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Hérault

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So much sunshine, so many wonders! In the south of France, in the Occitania region, the Hérault overlooks the Mediterranean. An amphitheatre open to the sea, this department surprises by the diversity of its layered landscapes from the Mediterranean to the southern foothills of the Massif Central, passing through the garrigue areas and the low plain of the Languedoc wine region. 30% agricultural (vineyards and orchards), Hérault is also an important producer of Bouzigues oysters and mussels (Thau pond). This department has 87 kilometres of beaches and classified sites (UNESCO): Gellone Abbey in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert on the roads to Santiago de Compostela, the Canal du Midi, the Causses and the Cévennes, partly in the department. Among the natural sites: the Haut Languedoc regional nature park, the Salagou valley and lake, the Hérault gorges and the Navacelles circus. In another register, the territory has three thermal resorts: Balaruc-les-Bains, Avène and Lamalou-les-Bains. The coast is not to be outdone with its seaside resorts including La Grande-Motte, Cap d'Agde and nineteen marinas. The cities of art and history, the villages classified among the most beautiful in France and other picturesque areas total 541 sites classified or listed as historic monuments. A little jewel: the Fabre Museum, the Montpellier Fine Arts Museum, a beautiful building and beautiful exhibitions. Other museums to visit are the fine arts museum of Béziers, the one of the Thau pond (Bouzigues), the one dedicated to Paul Valéry and the one dedicated to the sea (Sète).

What to see, what to do Hérault?

When to go Hérault ?

This department is very touristy and attractive. Many people choose to change their lives and "go down" to settle in Montpellier. The high tourist season (nearly 60% of the annual attendance) takes place during the summer, spring is quite touristy, autumn a little less and the low season is in winter (8%). In all seasons, you will often have to negotiate with the winds. The Tramontane, a dry north-westerly wind, blows over the whole department, more intensely in the west, very frequent in winter and spring, but can be observed in all seasons. Sea winds are rare but sometimes very strong, with heavy rains. The Mistral only affects the eastern edge of the department, less violent than in the Rhône valley but very frequent. In summer the beaches of Palavas-les-Flots and the surrounding area are crowded. Come early in the morning or evening to be a little quiet. You can also move away from the coast to enjoy a more wild swim at Lac du Salagou. In the off-seasons, walks along the coast, beaches and lagoons together allow you to enjoy a magnificent natural environment. Similarly, hiking outside summer, when the sun is too strong, on the foothills of the Massif Central is very pleasant

There are many festivals and celebrations in towns and villages, especially in summer, but also all year round. Among the most original are the water sports in Sète, which are held throughout the summer, encouraged by a large audience packed on the quays of the Royal Canal. A tradition that dates back to 1666, after all! The votive village festivals around a totemic animal, giant, dragon and other Pézenas foals, are as many opportunities to rejoice. There are also ferias, tambourine parades, the Bouzigues oyster fair (August), the harvest festival (September) in the wine-growing communes, the Christmas oil and santon market in Clermont-l'Hérault (December), etc.

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Discover Hérault

It is difficult to draw a portrait of the Hérault as the department is so rich in a thousand wonders. It is enough to set foot on the territory to understand that its face is complex. Mountains, plains, beaches: its diversity contributes to its reputation. These landscapes are filled with treasures due to the great history of the place. Here, the Romans, the architects of the Middle Ages and the wine growers have left their mark on the land, building monuments in the four corners of the department that are still the pride of the locals. However, the history is still alive, built by the craftsmen, artists and residents who animate the workshops, museums and businesses of the department. The other wonder of the Hérault: its cuisine. There, chefs operate with technique and generosity to seduce the gourmands. Each year, dozens of events are organized to meet all these creators and admire their achievements.

Pictures and images Hérault

Vue de Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert Pat on stock - Fotolia
Place de la Comédie Stéphan SZEREMETA
Vue sur les toits de Montpellier. Véviga
Le village de Saint-Jean-de-Buèges et son château Stéphan SZEREMETA

The 12 keywords Hérault

1. Agriculture

The department of Hérault is part of Occitania, the leading European region for agriculture. Everything is grown here, from green olives to white asparagus, apples and sweet onions. All these products are present on the stalls of the numerous markets of the territory and enrich the plates with taste.

