….a quick glance at the latest local news with Caroline Manson

Two suspects arrested in fire investigation

fire banyuls

In April this year a huge fire swept through 900 hectares of land between Cerbère and Banyuls-sur-Mer.  More than 500 firefighters battled to extinguish the blaze, and many households had to be evacuated.  From the outset, arson was suspected and now two local men in their 60s have been arrested on charges of ‘involuntary destruction by fire’ and ‘deliberate breach of an obligation of safety or caution’.  The prosecutor had originally asked that they be held in custody pending trial to prevent them from changing their statements – but also to prevent them being attacked by inhabitants of Cerbère, where tensions still remain high.  They have been released on bail pending further investigations. 

Rugby supporters bus wedged under bridge


At around 10pm on Saturday August 26th, firefighters received a call to say that a bus was wedged underneath a bridge on the road along the Têt in Perpignan.  The bus contained 50 Wigan rugby fans, elated after their decisive win against the Catalan Dragons.  Luckily only a very few people were injured, two being taken to Perpignan Hospital, and the other supporters were able to transfer into a second bus.  The road had to be closed but traffic returned to normal at half past midnight. 

Climate change activists paint fresco in dry river bed

fresco agly

A giant fresco of nearly 25 metres by 45 metres has appeared in the dry river bed of the Agly, near Perpignan, installed by ANV-COP21, the climate change activists.  It is in the form of the logo of TotalEnergies, and pictures a man drinking from a petrol pump with the slogan ‘They have no more water? Let them drink petrol’ – a reference to Marie-Antoinette’s famous ‘let them eat cake’ comment.  While TotalEnergies is not entirely responsible for the lack of water in the region, the activists are demanding that they use some of their 36 billion euros profit to aid in the fight against global warming. 

Uniforms may be introduced for primary schools

school uniform

Louis Aliot, the Mayor of Perpignan, has proposed an experiment in local primary schools, suggesting that all pupils wear a uniform.  He feels this will promote ‘equal opportunities and fight against social inequalities’ – particularly the competition for children to wear the latest designer clothes and fashions to school.  It will also deter students from coming to school in religious clothes.  The timing of this announcement is not insignificant, given that Gabriel Attal, the new Minister of National Education has just forcefully reiterated his view that “the Abaya has no place in our schools” (the long black dress worn by some young girls of Muslim faith).  Whatever outfit is chosen, the city will take care of the expenses so will therefore save parents money. 

Covid cases on the increase

covid test

Since mid-August, pharmacists in the P-O have recorded an increase in Covid-19 screenings, through self-test sales but also with the amount of tests they are asked to carry out in the pharmacy.  This is three to four times more than the number of tests carried out in July.  And the results are increasingly positive with between 15 – 20% of tests showing the dreaded line.  They assure us that while the incident rate is rising, we are not facing a new epidemic wave – but as pharmacists are now under no obligation to report positive cases and it is up to the goodwill of the patient to declare his infection, who knows… 

Hiker dies after fall


A hiker in his twenties died last Tuesday morning while climbing the Carlit in the Pyrénées-Oriéntales.  The young man, from Saint-Féliu-d’Avall, had set off to climb the 2921 metre peak with two friends when he slipped on the rock face.  Rescue services were alerted but due to bad weather and poor visibility had to search on foot, supported by a helicopter from the Ariège. The young man’s lifeless body was located and evacuated late in the afternoon and it is suspected that recent snowfall had made the rock unusually slippery.

And finally…

The plane carrying the Catalan Dragons rugby team, due to land at Perpignan-Rivesaltes at 3.15am, was unable to land due to a problem with the runway lights.  The plane was diverted to Montpellier, where, due to the unexpected arrival, nobody was available to process them.  Finally at 5.15am, having had to wait for one hour in the plane, they were able to pass through customs and leave the airport, only to find that there was no bus waiting to transport them.  The individual players resorted to ordering several Uber drivers to take them to Perpignan, where they finally arrived at 8am.  They also lost the match.


Caroline Manson is an independent Property Consultant – for advice on buying, selling, renting or renovating, don’t hesitate to contact her at


  1. Thanks Caroline always interesting to read your ‘News”

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