Languedoc Property Blog: News and Information from the region

Mimosas in Roquebrun – observed by Claudia Goetting

Spring is about to knock at the door. The village of Roquebrun also known as petit nice de l’Herault is preparing for its 22 fete des mimosas – A very flowery and funny spectacle.

Throughout the day, there are many different exhibitors with local products and also you find food catered for all tastes. The highlight is certainly the procession of cars decorated with mimosas and the performances of the local dance clubs in the afternoon. Eight different artists provide the musical entertainment the whole day.
It starts at 9:00 clock and makes you in the middle of winter feel the soon approaching spring.
Let’s get trapped from simple, French country life -so typical for the Herault.

While you are there you may like to see the following property in nearby Lamalou

You can call Claudia Goetting on 06 04 07 48 21 or claudia@leggett.fr

 

 

Limoux – it’s party time again!

For those of you who don’t know it – Limoux carnival goes on.. and on.. and on. The longest in the French calendar..

From the Midi-France site, there is lots of history…

“The typical village fête is held in late summer when the nights are still warm, and the crops and grapes have been harvested. But the annual fête in Limoux, is different in almost every respect. For a start it lasts not three days, but over two months; and not in summer but mid winter. It is the earliest and longest fête in the French calendar, starting in January and continuing until two weeks before Easter Sunday.”

You can read much more at www.midi-france.info/041106_fecos.htm

Happy New Year – 2013 promises to be a busy year.

Amidst the doom and gloom of the media on both sides of the English Channel, 2012 turned out to be another record year for Leggett Immobilier.

Judging by the enquiries being received to view properties, it looks like 2013 will be even busier.

January is also the start of the property Exhibition season, kicking off with the France Show at Earls Court, London from 18th to the 21st.

Leggett will of course be well represented, with 2 stands – and our own Anna Sirinides will be representing the Team Languedoc. We wish her every success in showing all our great properties to new clients and persuading them to visit us soon.

If you want to attend, or are just curious, please follow the link below..

http://www.thefranceshow.com/

A happy New Year to you all..

The truffle season is upon us…

The black gold of the Minervois.. the humble Truffle

It is through my daily work that I was introduced to this quiet corner of the Minervois. The small but perfectly formed village of Villeneuve-Minervois not only is a pretty village sitting at the foot of the Montaigne Noire, but it also a village famed for its reverence of the Truffle. Forget immediate visions of delicious chocolate confectionary.. we are talking the dark, bulbous, earthy-smelling delicacy searched by restraunteurs the world over.

Now I am no expert in such foods enjoyed by the rich and famous, so I decided to do a little research with the  help of the Mairie de Villeneuve Minervois..

“Very little is known of the history of the truffle until the middle ages, before this time, truffles were seen by the Church as a food of the devil and those caught growing or cultivating truffles risked being burnt at the stake alongside those suspected of being witches”.


“In the 19th Century there was high production of cultivated truffles around the vineyards, fuelled by rich vignerons in the area. However, the phylloxara plague which wiped out many vineyards also saw the death of the truffle spores as vines were dug up and destroyed”.
Demand in the early to mid 20th Century was also subdued, due to two World Wars when only basic foods were grown on the land, and it was only as late as 1974 when a federation was formed to encourage the planning of trees with the truffle spores enriched in the root stock.
The Aude department now produces in excess of 1500Kgm of mainly black truffles and this is set to increase as more spores are introduces and reach maturity. Prices for the best examples of truffle regularly reach in excess of €1000 per kilo and the season in Villeneuve-Minervois runs from December through to February. If you have never seen a truffle auction or market, it really is worth a day out, and Villeneuve-Minervois does it in style.

The Brotherhood
The Brotherhood – or “la Confrérie Los Trufaïres de Vilanova de Menerbès” to give the Occitan name they have adopted, give real drama to the truffle. They are easy to spot in their black hats and robes, and add ceremony to the production and marketing of the truffle. Beginning with the 1st Truffle Market on the 29th December 2012 and culminating in the last of the Markets on the 9th February 2013 – and a dinner featuring… you guessed it – the humble truffle.

Thanks to the Mairie de Villeneuve-Minervois for the information.. please visit their excellent website for more information about the truffle, the truffle markets and of course, the Truffle Museum. http://www.villeneuve-minervois.com

Carcassonne – city of Summer!

Summer brings the great music festivals, running from mid-June to early August making many a memorable evening for the lucky audience. With lots of acts spanning Opera, Folk, Blues, Jazz, Rock to 80’s pop – this year’s headline acts have been nothing short of stunning.

Yet to come this year are Alice Cooper, Johnny Hallyday, Duran Duran, plus many great free concerts. One of the highlights so far has been the production of Verdi’s Aida, set under a star-lit Mediterranean sky, with distant lightning flashes and rolls of thunder – such a great night.

City of towers and turrets – Carcassonne

In the midst of the summer festivals of course is the Bastille Day firework display, which is simply awesome. Always attracting upwards of 750,000 spectators, this is one spectacle not to missed, with many people bringing along a picnic to make a whole day of it.

