by Madeleine McMullin
News from around the region, collated from local sources.
Castillet featured on coin by Jean-Paul Gaultier
The Mint in Paris has commissioned a series of coins from Jean-Paul Gaultier. One of 12 which show different regions of France features a couple dancing in front of the Castillet in Perpignan. On its Twitter feed the regional council claims that they are dancing the Sardane. It’s true that he is wearing vigatanes (traditional lace up espadrilles) and has his arms in the air but that is the only resemblance to the Sardane. Their garb is not traditional at all and she appears to be dancing flamenco.
Sinkhole opened up in Reynes
A hole 5m wide x 8m deep has appeared in the Mairie’s carpark in Reynès. The ground underneath is full of galleries from abandoned gypsum mines. It all started with a crack appearing and then heavy rain at the start of the year made the gypsum below dissolve and the ground gave way. The collapse is continuing taking trees down into it. An ex-miner thinks that the hole is where there was a vertical entrance shaft into the mines. The town hall has secured the perimeter and taken measures to drain any water to avoid further damage and experts are being called in to advise on how to stop further damage.
Pilgrim sharks off Le Barcarès
2 fishermen from St Hippolyte and Torreilles came across 6 or 7 pilgrim sharks about a mile and a half off Le Barcarès the other morning. They reckoned that the smallest was around 6-7m long and the largest twice the size of their boat, must have been around 12m. The sharks swam under them and round them much to their delight.
Traffic at Perpignan airport increasing due to Hop!
The number of passengers using the airport has increased by 8.7% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, to a total of 61,957. This included an extra 3000 on Hop! in March. The Director is working to get a flight to Charles de Gaulle in place.
900 bottles into Leucate oyster beds
Laurent Maynadier a wine maker in Fitou has been submerging bottles of wine in the Leucate oyster beds for the last 7 years. He initially experimented with various depths and different grape varieties but he has now concluded that bottles of white Corbières particularly benefit from 9 months at 5m down in the lagoon. Fitou and muscat on the other hand need oxygen and don’t like being at sea.
On Sunday 9th April, there were 4 motorhomes in a Salse le Chateau carpark. A couple asleep in one of them was woken by a noise to see a man entering and stealing a couple of handbags on the table near the door. The husband threw himself on the burglar and in the ensuing struggle they fell out of the van. His brother-in-law who was asleep in the neighbouring van came across and helped to subdue the intruder who was handed over to the gendarmes. The locks of all 4 motorhomes had been forced. The man was brought before the court on Tuesday and claimed that he had only turned to crime because his wife and he were going to be thrown out of their flat and were destitute, eating from supermarket bins. He said that it was the first time he had ever committed an offence – something that his criminal record showed was blatantly untrue: he’d only got out of prison last year and had a long history of thefts and violence. He was sentenced to 12 months with no parole; the sentence to start immediately.
Perpignan firm’s success
I See U, a digital firm in Perpignan is behind some very successful apps including VeryChic, an app to book luxury hotels at less than €99 which won the Phonelife magazine’s “app of the year” award. AccorHotels is rumoured to be buying a 75% stake in Catalan VeryChic, the firm for whom the app was designed.
Woman falls from 3rd floor
A 41 year old woman was seriously injured after a fall of 3 floors. from an apartment window in rue de la Barre in Perpignan. First indications point to a suicide attempt but the police are investigating.
Procession de la Sanch – legal or not?
Does the hooded procession of penitents break the laws defending the separation of church and state? Article 1 which came into force in 2011 states: “Nobody can wear anything that is intended to hide his face in a public place”. However article 2 goes on to add unless the practice “is in a context of sport, festivals or artistic or traditional performances”.
Nevertheless the Sanch is ostentatiously religious and you could argue that it should be banned in a country where church and state are separated. The circular with comments on the law’s application says that “religious processions of a traditional character are covered by the clause on exceptions”. Phew!
Catalan accents banned from TV news
In an article on Le Monde’s website entitled “Why do all journalists speak with the same accent on TV news programmes?” the deputy director of editing France TV admitted that someone from Perpignan with a Catalan accent would have no chance of getting hired for a national programme. “Anyone whose accent doesn’t fit the mould is sent back to their region and I think that is fine as nobody understands what they are saying”. The selection process starts in journalism schools where anybody who doesn’t change their accent is directed to print journalism.
Buy some pure Canigó air
FEPCO (Foire Expo Prades Conflent Organisation) has canned the air from the top of the Canigó and is selling it at the tourist office in Prades. Fifty 50cc tins of the air were available from the beginning of April for €5. They have a humorous label which features a picture of the Canigó (of course).
Body found in Têt at Cattlar
On Monday 3rd April the body of a man was found half submerged in the waters of the Têt under a bridge around Catllar. The gendarmes were called and they are trying to match up the man to disappearances reported in the area, such as François Germain, an 88 year old man with Alzheimer’s who left his home in Prades on 18 Feb and hasn’t been seen since.
€1000 fine for dog owner
An owner whose dog dug its way out of his garden and bit the neighbour who was putting rubbish in the bins found himself with a suspended €1000 fine. The Belgian Shepherd had never broken out before. The victim had to have an operation and 21 days off work. The owner reinforced the fencing and his insurance paid for the medical care, and he offered to put the dog down. The victim however is an animal lover and didn’t want to see him destroyed. She asked for a new wall to be built but he refused and ended up in court for involuntary injuries caused by a domestic animal. The judge acknowledged the circumstances but felt obliged to impose a fine “of principle” – €1000 suspended.