Perols, Herault, Occitania, France

Pérols is a French commune located in the Hérault department in the Occitanie region, the commune is part of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole.

The commune of Pérols is located to the south-east of Montpellier, its old village about 8.5 kilometers as the crow flies from the Écusson. It borders Lattes from north to west, Mauguio from north to east, Palavas-les-Flots and Carnon (seaside resort in the municipality of Mauguio) to the south.

It is in 804 AD that one finds for the first time a written mention concerning the village, made in the cartulary of Gellonne, under the name of Perairolum.

The Greek or Etruscan sailors who landed here long before our era. That of the Romans in the 1st century AD, to whom we owe the development of the fish trade (ponds and coastal shipping). That of the men of the monasteries and of the powerful supervision of the bishops of Maguelone. The first «cabaniers», fishermen who around 1500 obtained from the Chapter a few acres of land, an often precarious lease which nevertheless allowed them to build huts to store boats and nets.

The men and women of the vineyard, planted in abundance in the region and which is traded. A hard life for farmers, especially in the XVI th century, when King Sun overwhelmed his people with heavy taxes raised under the strict eye of the Consuls and the first Mayors, whose office was created in 1689.

From 1130 to 1183, in the cartulary of Maguelone, we find successively Perolesp in 1130, Perols in 1181 and Mansus de Podiolis between 1175 and 1183. In «The ecclesiastical statute of Maguelone», it is given the name of Peyrolis vel Peroles. In 1570, on the first particular map of Languedoc, figure RERAUL. In 1626, the map of Jean de Beins indicates the pond of Peyrolz (old maps of Languedoc)

Finally the city seems to acquire its final name between 1649 and 1684: Pérols. The first Mayor of Pérols, Ignace Es-Tel, appointed on May 2, 1696 and who now had «the right to enjoy and use honors, to authorize prerogatives, privileges, exemptions and franchises, powers, attributions, functions and rights, in accordance with the edict of creation of mayors of August 1689 ”. The history of the first village festivals also came to brighten up the life of its inhabitants, we find traces of it as early as 1684, thanks to the outraged writings of the parish priest of Pérols: «we sometimes dance on holy days and we play there very often, especially with the ball, even in front of the church where we cannot pray to God ”.

During the French Revolution, the citizens of the town gathered within the revolutionary society, baptized «Republican Popular Society» in January 1791, then renamed «Mountain Republican Society» after the fall of the monarchy, and finally «Republican Society of mountain people without culottes ”.

The city pull the bull with the rope, we will place the winegrowers’ carts in a circle on the Town Hall Square for free races to take place, we will mark the bulls during ferrades in the meadows. The beginning of a long tradition of bullfighting festivals which continues today in Pérols all summer.

The city is gradually transforming to accommodate the new economy and the emerging needs of its inhabitants. The vineyard has given way to building land where houses, villas, green spaces and pleasant residential areas are now nestled. But the essential remains… The charm, the astonishing atmosphere of the Cabanes district.

The soul of fishermen, former winegrowers… it is the wealth of all these women and men that allows Pérols to be a city with a lively heart, proud of its past and of its cultural and festive traditions, resolutely. turned towards the future, respectful of its history and its heritage.

Historical heritage
Like other municipalities in the Montpellier Mediterranean Metropolis, the village of Pérols has become a town over the last century. In fact, its built heritage is limited. However, some buildings deserve a detour, they are linked to Pérols’ past. Others, by virtue of their primary function, have acquired an atypical character. Whether they are a civic place, of worship, of culture, of the past or of celebration, each has a different story.

City Hall
It was in 1878 that the construction of a real town hall was decided on on the current site. Pérols then had only 912 inhabitants. Construction began in 1880 under the mandate of Mr. Ardisson. For reasons of economy, we decided to install the schools on the ground floor in the same building and to accommodate the teachers upstairs. This is why the small street which runs alongside the building is called “rue des Écoles”. In 1950, the school was transferred to rue de la Guette, allowing municipal services to occupy the entire building.

In 1977 and then in 2000, the Town Hall was given a facelift: rehabilitation of the facade, redevelopment of offices located on the east wing and repair of Place Carnot. In 2002, an annex was built a few meters from the town hall. It overlooks the parking lot behind the church. It includes a meeting room, the wedding hall and the City Council.

