Off The Beach

The beaches along the coast of Languedoc are among the best in France, soft, safe and sandy, unlike the harsh pebbles and crowded stones of the French Riviera.

Inland there are literally hundreds of breathtaking places to visit, caves, mountains, white-water, complete Roman buildings and temples – the list will cover many pages.

We will be adding many new pages of information and downloadable leaflets to this website, but for now here are some notes made a few years ago about just a few of the places well worth visiting.

Have a GOOD time in

Southernfrance !

Around Agde

  • Visit Fort Brescou

Group visits : April to September (reserve via Tourist Office). Individuals : guides are available at the Fort from June 15th to mid September. Entrance and guided tour :. Ferry from Cap d’Agde or Grau d’Agde. Ferry fare does not include entrance to the Fort.

  • Boat trips on the Canal du Midi (UNESCO world monument) with "Bateaux du Soleil". Group or individual excursions, cruises, meals, day-trips, short trips. From Agde, Marseillan, Béziers, Vias and Portiragnes. Reserve in advance, tel. 04 67 94 08 79, fax 04 67 21 23 28 38.

Every Wednesday from April to October a day cruise leaves Agde for Marseillan : discover Agde from Herault river, pass through circular locks (unique in the world) to reach then cruise down Canal du Midi to Onglous. The boat crosses the Thau Lagoon to Marseillan, passing by oyster farms. You may have lunch on board or take your own picnic.

  • Noilly Prat wine cellars in Marseillan. Discover how this world-famous "apéritif" is produced. Open every day except May 1st from March 1st to December 20th (or by appointment). 45-minute guided tours from 10-12am and 2:30-7pm during the summer and until 6pm only in winter. Last visit one hour before closing time. Groups should reserve in advance. Children under 12 : free.

Around Thau Lagoon

  • Pinet wine cellars

Cave de l’Ormarine, tel. 04 67 77 03 10

Domaine Gaujal (Ludovic Gaujal), tel. 04 67 77 02 12, fax 04 67 77 76 94.

Chateau de Pinet (Simone Arnaud), tel. 04 67 77 00 39, fax 04 67 32 16 39

Domaine Petit Roubié (Olivier Azan), tel. 04 67 77 09 28, fax : 04 67 77 76 26.

  • Ecosite at Mèze

Allow 1 ½ hrs. to visit this unusual and interesting site where new technologies are developed to protect marine environment and research aqua-culture. Open all year round : from September to June 2-6pm (last visit at 4:30pm) ; July and August 10am-7:30pm (last visit at 6pm).

Shut on Saturdays from November 15th to February 15th. Tel. 04 67 46 64 94. Fax 04 67 43 56 13.

  • Musée de l’Etang de Thau in Bouzigues

This locally interesting museum displays the skills of "sea farmers" and fishermen, from latest communication technology to time-old traditional fishing methods. All you could want to know about oyster farming : a typical "mas" or oyster farm dating back to the 1950s, information on labelling, shipping, hygiene checks on contemporary production of seafood. There is also a fisherman’s shop, various model boats, and an aquarium.

Open from June to September 10-12am and 2-7pm ; November to February 10-12am and 2-5pm ; October, March, April and May 10-12am and 2-6pm.

Tel. 04 67 79 33 57, fax : 04 67 78 32 10.

  • Guided Tours of Sète

Sète Tourist Office (tel. 04 67 74 71 71) organises guided tours of Sète, a town that is almost an island, with impressive Mont Saint Clair hill and picturesque canals. A large port with a decidedly Mediterranean atmosphere. Take the little train around the town centre from Quai Général Durand opposite tourist office (tel. 04 67 51 27 37). Guided tours of tourist attractions in the town in April, May, October, November on Sundays, public and school holidays 2:30-5:30pm ; June –September : every day 2:30-5:30pm.

Other attractions and activities : Espace Brassens, Paul Valéry museum, Fortant de France, regional contemporary art centre, boat trips.

Around Lamalou-les-Bains

  • Visit Faugères and district wine cellars

Contact tourist office at Laurens town hall – tel. 04 67 23 03 59, fax 04 67 90 11 06. There are also many other producers of Faugères wines.

  • Musée de la Cloche et de la Sonnaille (bell museum) in Hérépian – museum and foundry. This museum presents manufacture of all sorts of bells from cowbells to great cathedral bells. Tel. 04 67 95 39 95. Open daily in July and August 10-12am and 2-7pm ; April-June and September 10-12am and 2-6pm ; from October to March (shut on Tuesdays) 10-12am and 2-5pm. Well organised for the handicapped.

Foundry : discover the magic of smelting work and listen to the history of the firm established in the 17th-century. Tel. 04 67 95 07 96.

Guided tours Mondays to Saturdays in July and August from 10-12am and 2-8 pm. Reserve in advance for out-of-season visits.

