Hérault

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Hérault
Department
Prefecture building of the Hérault department, in Montpellier
Prefecture building of the Hérault department, in Montpellier
Coat of arms of Hérault
Coat of arms
Location of Hérault in France
Location of Hérault in France
Coordinates: 43°21′N 3°13′E / 43.350°N 3.217°E / 43.350; 3.217Coordinates: 43°21′N 3°13′E / 43.350°N 3.217°E / 43.350; 3.217
Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Prefecture Montpellier
Subprefectures Béziers
Lodève
Government
 • President of the General Council André Vezinhet (PS)
Area1
 • Total 6,101 km2 (2,356 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 1,080,823
 • Rank 21st
 • Density 180/km2 (460/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Department number 34
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 49
Communes 343
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Hérault (French pronunciation: ​[eʁo]; Occitan: Erau) is a department in the south of France named after the Hérault river. It is part of the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the country.

History[edit]

Hérault is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from part of the former province of Languedoc.

At the beginning of the 20th century, viticulture in the region was devastated by a slump in sales combined with disease affecting the vines, and thousands of small scale producers revolted. This revolt was suppressed very harshly by the government of Georges Clemenceau.

The catastrophic frost of the winter of 1956 damaged the olive trees, and the olive-growing regions did not recover until the late 1980s. Many of the olive-industry co-ops closed.

During the second half of the twentieth century the Montpellier basin underwent one of the most rapid population increases experienced anywhere in France.

Geography[edit]

Main article: Geography of Hérault

Hérault is part of the current region of Languedoc-Roussillon and is surrounded by the departments of Aude, Tarn, Aveyron, Gard, and the Mediterranean (Gulf of Lion) on the south.

The department is very geographically diverse, with beaches in the south, the Cévennes mountains in the north, and agricultural land in between.

The important rivers are:

The area of Hérault near the town of Lodève is an antipode point with Chatham Island, off the east coast of New Zealand.

Climate[edit]

Early depiction of Jesus Christ on a sarcophagus, Hérault, France, 6th century. Louvre Museum.

The average daytime temperature is around 25-30 degrees Celsius in July and August and 8-10 degrees Celsius in December and January.

Politics[edit]

The President of the General Council is André Vézinhet of the Socialist Party.

Party seats
Socialist Party 31
Miscellaneous Left 6
Union for a Popular Movement 5
French Communist Party 3
Miscellaneous Right 3
Hunting, Fishing, Nature, Tradition 1

Demographics[edit]

The inhabitants of the department are called Héraultais.

Culture[edit]

Montpellier hosts the following festivals:

  • Saperlipopette, voilà Enfantillages !
  • Printemps des Comédiens
  • Festival du Cinéma Méditerranéen
  • Comédie du Livre
  • Festival Radio-France Montpellier
  • Festival Montpellier Danse

The Canal du Midi has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Tourism[edit]

The Mediterranean beaches are a major attraction, as well as the caves of Clamouse and Demoiselles.

Pézenas, former Royal city, has one of the oldest French "secteur sauvegardé", meaning an urban protected area. More than 30 mansions, with stone stairs, courtyards, decorated facades are located in a small perimeter (17 ha).

Part of Cap d'Agde is a major nudist resort.

Cruising along the Canal du Midi and walking or cycling along the tow paths is a popular holiday option.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]