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

New asset for P-O gendarmes

alpine gendarme

The gendarmes of the P-O have just taken delivery of a new rapid intervention vehicle – a Renault Alpine A110.  The car will be used mainly for special missions on the A9 motorway.  This stretch of road is often the scene of ‘Go-Fasts’, where criminals attempt to outrun the police – but this powerful new car which can go from 0 – 100kmh in just 5 seconds should prove more than a match for most high-speed chases.  So far, just two officers (from the Pollestres platoon) are qualified to drive this car.

Fire at Caves Byrrh in Thuir

A major fire broke out in the early hours of Tuesday morning in the prestigious Caves Byrrh which is most famous for housing the largest oak barrel in the world.  The roof was badly damaged but the team of forty firefighters were able to save all the barrels and historic documents and posters.  The building will require a long period of renovations but staff are hoping to open at least part of the building shortly in order not to miss the tourist season.  So far the fire is believed to have started accidentally but forensic experts are still investigating.

Court date set following fatal accident in Villeneuve-de-la-Raho.

andre slatkin

In February, an 8 year-old boy was hit by a car as he crossed the road by Lake Raho, and shortly afterwards died in hospital.  The driver, a 56 year old woman at first claimed that she realised what she had done but later, on hearing that the boy had died, claimed that she had not seen him because she was dazzled by the sun, which is why she continued for several hundred metres.  Witnesses claim that she was speeding and that the boy was in fact on the pedestrian crossing with his family, and that another car in the opposite lane had already stopped to let them pass.  A trial date has been set for September.

Man injured after falling from bridge in Marquixanes


Rescuers were called to Marquixanes in the early evening of Saturday when a 40 year old man fell off a bridge over the River Têt and badly injured his skull.  The man was part of a group of around 10 people on the bridge at the time and according to witnesses he was acting irrationally before falling into a ditch near the bridge, descending the slope down and being carried away by the Tet current.  One of his friends jumped in to try to help, but also had to be rescued, suffering from shock and hypothermia.

Pollen alert in the Pyrénées-Oriéntales

hayfever pollen

Due to the sudden increase in temperatures (ie up to 30° this week) the department is on level 4 (out of 4) for grass allergies.  A Samu team were called to the Anatole France elementary school in Perpignan on Friday where 5 children from the same class developed the same sudden allergy – itchy red eyes, runny noses etc.  The first-aiders provided eye drops and deduced that it was nothing more serious than a pollen allergy caused by a classroom window being left open.

And finally…

oopsA driver joined the A9 at the Rivesaltes toll booth and then proceeded to drive 50 kilometres on the wrong side of the motorway.  Miraculously (and perhaps helped by the fact it was 5am on a Sunday morning), she didn’t cause any accidents and was finally arrested at the Narbonne péage, where she was tested for drugs and alcohol but passed both.  The Spanish lady explained that she had wanted to go to Spain but because her GPS was broken she got lost and didn’t even realise she was driving in the wrong direction – let alone on the wrong side of the road.

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

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