Letters in April


Bees in jewellery store sting

15,000 bees swarmed a jewellery store in Montpellier city centre last Wednesday. Here are some readers’ suggestions for an alternative headline.



“What’s the Buzz, Honey?”


“Bee IS The New Black”

“Never Bee-fore Prices”

32 hour week

We asked for answers on a postcard in the article.  A reader said:

“Having had to visit our local CPAM office in Frontignan 7 times in the last 12 months and finding the words ‘exceptionnellement ferme’ on the door for 4 of those visits, I would be delighted if they raised their working week to 32 hours instead of being open only 3 mornings a week (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) and open in the afternoons only ‘sur rendezvous’!

“In a country noted for its ‘work to live’ philosophy and customer service about as warm as an ice cube, the argument that this will create jobs is fallacious to the point of derision. Does anyone actually believe that wages for the 32-hour week will be cut pro rata in order to increase the working population? Or accept that the work force will be more productive? The self-serving unions would see red and organise even more protests to ‘protect’ their members’ rights. What next? The 25-hour working week by 2020?

“Maybe it’s time to put a sign up saying ‘exceptionnellement ouvert’ at CPAM offices!”

[Couldn’t agree more, it seems astonishingly naïve to think that this will help increase employment – Ed]


Thanks to all of you who wrote in to wish Ed’s mother a happy 90th birthday. A good time was had by all at the beautiful Chateau de Rieutort, thanks to great hosts Peter and Karina, with exceptional food by Gilles from Au Fil De L’Aire. More on that next week.

What Brits abroad can do to keep UK in the EU

In response to this article, Gail, who is in Montdardier, Gard for 2 weeks has offered to help in the campaign. If you can join forces and help, please contact us and we will pass on Gail’s contact details. 

Béziers Airport

Robert Ménard on the offensive.

“Is this a late April Fool? I feel embarrassed on Ménard’s behalf about these posters. And I understood that the Beziers airport closure threat had gone away anyway?”

[Depending on who you talk to, seems to depend on whether the airport closure is a real threat, or a storm in a tea-cup. As Montpellier airport beef up the campaign for extensions, it’s inevitable that the threat will rear up again. That said, someone needs to advise Ménard on his tactics. – Ed]

Languedoc Living

“I enjoy your publication but I find the greyish or sepia print difficult to read. Maybe it’s “modern” but there is not enough contrast. Please consider making it easier on the eyes by darkening the print. We of “a certain age” would be very grateful. Thanks.”

[We will have a look at changing this to make the contrast greater. Thanks for pointing it out. Ed]

“Can you create an entertaining quasi political socio economic daily (thrice weekly?) column? The thought occurred following a letter by one of your readers who was upset by your ‘non balanced’ piece on “The Referendum”. You should be upsetting more folk like that – and even me – on a regular basis.”

[We’re working on this idea (the column, not the intent to upset) – Ed]