We are both fascinated by the history and environment of the Haues Corbieres.
On this page I hope to link you up with the assorted pages and posts we have written about the environment, history, people and economy of the High Corbieres. It is a work in progress so please bear with us.
We live in a breath taking beautiful area of French occupied Occitania. The flora and fauna of the Mediterranean is one of the richest on the planet and this is well manifested in the forests and garrigue of the high Corbieres.
The human history of the area is also a source of rich inspiration.
The High Corbieres is not an easy place to live, isolated and economically perilous, we all face complex and difficult issues in our day to day lives. The Aude is the second poorest Department of Metropolitan France, the poorest being our neighbours in the Ariege. The decline of the agrarian economy has lead to a desertification of marginal agricultural areas such as ours, youth flight to urban areas, and the ensuing aging population alongside the slow decline in state support has reduced the human capital that is needed to run a thriving local economy.
Tourism has had an impact, the arrival of low cost flights from the likes of Ryanair and flybe have transformed villages. The low cost of property has attracted a large swathe of Northern Europeans looking for a cheap place in the sun, as were we 18 years ago. Villages that were ruined and deserted have now bean renovated. But outside of July and August they are still deserted. In winter the only signs of human life is the smoke from chimney pots.
But the area has a huge potential. Our low level of economic activity at present means that our agricultural land is one of the cheapest in the country. The slow decline of the wine industry means that we have one of the lowest pollution levels in France, with little risk of contamination from neighbouring industrial wine producers means the potential of organic agriculture in all it’s rich diversity is enormous.
It is not a question of marching backwards into the future but rediscovered traditional local agriculture and craft industries and using the advances of modern technology to transform them for a modern age.
In a world that is increasing separating out nature from human activity there is a strong counter movement of people trying to reconnect to the roots of things, local producers, local products and local people. It is an old phrase but “Think globally, act locally” is a perfect motto for the High Corbieres. End of rant.
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