2. Archaeology

Occupied by humans since prehistoric times, the Hérault region has been the subject of excavation campaigns for several decades. Thanks to these campaigns, archaeologists have been able to uncover dinosaur eggs, Roman remains, and the remains of buildings from the Middle Ages... An incalculable number of treasures now housed in museums

3. Architecture

From Lunel to Olonzac, different styles of architecture blend and cohabit for the simple pleasure of the eyes. Religious, civil and military monuments, sometimes thousands of years old, remind us of the importance of this crossroads of influences. Take the time to admire the facades, they are full of wonders.

4. Crest

L'Ecusson is the nickname given to the historic centre of Montpellier, the prefecture of the department. Bounded by the Place de la Comédie, the Esplanade du Peyrou, the quays of the Verdanson and the Avenue Gambetta, the famous district is home to hundreds of shops, restaurants and historical monuments that contribute to the attractiveness of the city.

5. Coastal

The Hérault coastline has everything to seduce: families will find all the facilities they need for a comfortable holiday, sports enthusiasts will take advantage of the excellent weather conditions to try their hand at board sports, and nature lovers will settle down on the few wild beaches to admire the local biodiversity...

6. Hiking

Whatever your level, here you will find a circuit which corresponds to your criteria. Thanks to the diversity of the Hérault's relief, several difficulties and layouts are available. As a bonus, the view is always breathtaking. Not to be missed: the hikes of the Pic Saint-Loup and the cirques of Mourèze and Navacelles.

7. Reserves

The Hérault is a paradise for birds. Several nature reserves and protected areas have been created to protect them and ensure their preservation. And they are not alone! You only have to pay attention to the little noises to see that the sky, the land and the waterways of the territory are home to many specimens.

8. Sun

With nearly 300 days of sunshine per year, the Hérault is one of the sunniest departments in France. Ten months of the year, the sun comes to illuminate this thousand-year-old land. In summer, its presence is sometimes a little too much felt, but we are very happy to find it again in October or March, when the rest of the country is still suffering from grey skies.

9. Street-art

This territory of old stones and ancestral cities shows modernity and youth in terms of art. In addition to the "wild" street artists, the department is now home to confirmed artists, often hired by the municipalities. They come to bring color and mood on the facades hit by time.

10. Thau

The pond of Thau is the largest body of water in the region. Separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a simple tongue of sand called the lido, it is now renowned throughout the world for the production of oysters and mussels that take place in its waters. All around the pond, pretty fishermen's villages take the sun.

11. Tradition

The Hérault has kept some of the traditions of the many civilizations and peoples that have influenced its development. These are revealed in numerous events as well as in local gastronomy, music and sport. The most emblematic are the jousting tournaments, the totemic animal parades and the Camargue races.

12. Vine

Wouldn't this be the main treasure of the Hérault? Located in the Languedoc vineyards, the department's wine estates benefit from great climatic conditions and produce thousands of bottles each year to enrich the shelves of wine shops with a good nose and high-class restaurants

You are from here, if...

You get your colour on in March and put on your coat in December

Your trunk holds your hiking, camping or beach gear for most of the year

You know the best swimming spots

You have already ventured into a cave or into the heights of the Cévennes

You tell everyone about the beauty of the Hérault gorges and the Canal du Midi

Your photo album contains pictures of the Salagou and the Pic Saint-Loup

You have already admired a flight of flamingos or a herd of bulls

You have already attended a bullfighting event or a Languedoc jousting tournament

The words "manade", "joust" and "clapas" are not unknown to you

The lyrics of Boby Lapointe and Georges Brassens remind you of the region

You can describe the recipes for brasucade, tielle sétoise and gardiane de taureau

You recommend the wines of the Languedoc vineyards and the shellfish of the Etang de Thau to your friends and family

Other destinations Hérault

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