually include Charleroi (Belgium), Stockholm, Madrid and Girona

*Ryanair Barcelona flights expanded at the expense of Girona (whose passenger numbers were down 34% in November

*Girona have now regularised their relationship with Ryanair and committed to a substantial marketing budget. Although the expansion of Bardelona may have been a political move, the lost Girona flights will be replaced by new routes to the former communist block marketss

*Aer Lingus - http://www.aerlingus.com - to launch Dublin – Perpignan. There are still persistent rumours that a new low cost airline will announce flights from Perpignan for 2011. Easyjet seems to be in the frame

*Carcassonne has ongoing problems with bad weather and strikes

*Ryanair have dropped Marseille as a base – their last French base – in a row over flight crew “home base” for tax purposes. In future, there will be no planes based there and flights to Agadir, Brest, Eindhoven, Lille, Marrakesh, Nador, Nantes, Palermo, Paris, Tangier, Tenerife, Tours, Venice will now be based elsewhere.

*Unless they can attract more flights, Nimes airport is again at risk. The military planes will be relocated and Nimes kept as a reserve airfield. Will "reserve" include maintaining ATC ? There are unconfirmed rumours of an Iberia flight to Majorca.

*Ryanair have chosen not to compete directly with Easyjet from Montpellier. The only UK destination is now Leeds - Bradford
*Beziers has expanded and Ryanair now have 5 destinations including Luton and Bristol. FlyBe have launched a Beziers-Southampton summer service with through booking to Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Jersey, Guernsey.

*Ryanair has announced a new route between Liverpool and Toulon

*bmibaby will operate a new summer route from Manchester to Montpellier



Ferries :
Current low cost cross channel favourite seems to be Norfolk Lines Dover-Dunkirk service. Forum users - http://the-languedoc-page.com/forum
- prefer the P&O breakfast, though ! In fact, P&O are sometimes quite competitively priced as well.

Property:
2010 has again been a relatively quiet year for property sales in Languedoc. Desirable, realistically priced houses continue to sell.

Languedoc prices remain attractive compared with those in Provence and Cote d'Azur.

Note that all house sales and rental publicity must include an energy index report from 1 Jan 2011. Most websites and immobiliers are behind in implementing this ! More : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/vi ... php?t=5459

Blogs :
The number of South France residents blogging in English has steadily increased. We maintain links to the more disciplined (and interesting) bloggers here : http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/artic ... les01d.htm

Airport parking :
Montpellier Airport has a car park pass at 18 euros for a period of between 7 to 15 days inclusive : http://www.montpellier.aeroport.fr/laye ... ?nav=6_1_5

Marseille airport has http://www.chequeparking.com/accueil.do , which is much cheaper and less than 5 minutes walk from the terminal.

For Brits doing business with Languedoc :
The region has a central London premises to promote commercial interests between UK and the south of France.
La Maison de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon, 6 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0PD, Tel. 020 7079 33 44
http://www.maisondelaregionlanguedocroussillon.com

Beziers airport :
Beziers airport continues to have above average passenger numbers. There is a shuttle bus waiting at the airport to take passengers to Beziers bus station (Fare €3). The free shuttle runs from there to the train station.

Supermarkets :
Note that much change is taking place in the grocery market :
• Lidl and Netto are expanding rapidly
• Lidl is moving steadily upmarket
• Many supermarket chains are offering internet based home delivery and/or a picking service for later collection
• .Intermarche is opening larger outlets (Intermarche Hyper) at the same time as developing smaller in town outlets (Intermarche contact and express)
• Champion seems to have been completely rebranded as Carrefour Market

Mail order :
Marks and Spencer have launched a mail order to France service - http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?s=92029& ... 06&r=94461

Similarly, Littlewoods now have a similar service - http://clotheseu.at/tlp?CTY=1&CID=15243

Car hire excess insurance :
The standard car hire agreement leavers the hirer with an excess lkiability of around €1000 depending on car. Hire companies offer a daily rate insurance at a price of around €15 per day. It is worth noting that these people - Insurance4carhire - offer annual European cover for £49 . If you need more than a few days cover it is a better deal than the Hire Car Co rates.

Tour de France 2011 :
The final route is not normally announced until around April, so plenty of time for rumours and guesstimates ! Latest is that July 17 will be Limoux > Montpellier (187km) and the only part in Languedoc. The next days start is not in Montpellier, but in Drôme !

Latest route information is collated here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2/vi ... php?t=5316

Local history :
Herault Department have put a huge number of scanned historical archives on the web here : http://archives.herault.fr .
The museum at Ambrussum is still under construction – Visit now to avoid having to pay!

Google Street View :
This is where a car with a 360° camera on the roof takes videos of streets (hence the name !). They started with cities in US and UK - then extended coverage. In 2008 they covered the Tour de France route and recently have been very active in Languedoc. Faces, car registration numbers, even whole bodies in Cap d’Agde, are blurred to protect privacy. The procedure isn’t foolproof and individuals can ask for images to be blurred. Coverage continues to be improved. example local landmark


The Languedoc Forum :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/forum
The spammers continue to attempt to register both manually and automatically. About 1 registration in 20 is genuine and accepted. If you have registered and heard nothing from us, please email us directly. Around 5000 topics are being read per day (these stats are excluded from The Languedoc Page stats below) and 1.8m topics were read in the 12 months to 31 December 2010. There is a very active free classifieds section. Only a small minority of readers contribute by posting.




The Languedoc Page :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com
Google reports over 8000 pages of information including the forum.
378,000 unique visitors viewed 1.9m website pages in the 12 months to December 2010 (over 5000 pages viewed per day). The Languedoc Page remains a community driven website. Contributions from users have greatly enhanced the photo section and articles. Together with the forum, this visitor participation has driven the expansion of The Languedoc Page. The Languedoc Page has been in the top three for the keyword “languedoc” on google.com and google.co.uk since November 2005. Google has 20+m references for Languedoc. Currently yahoo.co.uk lists The Languedoc Page as No1 for the search term “languedoc”.
The advertising that was started a few years ago has steadily progressed. The rates are remarkably reasonable given the visitor numbers – small banner ads cost from Euro 1 per 1000 views. More information about advertising and statistics :www.the-languedoc-page.com/languedoc-advertising.htm . There will continue to be no pop-ups, porno or gambling ads !
New advertisers for 2010 included Beziers airport (http://www.beziers.aeroport.fr ) and AB real estate (http://www.ab-real-estate.com ).
Please support our advertisers – they pay for the site.

We hope that you have found The Languedoc Page useful. If you haven’t visited it for a while, it is worth a look to see how it has developed. And I’m still happy to receive article, photo and restaurant review contributions !



Have a great 2011

Peter

© The Languedoc Page, December 2010

If you wish to use any of this content, please contact us at contact@the-languedoc-page.com
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Re: Newsletters ...........................