With time and the growth of the population, new needs have arisen. To answer this, work is underway and an extension backing onto the Town Hall building was created in 2008. From an architectural point of view, the landscaping and town planning treatment is particularly original in the sense that the configuration of the site makes it difficult to simultaneously perceive the extension and the “old” building. This is thanks to the Place Carnot which highlights the classic volume of the Town Hall and the Rue des Écoles, the narrowness of which limits setbacks. In fact, the juxtaposition of contemporary architecture on a so-called classic construction is subtly articulated.

The arenas
The history of Pérols is closely linked to the bullfighting world. If the bulls run the streets of what was then a village, at the end of the XIX th century, the races were held on the Town Hall Square, in arenas made of odds and ends with carts in a circle. Neither comfort nor safety are then the main concerns, but the spirit of the bullfighting game is there.

The arenas as we know them today were commissioned on April 15, 1960. On the day of the inauguration, Rebuffat’s royal cocardière cow is on display with the renowned Miraillette and Foraine. From 1973, Pérols will then experience an extraordinary enthusiasm, with a new generation of raseteurs, like the SIMEON brothers, children of the country, who will drain the crowds for more than twenty years.

The arenas, whose 50th anniversary we have celebrated, have 2,200 seats. The track configuration is oval. It is here that most bullfighting events take place during the highlights of the local festival, at the beginning of August.

The cooperative cellar
Built in 1950, it is today a memory of the city’s wine past. To the right of the building, since 1932 stood a water tower fed by rainwater and pumping water. This water tower, filled the barrels of winegrowers sulphating their vines and supplied the public wash house which has now disappeared. In mid-February 1984, this too dilapidated building had to be destroyed.

The cooperative cellar, for its part, due to the disappearance of the cultivation of vines in Pérols, no longer has its own functions. It occupies a privileged place in the heart of the city, as an extension of the Noria district. Condemned in the medium term to demolition, it will undoubtedly give way to a major urban project.

Church St. Sixtus II
The Saint-Sixte II church is the most emblematic monument of the village. Its construction began in 1863 to replace the old, too small church (known as Saint-Sauveur). In the aftermath of the Second World War, a statue of the Virgin was erected on the bell tower, a pledge of gratitude from the villagers to the benevolent protection of the Virgin, because the village was spared during the Allied bombardments on the nearby airfield at the hands of the Nazis.

The first church known in the history of Pérols was located opposite the Town Hall. But it was in 1865 that we began to rebuild the Church and enlarge it. However, because of the war of 1870 and the wine crisis, the spire of the steeple was not launched as planned. Its construction was therefore stopped and replaced by a tiled roof with four slopes.

The church today bears the name of Saint Sixtus, Greek Pope. Originally and like many bell towers, it was baptized Saint-Sauveur. Towards the 15 th or 16 thcentury, the Pope demanded that all the so-called «minor» churches be renamed. Sixtus II was retained as Patron Saint of Pérols because it is celebrated in the Christian calendar, the day after Saint-Sauveur, August 7, date corresponding to the feast of Pérols. This is the reason why his effigy appears in the ancient coat of arms of Pérols and on the pediment of the Town Hall. Legends have it that Sixtus II Christianized the city, a story that is so far-fetched knowing that Sixtus II was pope for less than a from August 30, 257 to his beheading on August 6, 258. Moreover, the first texts referring to Pérols date from the 900s, which implacably reduces this thesis to nothing.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, on June 16, 1945, a statue of the Virgin in reinforced cement, was hoisted to the top of the bell tower, a pledge of gratitude of a population towards the benevolent protection of the Virgin, during the bombardments of the aerodrome, although a bomb unfortunately fell on the village. This statue was renovated in 1985 and Monsignor Boffet, then Bishop of Montpellier, blessed it.

Located in the oldest part of the city (XVII th century), the Penitents chapel was built in 1633. Although it has been affected to the cult until 1943, it was never a parish church. More surprisingly, it would have been used for a time as a coffee. Today, catechism is taught there.

The House of Arts
Inaugurated in the early 1990s, this former water tower, converted into a Maison des Arts, bears the name of «Max Castan», former assistant to the festivities, who died suddenly during his tenure. In addition to the exhibitions held there, the Maison des Arts houses the premises of the Municipal School of Music (EMM). It is a very atypical place, the very architecture of the building being significant of its function as a place of the Arts in Pérols.

Montpellier Exhibition Center
The exhibition of Montpellier is located in the east of the metropolis, in the municipality of Pérols in the department of Hérault, in region Occitan.

In march 2018, following the snowfall which affected the entire department, the roof of hall A3 was severely damaged. The main exhibitions are: The Montpellier fair, the senior’s fair and wine-growing exhibitions with SITEVI and VINISUD which take place every two years.