  • Visit of Lamalou-les-Bains

  • St. Pierre de Rhèdes Priory is one of the most splendid examples of rural Roman art in France. Architecture and sculpture of this primitive priory (listed monument) date back to 11th-12th-centuries. May be visited on Wednesdays, from February to November. Meeting point : in front of station at 2:30pm
  • Guided tours of the town and springs on three topics : thermal establishments, springs, 19th-century architecture. Reserve at Tourist Office, tel. 04 67 95 70 91 or from April to October, every Wednesday at 4pm from Tourist Office. Price : 10 FF per person, minimum 3 people.

  • Caves at the Grotte de Labeil. Allow 45 minutes to visit the caves – conducted tour in English available. There is also a restaurant, bar, souvenir shop, picnic area, free parking. Open every day from March 15th to November 1st and on appointment all year round for groups ; opening hours : high season 10am-7pm ; low season 11am-5pm. Tel./fax 04 67 96 49 47.

In and around Béziers

Musée des Beaux-Arts (fine art museum) tél. 04 67 28 38 78

Hôtel Fabregat, pl. de la Révolution ; 9-12am and 2-6pm, every day except Sunday mornings and Mondays. (use same ticket for Hôtel Fayet)

Hôtel Fayet, 9, rue du Capus ; 9-12am and 2-6pm, Tuesdays to Fridays. Normal price : 15 FF, reduced fare ; 10 FF (use same ticket for Hôtel Fabregat)

Musée du Biterrois, Rampe du 96ème ; tel. 04 67 36 71 01. Open in winter 9-12am and 2-6pm ; in summer : 9am-7pm. Shut on Mondays.

– The Canal du Midi goes through Béziers– Visit the impressive 9 locks at Fonserannes near the main road towards Narbonne.

  • Nissan les Ensérune

Oppidum and archaeological museum. The museum is open every day except Jan. 1st, May 1st, Nov. 11th and Dec. 25th. October-March – 10-12am and 2-4pm (until 5pm on Sundays) ; April, May and September 10-12am and 2-6pm ; June-August 9:30am-7pm. Allow 1 hour to visit the museum + 15 min. video.

Tel. 04 67 37 01 23.

The site of Ensérune is open every day. Reserve in advance for group visits or guided tours.

  • Mini-farm/zoo at Cessenon-sur-Orb

Open every day from April 1st to September 30th 10am-8pm ; October 1st – March 31st open on Wednesdays, Saturdays Sundays, public and school holidays from 10am-7pm. December and January : Sundays and school holidays 1:30-5pm. Shut on December 25th and January 1st. Tel. 04 67 89 54 14. Guided tours may be reserved for groups.

  • Mediterranean Garden in Roquebrun

Open every day from February 16th-June 30th from 9-12am, and 1:30-5:30pm ; July and August 9am-7pm ; September 1st-November 14th from 9-12am and 1:30-5:30pm. This garden is particularly worth visiting end February, early March when the mimosa in flower is absolutely beautiful.

Price until April 30th : adults 20 FF ; children (6-15 yrs) 10 FF. Groups of at least 20 people : 16 FF per person (free for group leader). Guided tours for groups of at least 20 : 25 FF per person (reserve in advance).

For information, tel. 04 67 89 55 29. Allow 30 minutes for visit or 1 hour with a guide. It is recommended to wear good walking shoes.

  • Grotte de Clamouse – caves near Saint Guilhem le Désert

Low season : 10am-5pm ; June-September 10am-6pm ; July-August 10am-7pm ; November-January 12am-5pm.

Tel. 04 67 57 71 05, fax 04 67 57 78 00.

Price : adults 43 FF ; children (6-12 yrs.) 21 FF ; students and groups of at least 10 adults : 31 FF.

Allow 50-60 min. for the visit.

  • Guided tours of Saint Guilhem-le-Désert and Gellone abbey

Visit the village on foot : towers, mills, craftwork potteries. A historian organises guided tours of the village, abbey and museum – in English, German, Italian and Spanish. Tel. to reserve : 04 67 57 42 44.

From 1st June to September 30th 2-6pm. Out of season, theme or group visits, by appointment. Tourist Office : tel. 04 67 57 44 43.

Around Pézenas

  • Roujan : Prieuré de Cassan is open every day from Easter to September 30th or 3-7pm. Groups are welcome all year round on appointment. Tel. 04 67 24 89 43. Booklet to visit the priory included in the price + 45 minute audiorama.

  • Abbaye de Valmagne : Sainte-Marie de Valmagne is one of the best-preserved Cistercian abbeys and the architecture of this listed historic monument is impressive : the Gothic church built in 1257 is 83 m long and 24 m high ; also visit the cloister, chapter house and fountain. Visits from June 15th to September 15th : every day from 10-12am and 2-6:30pm ; out of season : every day from 2-6pm. Allow 45 –60 min. for visit. Halls may be let for seminars, conferences, weddings, etc.

Tel. 04 67 78 06 09, fax 04 67 78 02 50.