Postby peter » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:19 pm

The Languedoc Page newsletter, Winter 2011 / 2012

This is a newsletter from The Languedoc Page. You are receiving this because you have requested it through http://the-languedoc-page.com or http://the-languedoc- page.com/forum .

Wine :
A warm spring and summer with adequate rainfall resulted in an early start to
picking. Picking of the Rivesaltes muscat grapes began during the first week of 
August and many other vendanges were similarly early. Nationally, the 2011 crop
is looking promising, with a 6% higher yield than 2010. Production in Languedoc
Roussillon is forecast to be around 13.1m hectolitres (1m hectolitres more than
2010).

There has been further consolidation of the main producers and Boisset acquired
the Skalli Languedoc business in November. Boisset -
http://www.boissetfamilyestates.com - is a major player in France and also
produces wine in California, Canada and Italy.

Languedoc Roussillon had 201,500 hectares of vines in 2010, a reduction of 21.3% since 2000. Across France there are now 85,200 producers, a reduction of 25% in the same period. Increased production in 2011 reflects the weather and the use of more effective techniques. The Cave Co-operatives are under increasing pressure as the smaller producers abandon production of grapes. There has been significant consolidation of Cave Co-operatives over the last few years.

Marketing effort continues to focus on the export of higher value and better
quality wines. There are many independent producers of high quality wines that
have seen increasing returns on investment through pursuing quality rather than
quantity.

Weather :
Winter 2010/2011 was milder than past years. Spring was warm and the Summer was consistently warm without being oppressive. Autumn was warm and enabled many to keep their pools open until end October. However localised storms arrived in the Cevennes in March and again in August. The end of October brought more orange alerts and the threat of flooding. Early November brought a red alert for Gard, Herault, Lozere, Tarn and Aveyron with an expected 600mm of rain at Mt Aigoual (London has an average rainfall around 585mm per year). Some areas received 700mm over a couple of days and Florac, Anduze, Lunel, Mauguio, Beaucaire, Tarascon, and Quissac were amongst the flooded areas. Sommieres escaped, but it is not clear if this reflects the pattern of the rainfall or the construction of floodable areas following the 2002 floods. In late November another storm system caused flooding in the unfortunately named Happy Valley, Sorede.

Xmas and New Year had very mild weather. Temperatures were around 17C over Xmas and Nimes had a recorded 20C on 1-1-2012.

Current river levels are available here : http://www.vigicrues.ecologie.gouv.fr
Road Traffic news is here : http://www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr .


Montpellier Tram :
Much work is in progress for the construction of Tramline 3 & 4 (expected opening
April 6 2012). Some roads are still closed resulting in traffic problems in central Montpellier. Map of tram lines 1,2,3 & 4 at 6 April 2012 : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... p_2010.png

An announcement was made on 22 December of future tramway plans subject to funding being available. Including the launch of lines 3 & 4 the plan is :

Completion line 3 Juvignac to Perols via centre
Completion line 4 creating a city centre "circle" line
Extension of line 1 east to Grammont, A9 and future TGV station
Extension of line 2 north to Le Cres, Vendargues and Castries
Extension of line 2 south to Saussan, Fabregues, Cournenterral, Cournonsec, Montbazin, Gigean, Poussan
Extension of line 3 north to Fontcaude
Extension of line 3 south to Maguelone, Palavas, Carnon, Grande Motte
Line 5 : A new north - south line from Pradez le Lez to Laverune via Montferrier, Clapiers, city centre, Ovalie, Bagatelle with a 2013 scheduled start date.
Line 6 : A new direct line from the city centre to Sablassou linking to the line 2 Jacou spur remains unconfirmed.

Subject to funding and final approval, these routes are intended to be completed by 2017. Map : http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... etwork.png

Rail :
With the opening of the Perpignan – Figueres TGV link, Paris to Barcelona now
takes 7hr 30m. Ultimately, a fast Paris to Barcelona rail service will be
launched taking just 4hr 30m. Likely start date is over 30 years ahead.

The revised schedule is now :

2012 (was 2009) Nimes - Montpellier TGV line bypass work starts
2012 Perpignan - Figueres - Girona TGV line in service
2013 Girona – Barcelona TGV line opened
2016 Toulouse - Bordeaux TGV line opened
2017 Tours - Bordeaux TGV line opened
2017 Nimes - Montpellier TGV line rail bypass opens. More : http://www.rff.fr/reseau/projets/nouvel ... ontpellier
2020 Montpellier - Perpignan dedicated TGV line in service. More : http://www.ligne-montpellier-perpignan.com
2020+ Paris – Toulouse
2030+ Toulouse - Narbonne

Services from Perpignan to Barcelona via a temporary station on the high speed
line at Figueres and then following the existing line started end December 2010.

To link up the different guauges, there will be 3 stations in Figueres over the
next few years. The new line passes to the west of the town, and a new station
is being built at Vilafant. It is planned to divert the existing line, so that
local trains can call at this station, and close the existing railway station in
the centre of the town, although at first a temporary station will be built on
the high speed line. There will be a shuttle service between the temporary LGV
station and the town station.

SNCF announced that they were considering the closure of the Nimes - Clermont
Ferrand rail line for passenger traffic. Following review, it will remain open.
Essential maintenance and further development will take place to improve
tourist traffic numbers.
More : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Cevenol



Montpellier road upgrades :
It is now proposed to make the existing autoroute an urban road and add a new stretch of A9 through Montpellier by 2017. Route map : http://www.midilibre.fr/complements/201 ... 314867.pdf

Improvements to the Northern Castries - A75 route continue. The forecast route
map is here : http://www.herault.fr/files/avigne/lien.pdf . The Assas to St Gely
section was opened during 2010. The forecast completion date to the A750 is 
2015. More details (in French) :
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liaison_intercantonale_d'évitement_nord .

Note that ongoing decentralisation has made many RN (Routes Nationales) the
responsibility of individual departments. Not only has much of the road
numbering changed, but many of the now departmental roads have new speed ramps and changed traffic rules in places.

Autoroutes :
The final links from the A75-A9 near Beziers to Clermont Ferrand were finally
opened in December 2010.

The A750 link is now complete from NW Montpellier to the A75.

There is a plan to widen the A9 between Perpignan et le Perthus before 2015.

Canal :
The Canal du Rhône à Sète (which is part of the Canal du Midi Bordeaux to Rhone
route) has been carrying much increased freight traffic in recent years. As part
of an effort to reduce road freight traffic, there is a plan to improve the
capacity of the canal. Essentially the improvements will allow bigger boats and
faster transit time through locks by 2013.

Road :
More fixed radar traps have been installed in the area. There is a map here :
http://www.radarsfixes.com .


Air transport :
The poor economy has resulted in some low cost airlines mothballing aircraft in
winter. Some routes and destinations have been cancelled, particularly over the
winter.

News of summer 2012 timetables continues to be released, and confirmed routes
will be updated at http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/touri ... sm-air.htm when available.