Yves Abric Room
Regularly occupied by associations, this multipurpose room also hosts the city’s artistic and cultural program throughout the year: concerts, theatrical shows, young audiences, dance, cabaret, exhibition, etc. During an event, it becomes a real place of culture and celebration. The Yves Abric room has a capacity of around 500 seats.

Recently, major developments have been made to improve the comfort of spectators and to allow artists to have quality equipment. Thus a new curtain, a sound and light system at the cutting edge of technology, has been put in place. The Yves Abric room is made up on the ground floor of a main room which can be extended by the opening of two wings, depending on the desired capacity. These spaces can be independent of each other allowing to host up to three different events.

The heart of town
If Pérols has become urbanized over the past four decades, it has a strong point, giving it a certain charm: its city center. Indeed, if some municipalities suffer from a lack of identity often linked to the absence of a clearly defined city center, that of Pérols is one of the city’s major assets. There is a special atmosphere, local shops and other craftsmen carry out their activities. The «village» spirit is still present in this unique district, where people know each other. Note that each summer the heart of the city is the privileged place for votive festivals.

Bullfighting culture
Pérols, called «The Golden Gate of the Camargue», is closely linked to the bullfighting culture, more particularly to the Camargue Course. It has a traditional arena with 2,200 seats built in 1960. It is the largest bullfighting arena in the Metropolis.

Every summer, there are festivities during which the young people and the village “ festivals ” enliven the streets by competing against the bulls during abrivado, bandido, encierro and Toro-piscine.

Two major races form the high point of the season and hold the attention of afeciounados:

La Ficelle d’Argent (trophy of the municipality since 1974) – mid-August.
3M Trophy stage (Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole) – end of June.

Events and festivals
Throughout the year, communal life is punctuated by a succession of traditional events. Whether they are festive, cultural, associative or even civic, they are eagerly awaited. These are the highlights of the city.

Feast of St-Sixte:
it takes place at the beginning of August. For a week, ferrades, abrivados, bandidos, encierro, lunches in the meadow are linked, not to mention the traditional races for the Aces trophy, with a high-flying final. The programming is dense and exhilarating.

Festa campera:
in the purest tradition of the Perolian summer festivities, this event under the sign of the Sevillians, changes the face of the city for three days, in July. Bodega, paella competition, Sevillian mass, parade. Dance alongside the city associations that animate this festival.

Le Mur:
Every two months, the city of Pérols, with the associations Le MUR and Hippomédon, uses public space in an innovative artistic process. The purpose of this action is to offer street artists a scene of expression and to be a bridge between an incredible pool of creation and the public.

Association Forum:
A place for exchanges and contacts, the Association Forum is one of the events not to be missed at the start of the school year. The presidents and volunteers of the various clubs are present to inform visitors, answer their questions and register new memberships.

Christmas Bath:
The Apervie association and the city of Pérols organize every year in December for the benefit of the Restos du Cœur, the traditional Christmas Bath. Unmissable event for heat shock aficionados, who courageously take the plunge every year.

Welcoming new Perolians:
On the occasion of this event, the mayor and the municipal council meet the new inhabitants and make a presentation of the municipal services and the municipality, whether from a historical, geographical, cultural or heritage point of view or practical.

Citizenship ceremony:
The objective of this event is to give the voter card to young people reaching the age of majority as well as a citizen’s booklet presenting their rights and duties.

Votive festival:
The August 6, Pérols celebrates its patron saint, Saint Sixtus II. The occasion of a procession during which the statue of the saint left the church for a mass in the arena. Festivities frame this day for 3 to 4 days, including a traditional pégoulade (carnival parade) organized by young people from the villages.

Natural space
If a natural element were to be associated with the city of Pérols, it would undoubtedly be water. Not that of the sea a few wing beats away (no direct exit to the Mediterranean) but the water from the ponds, to the east and to the south, which account for a third of the territory, ancient palus, muddy marshes, but even more saline and fishing grounds. They are the privileged areas of wild birds at rest or on the hunt. The water of the port also and that of the canals, the channel and the graus with weak draft.

The water of Boulidou, bubbling and virtuous – although cloudy and strongly tinged with the odors of swamp – to which one lent the power to treat and cure corns on the foot and other rheumatism. The water from the well, clearer and consumable at La Guette, at Le Rivet. Water that gives life and fish in abundance, eels and small mullets, which it was said brought relative ease and unquestionable rights to those who fished them. Pérols is a story of water, a mysterious alchemy of incessant exchanges between sea and ponds.