Carcassonne is a city that always likes to give, all year round. Many festivals happen, including the great Spanish festival on the last weekend of August, the Feria de Carcassonne and of course the wonderful Christmas festival which includes the torch-lit procession from the gates of La Cite to Place Carnot in the Bastide. This forms part of the Telethon fundraising night, but with groups coming from Spain with their unbelievable mediaeval costume and instruments. This is always a great favourite in the prelude to Christmas.

Get ready for the Tour de France 2012!

Excitement is building again. Every year, the massive carnival that is The Tour de France visits the Languedoc, around Bastille Day. This year, Limoux has the great honour of sending off the riders on the 191 Km stage from Limoux to Foix.

Us Brits have great hopes this year for Bradley Wiggins and of course the Manxman Mark Cavendish, who could bring home the yellow and green jersey for the first time in Tour history.

You can visit the progress and plan your viewing point on the official Tour website here.. http://www.letour.fr

Spotlight on: Villeneuve Minervois – by Anna Sirinides

Villeneuve Minervois has that certain “je ne sais quoi” of a southern French village that many search for, but few find. Nestled between the Montagne Noir (Black Mountains) and the wine soils of the Minervois, this tree lined village is only 15 minutes from the centre ofCarcassonneand just 20 minutes from the airport.

Villeneuve Minervois

 

Originally called Saint-Etienne de Clamoux, the village has a rich historical heritage with origins after the end of the Albigensian or Cathar Crusade (1209–1229). In the past, the village was primarily known as that of a wine-growing village, but in more recent years, Villeneuve has become famed for the production of  Truffles- and nicknamed ‘Black Diamonds’. The commune and its surroundings encompass more than40 hectaresin plantations of truffle oaks. Secrecy surrounds the harvesting of the truffle, but an estimate suggests production of the ‘Black Diamond’ at several tens of kilos. Truffle festivals take place in December, January and February each year, and in years to come, the truffle will develop into an important economic and cultural part of the village.

The village offers most of the commerce you would want: a doctor, pharmacy, mini-supermarket, bakery, butchers, post office, takeaways, and hairdressers/barbers. Enjoy a bite to eat and cool drink at the local café/bar, or a delicious meal at the Auberge. A third restaurant will open soon.  The village boasts several wineries, open for tastings during the summer months. Visit Domaine Bezneath for a guided tour of the working windmill- used for the manufacture of flour.

The village is in close proximity to three extremely popular tourist attractions. The Châteaux de Lastours are four so-called Cathar castles built on a rocky spur above the villageof Lastours. Isolated by the deep valleys of the Orbeil and Grésilhou rivers, the site has been classified monument historique (historic monument) by the French Ministry of Culture since 1905, and archaeological digs are still in progress. The Gouffre Geante de Cabrespine, or Chasm of Cabrespine, was  first discovered in the 1970s and is one of the largest caves in the world that is open to the public.  The cave is150 meters long and almost300 meters high! The world famous Grotte of Limousis dates back at least to the Neolithic Period, when it was inhabited by man. It was also used in Roman times and in the Middle-Ages. The cave was formed from limestone in the primary era, and hollowed out by an underground river.

Further a field, the village is just 25 minutes from the Canal du Midi and Lac Jouarres, with the Mediterranean coast 50 minutes drive. This perfect location is a year-round haven for hikers, cyclists, wine connoisseurs and tourists alike. Why not try your hand at caving, barging on the canal, sailing, water skiing, wind surfing or snow skiing/boarding? Fancy a day-trip toSpain? Not a problem!Spainis just 90 minutes away.

We have a number of properties for sale in this fantastic village. Check out our ‘Property of the Week’- a superbly renovated four bedroom home with income-producing opportunity!

Spring is here – the blossom is out – life is good..

After the mini-ice age we had in February when all of Europe was in the grip of an Arctic blast, it’s great to see us back on track with 20 degree temperatures, blue skies and the first flush of Spring in the air.

The Almond blossom is out in bloom, the bees are gathering pollen, the butterflies are flitting amongst the small flowers in the verges and the birds are singing in the trees. Life is good in these parts. We can take lunch in the sun and enjoy what is best about living in the South of France.

More good news – Ryanair announce new flights

On the back of recent good news about new routes and major redevelopment at Carcassonne airport come news that as from March 2012, a major new route will be inaugurated. The new route from Bournemouth will open up the region to a whole host of new holiday makers and property seekers, which is great news for all of us! Well done Ryanair!

Carcassonne Airport to undergo major revamp

Known by many for it’s charm and friendliness, ease of use and lack of “shopping opportunities”, Carcassonne Airport is about to get a big facelift over the coming years. An investment of some €55 million, funded by the Regional Council of Languedoc-Roussillon,  Conseil Général of Aude and the town councils of Narbonne and Carcassonne, will see a relaid runway, improvements to infrastructure, car parking and a new passenger terminal with improved baggage handling facilities.

The management of the airport passed from the local Chamber of Commerce to French Services giant Veolia last summer after a bitter round of bidding. Of course, this was celebrated by an increase in car parking charges.

Under the terms of the bid, Veolia have been tasked with increasing the number of annual passengers from around 400,000 currently to 500,000 by 2017. This will be achieved by increasing the number of routes served by the worlds favourite airline Ryanair, who many expats, holiday makers, local holiday home owners rely on for frequent low-cost flights. We would expect to see more routes and probably greater frequency of flights to popular destinations.