Day by day news is summarised here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... php?t=6148 .

The current known position is :

*Perpignan, Nimes and Carcassonne airports have all been taken over by Veolia from the local CCI.


*Only low cost carriers are expanding passenger numbers during the downturn.


*The poor UK economy and weak GBP is reducing the attractiveness of the Euro area to Brits and many local airports have reduced passenger numbers.


*Ryanair are increasingly using major airports including Barcelona, Gatwick,
Madrid, etc


*Girona have made proposals to regularise their relationship with Ryanair by committing to a substantial marketing budget in line with the original contract.


*As the Girona disagreement has escalated Ryanair have continued to favour Barcelona


*Ryanair have flights from European airports to Cyprus. Cyprus would make an ideal base to launch flights to Red Sea resorts and the Gulf states which are currently outside the range of 737's from UK.


*There are rumours of plans to build a new airport in Carcassonne.


*Air France have announced the launch of a new low fixed price service to compete with Easyjet and Ryanair. They will have bases at Marseille, Toulouse and Nice. Flights begin in April. More : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... =70#p26412 & http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... =60#p26338


*Easyjet will respond with expanded services at Toulouse and Nice.


*BMI has been sold to BA. BMIbaby will be sold and some BMI loss making routes will be abandoned.


*Ryanair have chosen not to compete directly with Easyjet from Montpellier. The
only UK destination is now Leeds - Bradford


*Beziers has expanded and Ryanair now have 7 destinations including Luton, Manchester and Bristol. FlyBe offer a Beziers-Southampton summer service with through booking to Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Jersey, Guernsey.


*Perpignan now appears to have only 11 non AF flights per week during the summer months.


*Norwegian are a major Scandinavian low cost airline with direct flights to Barcelona from various other European cities. More : http://www.norwegian.com .

Ferries :
Norfolk Lines has now been acquired by DFDS seaways who still generally offer the best short route rates with their Dover - Dunkerque service. Best rates on the longer routes are normally with LD lines. Both may be undercut on certain crossings or with special offers so it is worth checking before booking. 
Forum users - http://the-languedoc-page.com/forum - prefer the P&O breakfast, though.

Property :
2010 has again been a relatively quiet year for property sales in Languedoc.
Desirable, realistically priced houses continue to sell. Languedoc prices remain attractive compared with those in Provence and Cote d'Azur.

Exchange rates :
The pound is languishing at around 1.20, slightly up on recent Euro worries, but well behind historical levels. Information and current rates are here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/property/currency.htm

Blogs :
The number of South France residents blogging in English has steadily increased.
We maintain links to the more disciplined (and interesting) bloggers here :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/artic ... les01d.htm

Airport parking :
Montpellier Airport has a car park pass at 18 euros for a period of between 7 to
15 days inclusive : www.montpellier.aeroport.fr/layer_en.asp?nav=6_1_5

Marseille airport has http://www.chequeparking.com/accueil.do , which is much cheaper than daily rates and less than 5 minutes walk from the terminal.


Beziers airport :
Beziers airport continues to have above average passenger numbers. There is a
shuttle bus waiting at the airport to take passengers to Beziers bus station
(Fare €3). A free shuttle runs from there to the train station.

Supermarkets :
Note that much change is taking place in the grocery market :
• Lidl and Netto are expanding rapidly
• Lidl is moving steadily upmarket
• Many supermarket chains are offering internet based home delivery and/or a
picking service for later collection
• .Intermarche is opening larger outlets (Intermarche Hyper) at the same
time as developing smaller in town outlets (Intermarche contact and express)
• Champion seems to have been completely rebranded as Carrefour Market

Mail order :
Marks and Spencer have a mail order service to France -
http://www.awin1.com . They are also reopening stores in France.

Littlewoods now have a similar service -
http://clotheseu.at

Car hire excess insurance :
The standard car hire agreement leaves the hirer with an excess liability of
around €1000 depending on car. Hire companies offer a daily rate insurance at a
price of around €15 per day. It is worth noting that these people -
Insurance4carhire - offer annual European cover for £49 . If you need more than a few days cover it is a better deal than the Hire Car Co rates.

Tour de France 2012 :
The final detail route is not normally announced until around April, so allowing plenty of time for rumours and guesstimates !

The stage info is :
Stage 13, July 14 — Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Le Cap d’Agde 215 km (road stage) 
Stage 14, July 15 — Limoux > Foix 192 km (road stage) 
More : http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/10/ ... ked_194964

Latest route information is collated here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... php?t=6313

Local history :
Herault Department have put a huge number of scanned historical archives on the web here : http://archives.herault.fr .
The museum at Ambrussum is now open and visits are currently free. They have added good information panels and opened some new areas to visitors.

Useful information :
Links to useful information are maintained on the forum here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=28 . These links will not be pruned but will be edited to keep them up to date.

Google Street View :
This is where a car with a 360° camera on the roof takes videos of streets
(hence the name). Faces, car registration numbers, even whole bodies in
Cap d’Agde, are blurred to protect privacy. The procedure isn’t foolproof and
individuals can ask for images to be blurred. Coverage continues to be improved.
E.g. http://g.co/maps/aq77f

The Languedoc Pages and The Connexion newspaper :
During 2011 The Connexion newspaper launched The Languedoc Pages as a paper regional supplement to their newspaper. There was considerable confusion because The Languedoc Page has a long established wide reputation resulting in internet searches inevitably favouring it. We received many contacts varying from congratulations on our new venture to queries from advertisers who were uncertain of where they had agreed to advertise. The current position is that both The Languedoc Page and The Languedoc Pages have carried banners explaining the situation. There may be scope for working together in some areas in the future.



The Languedoc Forum :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/forum
We upgraded to new software during 2011. This was needed as the old software had security weaknesses and support had ceased. Upgrading to a later version of php by the host was another reason. The change went reasonably well and a few "tweaks" relmain to be finalised.

The spammers continue to attempt to register both manually and automatically.
About 1 registration in 20 is genuine and accepted. If you have registered and
heard nothing from us, please email us directly.

Around 5000 topics are being read per day (these stats are excluded from The Languedoc Page stats below) and 1.7m topics were read in the 12 months to 31 December 2011. There is an active free classifieds section. Only a small minority of readers contribute by posting. During 2011Q4, the total views of forum topics passed the 10m mark.

The Languedoc Page :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com
Google reports over 2,000 pages of information, with 29,000 inward links and 126,000 references including the forum.
381,000 unique visitors viewed 1.9m website pages in the 12 months to December 2011 (over 5000 pages viewed per day). The Languedoc Page remains a community driven website. Contributions from users have greatly enhanced the photo section and articles. Together with the forum, this visitor participation has driven the expansion of The Languedoc Page. The Languedoc Page has been listed on the first page for the keyword “languedoc” on google.com and google.co.uk since November 2005. At 3-1-2012 The Languedoc Page was 5th out of 88.8m references for the word Languedoc with Yahoo also showing position 5 out of 43.5m references.

