Since I moved here five years ago house prices have gone up dramatically. Gone are the days when £100,000 would buy you a château and 70 acres. Now you’d be hard pressed to get a two-up two-down on a housing estate for less than that.
There is one notable exception though. Tucked away in the idyllic national park of the High Languedoc is a region where not prices are not only falling, but those trying to sell are finding it impossible to do so. This is because two local mayors were the only ones in the whole of the Hérault to agree to a landfill site right in the middle of the nature reserve.
Locals are facing the possibility of a hole in the ground stretching XX by XX and 30 trucks a day negotiating the windy roads through Medieval villages to get there.
Understandably they are up in arms. Simon Fletcher a landscape artist and architect has lived in the region for over 25 years. He is at the forefront of the local opposition group Pave dans la Mere. “
The site is apparently necessary because the region is 10 years behind the rest of France when it comes to recycling household waste. The plan is it will run for eight years until the local councils have got it together to supply everyone with bins which they separate their rubbish into. According to local geologist Cornelius Mende, it is a terrible spot for such a site. “
Helena Frith Powell was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Italian father, but grew up mainly in England. She is the author of eleven books, translated into several languages including Chinese and Russian. She wrote the French Mistress column The Sunday Times about life in France for several years. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Tatler Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.
Helena has been the editor of four magazines, including M Magazine, a supplement for the Abu Dhabi based National Newspaper and FIVE, a high-end fashion glossy, also published in Abu Dhabi. Helena was also editor in chief of 360 Life, a quarterly glossy magazine published with the Sports 360 Newspaper in Dubai, part of the Chalhoub Group. She writes a beauty blog wwwbeautyorbeast.uk.
Her third novel, The Arnolfini Marriage, based on a romance that evolves around a van Eyck masterpiece came out in 2016. As well as writing regularly for newspapers and magazines, Helena is also working on a thriller called Welcome to Sweden that will be published in spring 2018. Her latest non-fiction work Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles is out in hardback and will be out in paperback in January 2018.
Helena was educated at Durham University and lived in the Languedoc region of France for eight years, where the family still have a home. She lives in London with her husband Rupert and their three children.
More France Please, we’re British; Gibson Square 2004
Two Lipsticks and a Lover 2005; Gibson Square (hardback)
All You Need to be Impossibly French; (US version of above) Penguin 2006
Two Lipsticks and a Lover; Arrow Books (paperback) 2007
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (hardback) 2006
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (paperback) 2007
So Chic! (French version of Two Lipsticks) Leduc Editions 2008 (also translated into Chinese, Russian and Thai)
More, More France; Gibson Square 2009
To Hell in High Heels; Arrow Books 2009 (also translated into Polish)
The Viva Mayr Diet; Harper Collins 2009
Love in a Warm Climate; Gibson Square 2011
The Ex-Factor; Gibson Square 2013
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles; Gibson Square 2016
The Arnolfini Marriage; Amazon Kindle December 2016
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles (paperback); Gibson Square January 2018
Welcome to Sweden; Gibson Square spring 2018