After the Gard, it’s now the Hérault’s turn to undergo a wave of paying car parks.
This is the lottery of summer: find a free parking place without a parking meter. Which is sometimes possible, but difficult. For a swim in La Grande-Motte, the crafty ones park their car on the side of the D 59 along the coast towards Carnon to avoid paying.
In Sète, other cunning drivers find ways to avoid paying. In the maze of alleys of the Villeroy district you’ll find the last roads that will still be free after August 1, near the beach where Brassens wanted to be buried. Local residents are now leaving their cars outside their garage – to avoid being blocked in.
Eric explained, saying “I fear there will be cars permanently parked in front of my house. Tourists will saturate the area instead of parking on paid-for car parks.”
President of the association “Guardians of the Thau”, Catherine Chauzit even launched an online petition, already carrying a thousand signatures. Her conclusion: access to the Med is becoming less and less free. “Privatization is gaining ground on our coast,” she grumbles, “The reasons are the same everywhere. Beach maintenance is more and more expensive. Tourists must be made to contribute to the effort because municipal finances have dried up due to the State’s withdrawal.”
A local resident added, “Who worries about the residents who pay the price of congestion for several months of the year?”
In the Aude, there remain very few paid parking places on the seafront. Leucate charges some of its car parks. For the mayor of Gruissan (Aude), Didier Codorniou, maintaining a free parking is a “political will. It also helps the local economy. Our beaches attract everyone and local businesses benefit.”