The advertising that was started a few years ago has steadily progressed. The
rates are remarkably reasonable given the visitor numbers – small banner ads
cost from Euro 1 per 1000 views. More information about advertising and
statistics :www.the-languedoc-page.com/languedoc-advertising.htm . There will
continue to be no pop-ups, porno or gambling ads !

We would like to sincerely thank our advertisers. Please support them – they pay for the site.

We hope that you have found The Languedoc Page useful. If you haven’t visited it for a while, it is worth a look to see how it has developed. And I’m still happy
to receive article, photo and restaurant review contributions !




Have a great 2012

Peter

© The Languedoc Page, January 2012

If you wish to use any of this content, please contact us at contact@the-
languedoc-page.com
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User avatar
peter
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Posts: 4294
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:41 pm
Location: Languedoc, France

Re: Newsletters ...........................

Postby peter » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:02 pm

Newsletter winter 2012/2013



Wine :
The summer was average. Cool nights in July, a cool start to August, and warm September will produce smaller volumes of good quality wines.
The harvest was delayed around 2 weeks compared with previous years.
The region continues to focus on quality and the 280,000 ha of vines( down from 200,000 ha in 2010) are expected to produce 11.7m hl (down from 13.1mhl in 2011).
The swing from low volume (and quality) wines from small producers to higher quality wines produced by independent domains has resulted in severe problems for the traditional Cave Co-operatives. Many have amalgamated and merged production resulting in a surplus of buildings. Some continue as wine storage areas, some have been converted to other uses but many are now empty.

Weather :
There were some very cold spells in late December 2011 and January 2012. Many had surprises when opening up holiday homes including frozen meters, burst pipes and swimming pool problems.
Winter 2011 / 2012 was incredibly dry - up to 90% less rainfall than average in some regions - resulting in water restrictions for many areas during 2012. Ongoing drought resulted in forest fires as early as March.
March and April had some very hot spells, even the bad storms that followed did not provide enough water to top up reservoirs and June / July were very dry.
Despite a few storms in October and November, the year finished with below average rainfall for most.
The weather over xmas and new year 2013 has been mixed with sunny days interspersed with clouds and some low temperatures.
In 2012, Montpellier had 509 mm of rain (2011 645 mm) and 2845 hours of sunshine.

Road Traffic news is here : http://www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr .
Current river levels are available here : http://www.vigicrues.ecologie.gouv.fr

Montpellier Tram :
Lines 3 and 4 opened on schedule in Spring 2012 and a map of tram lines 1,2,3 & 4 is here : http://www.montpellier-agglo.com/tam/pa ... ubrique=32
Note that there also minor changes to line 1 and 2 routing in the centre of Montpellier.

Future tramway plans subject to funding being available are :

Extension of line 1 east to Grammont, A9 and future TGV station (Confirmed January 2013, completion 2017)
Extension of line 2 north to Le Cres, Vendargues and Castries
Extension of line 2 south to Saussan, Fabregues, Cournenterral, Cournonsec, Montbazin, Gigean, Poussan
Extension of line 3 north to Fontcaude
Extension of line 3 south to Maguelone, Palavas, Carnon, Grande Motte
Line 5 : A new north - south line from Pradez le Lez to Laverune via Montferrier, Clapiers, city centre, Ovalie, Bagatelle with a 2013 scheduled start date.
Line 6 : A new direct line from the city centre to Sablassou linking to the line 2 Jacou spur remains unconfirmed.

Subject to funding and final approval, these routes are intended to be completed by 2017 :http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/12/Montpellier_-_Map_of_the_future_tramway_network.png/1280px-Montpellier_-_Map_of_the_future_tramway_network.png

Link to proposed line 5 route map : http://www.midilibre.fr/complements/201 ... 379301.pdf

Rail :
With the opening of the Perpignan – Figueres TGV link, Paris to Barcelona now takes 7hr 30m. Ultimately, a fast Paris to Barcelona rail service will be launched taking just 4hr 30m. Likely start date is 2025.

The revised schedule is now :
2013 Barcelona to Figueres (starts April)
2016 Toulouse - Bordeaux TGV line opened
2017 Tours - Bordeaux TGV line opened
2017 Nimes - Montpellier TGV line rail bypass opens.
2020+ Paris – Toulouse
2025 Montpellier - Perpignan dedicated TGV line in service.
2030+ Toulouse - Narbonne

The first Barcelona - Figueres ELV (TGV) ran in January 2013. Scheduled services will start April 2013 and SNCF is working on development of the links into France. The Figueres to Perpignan section is said to be commencing in July 2013. The missing Perpignan to Montpellier section will delay the introduction of a direct Barcelona to Paris TGV service.

To link up the different guauges, there will be 3 stations in Figueres over the next few years. The new line passes to the west of the town, and a new station has been built at Vilafant. It is planned to divert the existing line, so that local trains can call at this station, and close the existing railway station in the centre of the town, although at first a temporary station will be built on the high speed line. There will be a shuttle service between the temporary LGV station and the town station.

Building on its long-standing seasonal service between London St Pancras International and Avignon-Centre which has operated on Saturdays in July and August for several years, Eurostar intends to launch a single train pair linking London and Ashford with Lyon Part-Dieu, Avignon-TGV and Aix-en-Provence-TGV on Saturdays from May 4 to June 29 2013.

The Nimes - Clermont Ferrand rail line for passenger traffic is again under threat and their is an ongoing campaign to save it. This is judged by afficionados as one of the worlds great train journeys.
More : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Cevenol



Montpellier road upgrades :
It is now proposed to make the existing autoroute an urban motorway and add a new stretch of A9 through Montpellier by 2017.
Improvements to the Northern Castries - A75 route continue. The forecast completion date to the A750 is 2015.
Note that ongoing decentralisation has made many RN (Routes Nationales) the responsibility of individual departments. Not only has much of the road numbering changed, but many of the now departmental roads have new speed ramps and changed traffic rules in places.

Autoroutes :
There is a plan to widen the A9 between Perpignan et le Perthus before 2015.

Canal :
The Canal du Rhône à Sète (which is part of the Canal du Midi Bordeaux to Rhone route) has been carrying much increased freight traffic in recent years. As part of an effort to reduce road freight traffic, there is a plan to improve the capacity of the canal. Essentially the improvements will allow bigger boats and faster transit time through locks by 2013.

Air transport :
The poor economy has resulted in some low cost airlines mothballing aircraft in winter. Some routes and destinations have been cancelled, particularly over the winter. A number of low cost operators have merged or folded during the year.

News of summer 2013 timetables continues to be released, and confirmed routes will be updated at http://the-languedoc-page.com/tourism/l ... sm-air.htm when available.