Between land and ponds

The inhabitants of Pérols have built a privileged link with the ponds and have developed infrastructures and atypical places of life allowing them to take full advantage of this living environment. If the areas of the port and the Cabins are an integral part of Perolian history, the health course is much more recent. All of them are a footbridge over the ponds and allow you to observe the time of a walk, an environment of great diversity which makes Pérols so rich and of which it is essential to ensure the preservation.

Pond of Méjean
The Méjean pond (sometimes called the Pérols pond in its eastern part) is a pond belonging to the lagoon complex of Palavasian ponds in the south of France. It is located in Hérault, to the south of the Montpellier agglomeration, on the Mediterranean coast.

Le Méjean is located about six kilometers as the crow flies from the center of Montpellier. Its surface is divided between the municipalities of Palavas-les-Flots in the West, Lattes in the center and Pérols in the East. The course of the Lez is located to the west, and the banks of this coastal river separates the Méjean from the pond of Arnel. It is crossed by the Canal du Rhône à Sète which separates it from the Etang du Grec located to the south.

The northern banks of the pond constitute a nature reserve protected and maintained by the municipality of Lattes, which has set up a nature house dedicated to the observation of migratory birds as well as to educating walkers via samples, photographs and paintings of the different animal and plant species inhabiting the pond. The western and eastern banks are in the vicinity of wide road lanes with separate carriageways, leading to the coastal resorts of Palavas-les-Flots and Carnon, as well as a campsite on the edge of the Latvian and Perolian territories.

Arranged to accommodate more than a hundred pleasure boats, the sites are divided between the Port des Cabanes and the canal leading to Carnon.

It was at the beginning of the glorious 30’s that the port was used for the transaction of goods from the sea. It was subsequently dedicated entirely to pond fishing. The decrease in this activity will come from the scarcity of fish, in particular caused by the urbanization of the sector. Today, the port of Pérols has mainly become a marina. In recent years, the quality of the water has improved, allowing the port to continue to welcome fishermen throughout the year, which contributes to its uniqueness.

Étang de l’Or is part of the Natura 2000 network under the European “Birds” and “Habitats” directives. Natura 2000 sites aim to take better account of biodiversity issues in human activities. The Etang de l’Or has 14 habitats of community interest and 43 bird species, for which this site plays an important role in their reproduction, wintering or feeding.

Cabins and ponds
The Cabaniers were the oldest fishermen in the pond. We find their traces as early as 1513 as reported by Michelle Granier Rovetto, reporting on the Cathedral chapter: “the fishermen were invited for their convenience to make huts and to acquire useful property and some land, they requested it from the chapter which made it. given leases… / for each cabin or house ”.

Until 1950, the Cabanes district was only inhabited by fishermen. We stored the boats and nets there and we were happy to meet there on Sundays for a meal with family or friends. Little by little, the charm and the rare beauty of this place, bathed by the ponds, attracted new owners and the simple cabin became a dwelling house. We solidified the frame, we enlarged it to give it all modern comforts.

However, some cabins still retain their old charm and the Pointe de la Grave located at the mouth of the port, has some of these astonishing buildings. The huts being at zero altitude, it happens that heavy rainfall combined with windy phenomena lead to the flooding of the neighborhood. To preserve it, many actions have already been taken and others will be carried out in the coming years.

Today the residents of the Cabanes district enjoy an exceptional point of view on the spectacle offered by the ponds, and everyone is invited during a walk to come and discover the magic of this place.

The health course
Located on the former landfill of the town, this course built only a few years ago offers a place to walk facing the pond of Méjean. You can discover a large number of Mediterranean plants. The development of the health trail was carried out while conserving and protecting areas of natural sansouires.

The general spirit of this site is to protect, rehabilitate or even recreate certain environments in the region: extension of zones withoutouires, creation of a bird observatory (pink flamingos, ducks, egrets, herons, etc.), protection of zones of salt meadows, saladelles, creation of areas of scrubland (botanical path…), vines, olive trees…

This installation borders the Méjean Pond, a RAMSAR site (Intergovernmental Treaty which serves as a framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and rational use of wetlands and their resources) and Natura 2000 (European network ensuring the preservation of biological diversity and enhancement of the natural heritage of our territories).

The fitness trail offers the public play areas and a city stadium. Even today, the development of this space, much appreciated by families, continues.