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GRAND ORB, LAND OF INNOVATION
In the greater Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region, in the north west of the Hérault department, the Community of communes Grand Orb groups together 24 communes and 21000 inhabitants in an area as big as 460km².
Home to companies who are world leaders in their field, unique expertise in the fields of thermalism, dermocosmetics and health, exceptional vineyards as well as outstanding natural heritage; welcome to Grand Orb in the heart of the naturally rich region of Haut Languedoc.
Innovation and modernity, tradition and well-being.
Grand Orb is characterised by its vitality, dynamism and inventiveness. It’s a unique area in the south of France, bathed in sunshine and lapped by the Mediterranean.
Unique because it is now an area which is entirely self-sufficient on renewable energy thanks to its wind turbines, hydropower dams and solar panel plants.
Unique for its renown in the fields of health and thermalism with internationally renowned companies: the Pierre Fabre Laboratories and its thermal spa Avène for dermocosmetics, the Chaîne Thermale du Soleil in Lamalou-les-Bains specialising in the treatment of rheumatism and neurological illnesses, the Ster Clinic, the top clinic in France for the treatment and rehabilitation of serious burns victims.
This economic vitality can also be found in companies such as Paul Boyé Technologies, a world leader in the manufacture of advanced technology protective garments for the military and civil security and Vernière, a naturally sparkling mineral water.
The creation of a greater Community of communes
As part of the municipality reform, the State’s ambition was to regroup the smaller communities and to finalise the position of communities in France so that there were only Communities of communes. It’s with this objective that the Préfet proposed a new organisation of communities for the Hérault department and so the Haut Vallée of Orb was formed. The fusion of four Communities of communes “Avène, Orb, Gravezon”, “Combes et Taussac,” “Monts d’Orb,” and “Pays de Lamalou,” and the communes of Bédarieux, Carlencas, Pézènes les Mines and Le Poujol-sur-Orb was proposed and approved. The greater Community of communes was created on the 1st January 2014.
Grand Orb, mobilising energies
The main reason for this Community of communes, through its political institutions and administrative bodies, is to mobilise all energies and to do better together, to achieve what would not be possible individually, whilst respecting the identity of each commune. The Community of communes status has allowed for the implementation of the Fiscalité Professionnelle Unique (FPU) [Single professional taxation] which makes welcoming businesses easier and more efficient. It also allows the area to be included in large-scale contracts for the State, the Region or the Department.
A privileged location
The Community of communes of Grand Orb, situated in the Regional National Park of Haut Languedoc, is the gateway to the foothills of the Cévennes. This area of mid-mountains offers a magnificent natural environment close to the major cities of the department. A modern road network facilitates travel to attractive areas, the A9 and the A75 motorways are 30 minutes away as is Béziers and Montpellier is less than an hour away.
Grand Orb groups together a number of services in Bédarieux but also the communes of the Orb Valley such as Hérépian and Lamalou-les-Bains. Health services (Emergency services, x-ray/scanner centre, retirement homes etc.) a school complex (3 colleges, 3 secondary schools), a rich and diverse associative community and quality culture and sport facilities attract a population looking for beauty, tranquillity and an environment adapted to life in the 21st century thanks to the quality of its services.
Each part of this area has its own particular complementary features and a perspective for wide scale development in the health, tourism and thermalism sectors.
An invitation for discovery
Between the mountains of Haut-Languedoc and the Salagou Lake, in the process of being classified “Grand Site de France,” Grand Orb and its 24 communes offer an outstanding environment.
Here nature unfolds, majestic and beautifully conserved. At its heart are the mountainous vineyards which produce unique wines made with passion by the winemakers of the Haute Vallée of Orb. This land of wide open spaces where forests, rivers and lakes entwine, holds many other gems including a 300km long Sentier de Grande Randonnée [Long-distance footpath]. This landscape is perfect for nature-lovers and those who love the great outdoors and offers exceptional green tourism and outdoor sports. It invites you to discover this unique heritage.
Mixing tradition and modernity, Grand Orb is to be enjoyed without moderation and with an outlook to the future.
A centre for excellence “made in Grand Orb”
Creating economic growth for the area’s wealth and of the quality of life of its inhabitants is the driving force of the efforts of the President Antoine Martinez and the elected representatives of the Grand Orb.
In Grand Orb there is no lack of economic assets: a highly specialised workforce, innovative companies, unique expertise and international prestige.
One of the success stories is the sector of health and thermalism. Grand Orb is the only Community of communes in France with two thermal resorts: one resort specialising in dermatology and the treatment of skin conditions and another specialising in rheumatology and neurology.
Another core activity for the area is functional rehabilitation. In Lamalou-les-Bains there is a diverse collection of rehabilitation centres offering 750 beds and more than 1000 jobs in the Grand Orb area. Today, health and thermalism are in fast development, offering renowned specialisms and a constant increase in the number of people coming for treatment including those from outside the region and even the country.
An area of positive energy
Environmentally speaking, Grand Orb is exemplary. Its renewable energy covers the energy needs of the entire area’s inhabitants.
With three hydropower dams, two solar panel plants and several wind turbine sites, Grand Orb is a perfect example of sustainable development. Today, the decision has been made to concentrate on clean and renewable energy.
Despite the potential of this renewable energy, it currently only covers 20% of the world’s consumption. In Grand Orb, 100% of energy needs are covered! The wider use of new technologies in the environment sector creates wealth whilst at the same time conserving the planet for future generations. With a decidedly modern outlook, the Community of communes has decided to work towards the concept of positive energy.
A focus on community projects
Sustainable development is at the heart of Grand Orb’s project for the area and the Community of communes wants to focus on projects, whether they are developed by citizens, associations, communes or businesses, which aim to develop the production of renewable energy or reduce the use of fossil fuels.
High altitude wines
A land of minerals and coal in the 19th century, Grand Orb is today a land of water and wine.
Between the mount Espinouse and the Caroux Mountains grow exceptional vineyards with the originality of being situated at a high altitude. Together with the mild Mediterranean climate and cool summer nights, this gives the wines a very unique balance of aromas. The wines from this region date back to the monks of Joncels and Villemagne who were the first to plant vines in the valley. Workers and miners in Bédarieux planted family vineyards around their mazets, their traditional farmhouses. Having inherited this glorious past, the winemakers of the Haute Vallée of Orb have successfully developed this expertise and today they produce wines with full aromatic flavours. Benefiting from the European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) label, the wines of the Haute Vallée of Orb hold a leading place in the development of the economy and of wine tourism in this, the land of legends. These wines are mostly sold direct from the producers. Grand Orb has two cooperative wine cellars with a cooperative of 150 winemakers and 11 individual wine cellars which produce red, rosé and white wines.
Communauté de communes Grand Orb, 6t rue René Cassin, 34600 Bédarieux
Tél. : 04 67 23 78 03
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PLAN D’ACCÈS : 6t rue René Cassin, 34600 Bédarieux