Day by day news is summarised here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... =13&t=7107
Perpignan, Nimes and Carcassonne airports are now operated by Veolia.
Only low cost carriers are expanding passenger numbers during the downturn.
Ryanair carried 79.6m passengers in 2012.
Ryanair are increasingly using major airports including Barcelona, Gatwick, Madrid, etc
Ryanair are now increasing services to Girona again following a major spat with the local government operators.
There are rumours of plans to build a new airport in Carcassonne.
Beziers airport has continued to expand and now has international flights to 10 destinations, the newest being Edinburgh. Some flights are seasonal. Airport website : http://www.beziers.aeroport.fr/3-13026-Home.php
Ryanair will fly Dortmund to Girona starting in March 2013.
Ryanair will fly East Midlands to Marseille starting in March 2013.
Ryanair will launch flights from Girona to Kalmar and Jonkoping in 2013
Alitalia will launch a Rome - Montpellier flight starting in March.
From 6 February 2013 AF will offer flights from Montpellier to Paris Orly at €49 one way
Air France are launching London City to Avignon starting at €49 from February
Air France are expanding their low cost flight schedules : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... =25#p30673
Vueling has been acquired by BA/Iberia


Ferries :
After the only potential buyers failed to agree terms with the unions, and the EU deemed a French government bailout illegal SeaFrance went into liquidation. A new company - MyFeryLink rose from the ashes and is currently still operating : https://www.myferrylink.com
DFDS seaways generally offer good short route rates with their Dover - Dunkerque service. LD lines tend to be competitive on longer routes. As always there are many special offers and they may be worthwhile.

Property :
2012 has again been a relatively quiet year for property sales in Languedoc. Desirable, realistically priced houses continue to sell. Languedoc prices remain attractive compared with those in Provence and Cote d'Azur. Transaction prices have dropped although many unsold houses do not reflect this. Agents are preparing themselves for a stagnant market lasting some years to come.

Exchange rates :
The pound has been steady at £1 = €1.24 - €1.25 for much of the year. Both the UK and French / EU economies are seen as weak.

Blogs :
The number of South France residents blogging in English has steadily increased. We maintain links to the more disciplined (and interesting) bloggers here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/articles/ ... les01d.htm

Airport parking :
Montpellier Airport has attractive rates for longer term parking : http://www.montpellier.aeroport.fr/fr/p ... s-parkings
Marseille airport has a similar scheme which must be booked online in advance : http://www.marseille.aeroport.fr/acces- ... ue-parking It pays to reserve some time in advance as in busy periods this becomes fully booked.


Beziers airport :
Beziers airport continues to expand. There is a shuttle bus waiting at the airport to take passengers to Beziers bus station (Fare €3). A free shuttle runs from there to the train station.

Mail order :
Marks and Spencer have a mail order service to France. They are also reopening stores in France.

Car hire excess insurance :
The standard car hire agreement leaves the hirer with an excess liability of around €1000 depending on car. Hire companies offer a daily rate insurance at a price of around €15 per day. It is worth noting that these people - Insurance4carhire - offer annual European cover for £49 . If you need more than a few days cover it is a better deal than the Hire Car Co rates.

Tour de France 2013 :
The final detail route is not normally announced until around April, so allowing plenty of time for rumours and guesstimates !

The Languedoc stage info is :

THURSDAY, JULY 4TH - STAGE 6176km : Aix-en-Provence / Montpellier
FRIDAY, JULY 5TH - STAGE 7205km : Montpellier / Albi

Latest route information is collated here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... =31&t=7130

Useful information :
Links to useful information are maintained on the forum here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=28. These links will not be pruned but will be edited to keep them up to date.

The Languedoc Forum :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/forum

The spammers continue to attempt to register both manually and automatically. About 1 registration in 20 is genuine and accepted. If you have registered and heard nothing from us, please email us directly.

Around 4000 topics are being read per day (these stats are excluded from The Languedoc Page stats below) and 1.85m topics were read in the 12 months to 31 December 2012. There is an active free classifieds section. Only a small minority of readers contribute by posting. During 2012Q4, the total views of forum topics achieved 11.3m.

The Languedoc Page :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com
Google reports 18,000 references for the search term "the languedoc page". It is ranked 4th from 62m for the search term "languedoc".
350,000 unique visitors viewed 1.75m website pages in the 12 months to December 2012 (about 4800pages viewed per day). The Languedoc Page remains a community driven website. Contributions from users have greatly enhanced the forum, photo section and articles. Together with the forum, this visitor participation has driven the expansion of The Languedoc Page. The Languedoc Page has been listed on the first page for the keyword “languedoc” on google.com and google.co.uk since November 2005.

The advertising that was started a few years ago has steadily progressed. The rates are remarkably reasonable given the visitor numbers – small banner ads cost from Euro 1 per 1000 views. More information about advertising and statistics : http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/langu ... tising.htm . There will continue to be no pop-ups, porno or gambling ads !

We would like to sincerely thank our advertisers. Please support them – they pay for the site.

We hope that you have found The Languedoc Page useful. If you haven’t visited it for a while, it is worth a look to see how it has developed. And I’m still happy to receive article, photo and restaurant review contributions !




Have a great 2013

Peter


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Re: Newsletters ...........................

Postby peter » Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:23 pm

The Languedoc Page Newsletter
winter 2013/2014

Weather :
Early weather in 2013 was mixed with some cold spells. Spring was very long with heavy rainfall and some late frosts. The much delayed summer proved to be mainly dry and hot. This extended late into autumn. Winter 2013/2014 has been mild and relatively dry.
* Current weather forecast : http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/langu ... er-now.htm
* Road Traffic news : http://www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr .
* Current river levels : http://www.vigicrues.ecologie.gouv.fr

Wine :
The delayed spring delayed vine development by two to three weeks. Initially there was concern that rain and late frosts would result in a reduced yield. In fact Languedoc largely escaped the worst of the rain, frost and hail both in spring and early summer that damaged crops in some other regions of France. The summer proved to be long and hot with adequate rain followed by a warm dry autumn. The hot summer will provide good quality wine in most cases and the long autumn allowed harvest timing to be optimised.
The vendange was two to three weeks later than normal and overall the yield is expected to be 13.2m Hl, an increase of 10% over the poor yields of 2012. By contrast, Bordeaux yields are estimated at 20% less than 2012.

Montpellier Tram :
The four lines operating in Montpellier currently carry around 300,000 journeys per day. A map of the current network with linked bus services is here (http://www.montpellier-agglo.com/tam/up ... er2014.pdf)
Future tramway plans subject to funding being available are :
* Extension of line 1 east to Grammont, A9 and future TGV station (Confirmed January 2013, completion 2017)
* Extension of line 2 north to Le Cres, Vendargues and Castries
* Extension of line 2 south to Saussan, Fabregues, Cournenterral, Cournonsec, Montbazin, Gigean, Poussan
* Extension of line 3 north to Fontcaude
* Extension of line 3 south to Maguelone, Palavas, Carnon, Grande Motte
* Line 5 : A new north - south line from Prades le Lez to Laverune via Montferrier, Clapiers and the city centre. Phase 1 Clapiers to Laverune is scheduled to start in 2014 with a completion date of 2017. Phase 2 from Clapiers to Prades les Lez is currently unfunded but has a scheduled completion date of 2020.
* Line 6 : A new direct line from the city centre to Sablassou linking to the line 2 Jacou spur remains unconfirmed.

