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How bad are the winds?

Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 10:34
by NigelS
Hi, We were thinking of moving from the UK to the Pyrenees-Orientale for the greater amount of sunshine hours. The fly in the weather ointment seems to be the winds (Tramontane and Le Marin). Looking just at the data, the Ariege seems a better compromise - better sunshine hours than the UK (but less than P-O) and less winds than the P-O. Is this picture right in your experience and can you describe the amount and strength of the P-O winds?
Thanks in advance.

Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 11:44
by Gus Morris
All depends where you want to live in the PO. Conditions vary enormously. Some places are sheltered from the Tram. Others are very exposed. Inland on the littoral differs from the coast. Cerdagne/Capcir is a totally different ballgame.


Its the surroundings people environment

Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 12:42
by rainbow
The wind can be beneficial in extremely hot weather in winter one can always revert to gloves hat scarf

Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 12:51
by Allan
We had the same concern before moving here but quite honestly it has never been a problem for us. Just be sensible when looking at properties, the majority of winds come from the North West so look for as much shelter from that side as possible.

We use our pool from April until October and in 8 years we have never been prevented from using it by the wind.


Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 14:17
by NigelS
Thanks Gus. Which areas do you think are sheltered from the Tram?


Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 14:19
by NigelS
Thanks Allan - very reassuring. Whereabouts do you live? Are there other sheltered areas you know about?

Re: Thanks

Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 14:59
by Allan
NigelS wrote:Thanks Allan - very reassuring. Whereabouts do you live? Are there other sheltered areas you know about?
I live in Salses Le Chateau which is in the plain of Roussillon (the flat bit)

All regions of the Mediterranean have wind but I get the impression that the Tramontana is embedded in Catalan folklore and as such has more emphasis placed on it.

If I think back to how many times I had to replace garden fences in Yorkshire but nobody gives the wind there a second thought.

It is true that this is a windy area but the winds have never spoilt our enjoyment and in any case are mostly in the winter months which when it is not windy are much more pleasant here than in other regions.

When we arrived here I was paranoid that wind would be a problem but it never has been.

Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 15:33
by Pearsonb
When I lived in Saint Marsal, I was blown off my feet twice by the wind. There were days when I didn't leave my house.

In Saint Laurent de Cerdans there is nowhere near the same problem.



Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 15:43
by NigelS
Thanks Pearsom - have now started a log for good/bad wind places. Are there any general rules in your experience?

Hi Gus

Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 15:52
by NigelS
[quote="Gus Morris"]All depends where you want to live in the PO. Conditions vary enormously. Some places are sheltered from the Tram. Others are very exposed. Inland on the littoral differs from the coast. Cerdagne/Capcir is a totally different ballgame.


Hi Gus, which of these places are good/bad windwise?

Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 16:15
by Daphne
Llupia suffers the Tramontane and I know of someone who sold up in Thuir and moved to another part of France. Children are believed to behave more badly during the Tramontane according to a teacher friend!

Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 16:25
by interiors66
Over the past 10 years I've been lucky enough to have worked all over the p.o
And no place is better than another in my experience , it could be windy in Perpignan one day but not in le boulou or windy on the coast but not in prades.
It really can be that localised . Yes it can be a pain when it doesn't go for days or weeks as it did through this winter but it's soon forgotten , I now cannot remember the last windy day we had.
Some say it's less windy closer to the mountains but then the closer to the mountains you are it tends to be cloudier or wetter.

Posted: Fri 07 Aug 2015 21:27
by oulibede
The wind blows away the clouds hence we get more sunshine. Up in the Ariege it is wetter and colder in the winter. Just inland from the coast of the P.O. there is the benefit of the warm wind off the sea. It's indicative of the climate that peaches, oranges and lemons all grow in the garden without any protection.

Posted: Sat 08 Aug 2015 08:33
by Gus Morris
In general terms properties in the interior of towns and villages suffer less from the effects of the Tram than the more exposed. Similarly houses built on SE facing slopes tend to be a better bet. There is no hard and fast rule. The PO, indeed the whole region, is subject to severe weather events. The Effet Cevenol can produce widespread flooding. Look at the sea defences at all the harbours along the coast. Almost all of them are new, having been been rebuilt in recent years after violent storms. Areas like the Montagne Noire have experienced some of the heaviest rainfall ever recorded on the face of the planet. Last autumn the whole region was hit by a series of wild weather events that caused widespread damage. Take a trip up the Col de Banyuls to see how the stream beds were stripped bare after just four hours of torrential rain. As far as I know the road has still not been rebuilt where it was swept away by the shear weight of water.

Bienvenue chez les Catalans


Posted: Sat 08 Aug 2015 13:17
by Sue
Don't let any of the replies put you off relocating here. The P O and especially 66 is a wonderful place to live. Yes the Tramontane can blow for days on end (especially on the plains) and you wish to goodness it would go away but then it keeps the rain away. When it does rain it is usually very heavy and not long lasting but it can as mentioned before cause havoc. Don't buy close to a dry or wet river bed, gue (ford) or any type of water outlet. They can overflow and cause a lot of damage. We have lived on the plains in Argeles for almost 10 years and have learnt to live with the wind and varying weather.

Posted: Sat 08 Aug 2015 21:26
by Ariègeoise
I have a foot in both the Ariège and the PO - I live (and work) most of the time in the Ariège but have a house in Villelongue dels Monts that we spend time in, mainly in winter.

The Ariège has lots of different climates - I'm over towards the west, in the Couserans, where we have almost no wind (but higher average temperatures than other parts), while the flatter areas in the north-east get an easterly wind called the Autan, which to my mind is actually worse than the Tram - I lived over there for nearly a year when we first came and struggled. Get in touch if you end up veering towards the Ariège as there are some distinct 'rules' about where is and isn't so good to buy, weather wise.

I don't find the Tram too much of an issue - I actually like the light that you get with it, which is different from any other light I know - though when it blows for extra long periods as it did earlier this year it can get a bit wearing if you have to or want to be outside. It's a good idea to buy a house where the garden is at least in part sheltered from it so that you can sit out if you want to - the difference in temperature is astonishing.

If I had to choose between the no-wind Ariège and the windy PO? The jury's out, to be honest - there's good and bad in both.

Posted: Sat 08 Aug 2015 23:05
by Owens88
Inland up the valleys.
e.g.above Prades in the Tet Valley.


Posted: Sun 09 Aug 2015 09:01
by NigelS
Thanks Sue. a small point but where is 66?

Posted: Sun 09 Aug 2015 10:31
by Sue
66 is the Regional Number of Pyrenees Orientales in the Languedoc Roussillon. The Med on one side and Mount Canigou on the other. Also borders Spain. Where you were asking about. :lol:

Thanks Ariègeoise

Posted: Sun 09 Aug 2015 21:13
by NigelS
Hi Ariègeoise, Many thanks for this. For the Ariege scenario we were thinking of Les Couserans but would very much appreciate your sense of the rules of where to buy in the Ariege as a whole.
Please feel free to PM me if you think the general readers here won't be interested.

Posted: Sun 09 Aug 2015 21:58
by Ariègeoise
PM on the way!

Posted: Tue 12 Jan 2016 22:31
by jethro
if you are a lover of the sea, the area known as La Falaise in Leucate has the only beach totally protected from the Tramontane and some lovely villas looking out to sea. La Franqui is also reputed to be fairly wind-free, but it faces North, so I don't see how that can be true. Wind has its virtues; it reduces the need for pesticides, it blows away the clouds, but it can drive you mad like Gastibelza in Hugo's poem. Sorry about the literary allusion, but it is quite apposite.