Fri 03 Oct 2014

Midi Floods


While some of us were basking in unseasonal warm and dry weather, spare a thought for parts of the Languedoc where records were broken over the past few days.

The centre of the storm seemed to be over Montpellier itself and its immediate surrounds. Pictures show people kayaking down the street.

Midi flood


These storms tend to be a feature of France’s Mediterranean coastline during September and then principally about masses of warm humid air coming in from the sea and condensing over the Cevennes hills in the Languedoc. The effect of these storms can be quite dramatic and sometimes catastrophic. In the city itself, 200mm fell in just three hours.

Mercifully there were no fatalities, though an earlier cloudburst more inland in the Gard had claimed the lives of at least five people and had swept away camping sites and cars and had generally caused much damage.

Of the 2014 grape harvest, it would seem that many people had finished picking. Isabelle Champart in Saint Chinian finished last Sunday, the day before the storm, and is delighted with the quality as is Pierre Borie at Ollieux-Romanis in the Corbières. Pierre Clavel in the Pic Saint Loup and only a few miles from Montpellier had also just finished picking in time. His drive was washed away which might make visiting him a little problematic but the vines were not damaged and his well-drained soils coped well with the water. He described to me opening his front door to see a veritable sheet of water coming down.

I shall be there in November and hopefully will need neither wellies nor a kayak!

Marcel Orford-Williams
Society Buyer

Categories : France, South of France


  1. Nigel Corrigan says:

    Double whammy this year. I was in the Aude valley near Narbonne on July 6th when it was hit by a hailstorm that destroyed 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of vines and other fruit crops. The damage was so great that my car has only just been repaired at a cost of circa £10k.

    I will try to post the photos on facebook.

  2. David & Maggie says:

    We are spending all of October in Languedoc, based on the canal du midi near Bezier. Keen to visit a Picpoul du Pinet vineyard. Any suggestions?

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