Link to proposed line 5 route map (http://the-languedoc-page.com/images/temp137.gif)

Rail :
The first through TGV trains running from Paris to Barcelona commenced in 2013. Achievement of a 4.5 hr journey time requires completion of the Nimes to Perpignan dedicated track. The planned acceleration of TGV development has been reduced for budgetary reasons and the crucial Perpignan to Montpellier section now appears to be unlikely to be completed before 2030. Paris to Barcelona now takes 6h 30m with Montpellier being the half way in time (but not in distance !).

The revised schedule is now :
* 2017 Tours - Bordeaux TGV line opened
* 2017 Nimes - Montpellier TGV line rail bypass opens.
* 2030+ Toulouse - Bordeaux TGV line opened
* 2030+ Montpellier - Perpignan dedicated TGV line in service.
* Toulouse - Narbonne has now been abandoned


* The weekly summer Eurostar service direct from St Pancras to Avignon will continue in 2014 taking around 5h30m.
* There are currently four trains each day St Pancras to Montpellier ( 1 change at Lille) taking around 7 hours.

Montpellier road upgrades :
Work has commenced to make the existing A9 autoroute an urban motorway and add a new stretch of A9 through Montpellier by 2017. This is intended to separate Montpellier commuter traffic from long distance users of the Italy - Spain corridor. The planned A750 / A9 junction has been abandoned.

Autoroutes :
Work has commenced on widening the A9 between Perpignan et le Perthus. Completion is scheduled for 2015.

Canal :
The Canal du Rhône à Sète (which is part of the Canal du Midi Bordeaux to Rhone route) has been carrying much increased freight traffic in recent years. As part of an effort to reduce road freight traffic, work has been comleted ro widen locks etc allowing loads to be increased from 300t to 1500t.

Air transport :
Again the economic situation has resulted in cancelled routes and the mothballing of aircraft this winter. At the end of 2013 low bookings required Ryanair to reduce prices and launch a new customer service drive. News of summer 2014 timetables continues to be released, and confirmed routes will be updated at http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/touri ... sm-air.htm (http://www.the-languedoc- page.com/tourism/languedoc-tourism-air.htm) when available.
Day by day news is summarised here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... =13&t=7533
* Ryanair carried 82m passengers in 2013.
* Ryanair are increasingly using major airports including Barcelona, Gatwick, Madrid, etc
* Aer Lingus will operate flights Perpignan to Dublin starting 1/5/2014
* Flybe will operate flights from Perpignan to both Birmingham and Southampton starting 24/5/2014
* Rodez , Nimes and Carcassonne airports are under investigation by the EU in relation to illegal subsidies.
* Volotea will fly Perpignan - Nantes from April, 28th 2014 with 2 flights/week and probably 3 flights/week for July and August months.
* Ryanair are now selling 2014 flights from Leeds to Montpellier on Mondays and Thursdays commencing Monday 31 March.
* Air Corsica will launch 2 new destinations for 2014 from Perpignan to Ajaccio & Calvi flying July, 2014 to September 2014
* For those in E Languedoc, Easyjet is expanding its routes to Lyon. They also have UK routes from Barcelona, Toulouse, Montpellier and Marseille.
* Ryanair are opening a 2nd Belgian base at Zaventem with 10 new routes. Those in the SW of Languedoc will benefit from 6 daily flights to Barcelona.
* Flybe is abandoning their Beziers flights as part of a radical cost cutting exercise
* Ryanair announced a new route Beziers - Bremen
* Ryanair has cut several routes from Swedish airports, including Gothenburg, Nyköping and Västerås. Karlstad, Växjö , Kalmar and Ängelholm. Flights from Nykoping to Marseille, Beziers and Barcelona continue.
* SAS is to launch a summer only weekly service Montpellier - Copenhagen.
* Ryanair's Perpignan - Birmingham service will not run in 2014
* Easyjet have announced a Montpellier - Basel route starting April 2014
* There are ongoing disputes with low cost flights to Morocco. Ryanair will not operate Nador - Girona and Oujda – Marseille routes in 2014
* Ryanair will fly Manchester to Barcelona in 2014
* Starting April 18, 2014, a new route Montpellier - Rotterdam with Transavia.
* Ryanair will fly Marseille to Lisbon in 2014
* Cityjet will have a weekly service Amsterdam - Perpignan this summer

Ferries :
MyFerrylink (ex SeaFrance) won an anti monopoly case and are currently offering some very cheap crossings. DFDS seaways generally offer good short route rates with their Dover - Dunkerque service. LD lines tend to be competitive on longer routes. As always there are many special offers and they may be worthwhile.

Property :
2013 has shown a slight upturn in the Languedoc property market. Strengthening of the £ and an improving UK property market have also brought some UK buyers back in the market. Languedoc prices remain attractive compared with those in Provence and Cote d'Azur.

Exchange rates :
2012 problems in South Europe resulted in a weakened Euro and the pound reached £1 = €1.28 in 2012. As the Euro recovered ground the pound traded around £1 = €1.15 for much of 2013. Improvements in the UK economy resulted in a strengthening of the £ at the end of the year and it is now trading around £1 = €1.22
I've used Currencies Direct who are flexible, efficient and provide good rates https://www.currenciesdirect.com

Airport parking :
* Montpellier Airport has attractive rates for longer term parking : http://www.montpellier.aeroport.fr/fr/p ... s-parkings (http://www.montpellier.aeroport.fr/fr/p ... s-parkings)
* Marseille airport has a similar scheme which must be booked online in advance: http://www.marseille.aeroport.fr/acces- ... ue-parking

Car hire excess insurance :
The standard car hire agreement leaves the hirer with an excess liability of around €1000 depending on car. Hire companies offer a daily rate insurance at a price of up to €15 per day. It is worth noting that Insurance4carhire offer annual European cover for under £40 . If you need more than a few days cover it is a better deal than the Hire Car Co rates.

Tour de France 2014 :
The 2014 TdF starts in Leeds, UK and spends more time there and in Belgium than usual. A consequence of this is that little time will be spent in Languedoc. The route details will not be announced until April. The outline route includes this time in Languedoc :
* On-line Sunday, July 20th Tallard > Nîmes 222 km
* Rest day Monday, July 21st Carcassonne
* On-line Tuesday, July 22nd Carcassonne > Bagnères-de-Luchon 237 km

Latest information will be posted here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... =31&t=7581

Useful information :
Links to useful information are maintained on the forum here : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=28 . These links will not be pruned but will be edited to keep them up to date.

