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
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
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
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
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'
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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,
*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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
© The Languedoc Page, January 2012
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