From the Greek Helios, “sun” and Tropos, “turn” (to turn towards the sun), heliotropism is the movement of certain populations towards sunnier regions. This phenomenon was renamed “Phototropism” by Charles and Francis Darwin. Many Europeans living in Northern Europe have acquired second homes in Southern Europe and Southern France to take advantage of the mild Mediterranean climate. These are “amenity” migrations, not climatic constraints. The aim is simply to move closer to a more pleasant environment, in order to improve well-being and physical and moral health. Man then adopts a biomimicry reflex and instinctively turns towards light, like a sunflower.
Hérault, a subtly measured dose of sunshine !
Ranked 7th among France’s départements in 2021, Hérault is the sunniest, behind Bouches-du-Rhône, Var and Corsica. A paradigm shift has already begun in tourism. Travelers are no longer looking for the hottest areas, but rather those with the most pleasant and bearable levels of sunshine. The Hérault department, with its 300 days of sunshine a year, reinforced by a temperate climate on the shores of the Mediterranean, is proving to be a pleasant and relevant place to live in the long term.
The gradations of Thau
The Thau Basin is famous for its magical sunrises and sunsets. The mirror effect on the water is absolutely incredible. Perfectly smooth and sheltered from the tides, the Thau lagoon intensely reflects the sun’s rays, generously displaying areas of yellow, pink, red, dark blue or violet. This natural feature maximizes the area’s beauty and aesthetic appeal. Color variations are due to the distance light travels through the atmosphere. Light passes through a layer of oxygen, nitrogen, rare gases, pollen, dust and various other pollutants that make up the atmosphere, before landing on land or spreading out over the water’s surface in perfect symmetry. The more molecules this light encounters in its path, the more diffuse it becomes.
At sunrise and sunset, sunlight travels a long way through the atmosphere: all colors with short wavelengths disappear, and the color of the sky and sun turns pink, orange or red. At midday, the light is discreet, as the sun’s rays travel a short distance through the atmosphere and the sky is blue. In the mountains, this path is even shorter, and the blue of the sky deepens until it appears dark blue.
Why is the Bassin de Thau so famous for its lights ?
Even though the Marseillan commune is fighting against light pollution, sunrise and sunset hunters know they’ll never go home empty-handed. The size of the lagoon – 70 km2 – and the distance separating Marseillan from Sète, is enough to welcome a moment of grace, which we owe to the dark side of the site, free from all urban pollution, with the exception of a thin garland of lights that stretches timidly into the distance to border the feet of Mont Saint-Clair.
Miguel Espada, founder of Slowlife Capital and Propriétés & Co, who is currently developing his eco-resort and second-home project in Port Marseillan, is an unconditional lover of the Etang de Thau. The flat calm of the pond concentrates and retains these colorful pixels fallen from the sky, delicately nestled in his arms, trapped in the most wonderful and painless of clamps…