The Languedoc Forum :
http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/index.php
If you have registered and heard nothing from us, please email us directly. The spam filters that are in place are occasionally too rigorous. Around 3000 topics are being read per day (these stats are excluded from The Languedoc Page stats below) and 1.1m topics were read in the 12 months to 31 December 2013. There is an active free classifieds section. Only a small minority of readers contribute by posting. During 2013Q4, the total all time views of forum topics achieved 12.4m. In keeping with most of the "traditional" forums usage has fallen due to the growth of Facebook and the reduction of newcomers seeking answers.
The FB page I created continues to steadily expand at https://www.facebook.com/groups/3336035598

The Languedoc Page :
http://www.the-languedoc-page.com
Google reports 12,000 references for the search term "the languedoc page". It is currently ranked as 5th from 21m for the search term "languedoc". It has been in the top five results for the term Languedoc using google.com and google.co.uk since 2005. 340,000 unique visitors viewed around 1.7m website pages in the 12 months to December 2013 (about 4500pages viewed per day).
Since 2002 3.5m visitors have viewed around 17m pages.
The Languedoc Page remains a community driven website.
Contributions from users have greatly enhanced the forum, photo section and articles. Together with the forum, this visitor participation has driven the expansion of The Languedoc Page.
Inevitably parts have become out of date and a revamp is planned this year.

British groceries :
Times have been tough for dedicated British gocers in France. There are fewer UK permanent residents, fewer newcomers, better availability in French supermarkets and cheaper flights have resulted in more short visits. Best of British had 14 supermarkets and mail order but closed some years ago. Epicerie Barenton Butcher who delivered widely to Languedoc ceased trading at the end of 2013. Useful contacts of suppliers in Languedoc :
* http://www.foudanglais.fr has relocated from Clermont l'Herault to 10 Rue Anatole France, 34000 Montpellier. Victoria tells me it is easy to find being next to the sex shop !
* http://www.johnpricethebutcher.com delivers across Languedoc and is well regarded
* http://www.mistersaucisse.fr delivers in Aude and P-O.
* Lidl stock a limited range during their twice yearly British weeks
* http://les-chenes.eu/index.php supplies British goods for sale via a number of shops and collection points throughout Languedoc-Roussillon.
* Mondial market in Montpellier stocks UK packaged goods, beer and deep frozen products
* Most Asian markets carry some British products
* There are better British grocers in the UK ghettos of Costa Brava
* http://www.britsfoodstop.com are in Narbonne
* Most French supermarket chains sell a few lines of British grocery

UK Satellite TV :
The channels received from 28.2E have recently moved to a new satellite. Sky channels remain on a broad European beam but the free domestic UK channels have moved to a narrow UK beam. This has resulted in a sharp fall off in the signal as you move broadly South.The pattern is irregular but the fall off at the edges is rapid. It is quite recent, but early reports suggest that bigger dishes will be needed from Central France southward. Around Montpellier 90cm to 1m dishes seem to be working reliably. South of Perpignan 1.5m to 1.8m dishes may be needed. Over 1m diameter there are mounting and planning problems to consider. There are internet solutions available. Follow discussions here :
http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... =15&t=7676
http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... =15&t=7664
http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3/vi ... =15&t=7662


We hope that you have found The Languedoc Page useful. If you haven’t visited it for a while, it is worth a look to see how it has developed ... and I’m still happy to receive article, photo and restaurant review contributions !

Have a great 2014

Peter

© The Languedoc Page, February 2014

If you wish to use any of this content, please contact us at contact@the-languedoc-page.com
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Re: Newsletters ...........................

Postby peter » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:18 am

The Languedoc Page
Newsletter winter 2014/2015

Wine :
A relatively warm first half year with adequate rain in the West, but rather dry towards the East followed by good summer rainfall augured well for Languedoc wine. Some crops were damaged by hailstones locally during the year threatening to reduce volumes. However, late storms resulted in more losses as some of the 15% of the Languedoc harvest remaining to be picked was lost. It is estimated that wine production will be down by around 10% overall compared to 2013 with some areas considerably worse affected. A difficult year to forecast quality of the eventual wine.

Weather :
2014 was mild overall and this continued until early 2015. However there were overnight storms, particularly after June, which caused flooding to the East of the region. Montpellier was flooded and Cevennes rain caused Sommieres medieval town to be flooded three times in three weeks.
Road Traffic news is here: www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr .
Current river levels are available here: www.vigicrues.ecologie.gouv.fr

Montpellier Tram :
Lines 1, 2, 3 & 4 are fully operational.
There is an interactive map of Montpellier public transport systems here : http://tam.cartographie.pro

Future tramway plans subject to funding being available are :

Extension of line 1 east to Grammont, A9 and future TGV station (Confirmed January 2013, completion 2017)
Extension of line 2 north to Le Cres, Vendargues and Castries
Extension of line 2 south to Saussan, Fabregues, Cournenterral, Cournonsec, Montbazin, Gigean, Poussan
Extension of line 3 north to Fontcaude
Extension of line 3 south to Maguelone, Palavas, Carnon, Grande Motte
Line 5 : A new north - south line from Pradez le Lez to Laverune via Montferrier, Clapiers, city centre, Ovalie, Bagatelle
Line 6 : A new direct line from the city centre to Sablassou linking to the line 2 Jacou spur remains unconfirmed.

The tram system was a pet project of George Freche. Since his death I sense there is less enthusiasm for expansion.

With the exception of the Line 1 project all other plans are on hold. Map of long term development plans: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... etwork.png

Rail :
With the opening of the Perpignan – Barcelona TGV link, Paris to Barcelona now takes around 6hr 30m. Ultimately, a fast Paris to Barcelona rail service will be launched taking just 4hr 30m. Likely start date is 2030. New TGV route development has been delayed for financial reasons.

The revised schedule is now :
2017 Tours - Bordeaux TGV line opens
2017 Nimes - Montpellier dedicated TGV line opens (work currently underway).
2030+ Toulouse - Bordeaux TGV line opens
2030+ Montpellier - Perpignan dedicated TGV line opens.
Toulouse - Narbonne has now been abandoned

The missing Perpignan to Montpellier section will delay the introduction of a direct Barcelona to Paris TGV service.

The seasonal service between London St Pancras International and Avignon-Centre has operated on Saturdays in July and August for several years. The Aix-en-Provence services did not run in 2014 but will be replaced along with the seasonal Avignon Centre services with the new year round service to Marseille as of 1 May 2015

The Nimes - Clermont Ferrand rail line for passenger traffic appears to be safe although several stations will be unmanned.

