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‘France is a cultured country in a sense that Britain is not’

Our reader shares his opinion on why he has benefited from moving from the UK to the operatic hotspot of Hérault

In France most large towns have their own orchestra unlike in Britain Pic: Romas_Photo / Shutterstock

An attraction of moving to France was because we like opera and classical music, both of which are far better served here than in Britain.

Most large towns have an orchestra, whereas in Britain I can only think of three professional ‘municipal’ ones, in Liverpool, Manchester and Bournemouth, and there are few opera houses.

Here in Hérault we have, within easy reach, Montpellier (two theatres), Avignon, Nîmes and Marseille. Further away but still easily accessible are Lyon and Toulouse.

Most of our neighbours do not go to concerts or opera but they do not seem to find it odd that we do, and often ask about performances we have seen. 

The Musée Fabre in Montpellier is possibly the finest provincial art gallery in France. The Mucem in Marseille is also marvellous, as are the museums in Nîmes, Arles and Perpignan, specialising in the Roman period.

In our village, a local GP has bought a chateau where he presents orchestral, chamber and vocal concerts, plays, opera and art exhibitions. In short, France is a cultured country in a sense that Britain is not. In addition, France is less crowded and there is superb walking country in this area with an immense number of historic sites to visit and still some very fine restaurants.

James BUCK, Hérault

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