Rail travel in Languedoc-Roussillon has become much cheaper - with tickets on TER lines in the region now available for €1, if they are booked online. The scheme has been trialled since 2011 on a number of routes, and now has been rolled out across the entire local network, meaning it is possible to travel from Perpignan to Montpellier for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

There is a catch. To keep costs down, the €1 tickets are only available online via the regional TER website. Anyone buying a ticket at the station will have to pay the full face value - which, for a ticket for a train from Perpignan to Montpellier for example, is €23.

Former Languedoc-Roussillon region president Christian Bourquin - who previously introduced €1 bus travel in the region - declared the cut-price tickets a “revolution in public transport”. It is expected that the scheme will increase the number of people taking the regional TER service, which is currently severely underused. Unveiling the scheme, Mr Bourquin said: “My ambition is not to see a single empty train.”

Authorities expect to sell about 460,000 €1 tickets in 2015 - or 1,300 tickets a day - at an additional cost to the region’s taxpayers of about €3.5million. The region already pays €106million annually to SNCF.

Mr Bourquin’s successor as regional council president Damien Alary has already proposed extending the offer to allow travel between Montpellier and Toulouse for just €1 ahead of the unification of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions later this year.

Montpellier road upgrades :
The existing A9 autoroute will become an urban motorway and a new stretch of A9 running roughly parallel will be open in 2017. Work has commenced on this construction which will effectively bypass Montpellier (will it be subject to peage ?).
The Pezenas bypass section of the A75 was upgraded to full autoroute status in 2014.
Improvements to the Northern Castries - A75 route continue. The forecast completion date to the A750 is 2015.
The original plan to join the A750 to A9 has been abandoned.

Note that ongoing decentralisation has made many RN (Routes Nationales) the responsibility of individual departments. Not only has much of the road numbering changed, but many of the now departmental roads have new speed ramps and changed traffic rules in places.

Autoroutes :
There is a plan to widen the A9 between Perpignan and le Perthus. Perpignan Sud to Le Boulou is scheduled to open in 2016. The Le Boulou to Spain section is under review.

Air transport :
Low cost airlines have mothballed fewer aircraft this winter. Despite this there were fewer local routes in 2014/2015. There has been a further reduction in routes from Girona but more from Barcelona.
News of summer 2015 timetables continues to be released, and confirmed routes will be updated at http://www.the-languedoc-page.com/touri ... sm-air.htm when available.

Early confirmations from Ryanair :
Birmingham - Barcelona
Birmingham - Perpignan
Bristol - Beziers
Bristol - Girona
Liverpool - Barcelona
Liverpool - Carcassonne
Liverpool - Nimes
Manchester - Barcelona
Manchester - Beziers
Manchester - Girona
Carcassonne - Glasgow International

From May 18 KLM will launch new daily route to Montpellier. The Montpellier service will see an outbound flight take-off from Amsterdam at 1440 and land in Montpellier at 1635, with the return service departing Montpellier at 1710 and arriving in Amsterdam at 1910.

Only low cost carriers expanded passenger numbers during the downturn.
Ryanair carried 81.7m passengers in 2014.

Ferries :
After the only potential buyers failed to agree terms with the unions, and the EU deemed a French government bailout illegal SeaFrance went into liquidation. A new company - MyFeryLink rose from the ashes funded by Eurotunnel: https://www.myferrylink.com
There are monopoly concerns with ongoing legal action. MyFerryLink is currently still operational offering some low prices.

DFDS seaways generally offer good short route rates with their Dover - Dunkerque service. LD lines tend to be competitive on longer routes. As always there are many special offers and they may be worthwhile.

Property :
2014 has again been a relatively quiet year for property sales in Languedoc. Desirable, realistically priced houses continue to sell. Languedoc prices remain attractive compared with those in Provence and Cote d'Azur. Transaction prices have dropped although many unsold houses do not reflect this. The improvement in the UK market and weakening of the Euro has encouraged more UK buyers. The UK TV programmers have noted this and included more "Home in the Sun" type shows in their schedules. The current French government are seen as having failed to turn round the economy. Agents are expecting a stagnant domestic market for some years to come and many have expanded their rental services.

French Politics :
In keeping with other European countries there has been a swing to the right. In France the centre right has little presence and Front National has benefited. The splitting of the right vote may result in the current government being re-elected.

There will be a reduction in the number of regions. Languedoc Roussillon will be merged with Midi Pyrenees. The regional "capital" is likely to become Toulouse. This is said to be a cost saving measure. Perhaps a more effective cost saving measure would have been to tackle the 1,555 individual communes in Languedoc Roussillon.

The current government has instituted changes of an ideological nature that will affect the French way of life. One element of this is building low cost and social housing in villages that previously were not required to provide them because they were too small. Many of my local villages have such projects currently under construction. The strengthened powers of the agglomerations has been used to allocate low cost housing to smaller villages. Land is acquired by compulsory purchase or pre-emption at a low cost then sold to a developer at a high price. The planning rules have been relaxed to allow this high density housing. There are various official organisations that manage this. In my village the planning rule used to be plots of 2000m2 and a maximum of 400m2 living area. This came down to 1000m2 with mains drainage, but is now down to 250m2 for the new projects. Villages have little employment or facilities, so there are problems resulting from increased traffic, schooling, sewage and power requirements. The local Maire has a remuneration scale based on population. The more cynical may suggest that this improves the socialist vote in the villages.

Another project has been launched with the same intentions. BIMBY (build in my back yard) is the relaxation of building requirements of existing property. A neighbour has recently constructed three additional properties on a relatively small plot.
http://bimby.fr

Exchange rates :
The pound has improved to around £1 = €1.34. It is unclear how much the change is due to increased UK prosperity or concerns over the Euro in Southern Europe.

Tour de France 2015 :
The final detail route is not normally announced until around April, so allowing plenty of time for rumours and guesstimates !

This year, unusually, the route bypasses Languedoc with exception of a short distance in Lozere.

The Languedoc Forum :
http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB3

Forums, in general, have suffered from the growth of Facebook. Forums evolved from bulletin boards and I guess evolution is inevitable. 76,000 topics were opened and read in January 2015 (276,000 Q1 2014) but only 36 new posts were made, many by me. The number of visitors reflects the high presence of topics in search engines - the low number of posts indicates the switch to Facebook. 30 logged on members checked the forum in January 2015 - many of those are also active on Facebook.

Facebook is easier to use and the group I set up (https://www.facebook.com/groups/3336035598 ) is now much more active with 800+ users. My thinking is I should "freeze" the forum and focus on Facebook. This would allow access to info via search engines but not allow further posting. I will probably do this in the next month or so.

The Languedoc Page :
www.the-languedoc-page.com
The Languedoc Page continues to be well referenced by search engines. The Languedoc Page has been listed on the first page for the keyword “languedoc” on google.com and google.co.uk since November 2005.

It needs updating and I see that as a priority for 2015. I intend to remove all advertising and just use it as an information source.


Have a great 2015

Peter

© The Languedoc Page, January 2015

If you wish to use any of this content, please contact us at contact@the-languedoc-page.com
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