Etang de Thau
Visit Etang de Thau (Languedoc-Roussillon, France)
The Etang de Thau is a large (18 km * 6 km) lagooon - a sea-lake that is separated from the Mediterranean by a long thing cordon of raised sand. The Mediterranean can be accessed from the Etang at Marseillan and Sete while the Canal du Midi enters the etang at Marseillan. The Etang de Thau is the largest of the lagoons along the Langudoc coast.
Never very deep (average depth is 5 metres, and rarely more than 10 metres deep), the Etang has long been an important resource in the region. The region has been inhabited since neolithic times, although it was the Greeks and Romans who were the first to extract salt from the sea in the etang. Nowadays, as well as salt, the Etang de Thau is an important region for supplying oysters and mussels.
Exploring the Etang de Thau
There are several interesting small towns and villages around the Etang de Thau of interest to visitors including:
Individually these towns are quite small but each has their own particular highlights. You will find pleasure ports at Balaruc-les-Bains, Bouzigues, Meze, Marseillan and Sete. Apart from Balaruc-les-Bains each of these towns also has a fishing port.
The town and roman villa at Loupian is another popular destination while Sete, the biggest and liveliest town here, is to the south-east of the etang and has several interesting monuments - art museums in particular.
Activities and attractions
The region is popular with nature lovers - there are many unusual bird species that inhabit the Etang de Thau. The 'lake' itself is also popular with sailing schools and other water activity lovers such as windsurfing and kitesurfing. despite being surrounded by land the etang is large enough to benefit from the wind conditions necessary to practice these sports.
Around the edges of the lake many activities are available to visitors to the region, including beaches and water based sports, walking and cycling, following local wine routes, taking barge trips along the Canal du Midi, and exploring the attractive towns.
There is a very large project underway to improve the coastline between Sete and Marseillan Plage - a very long strip of beach that is being 'renewed' and improved. At the time of writing the section of the coastline at the Marseillan Plage end has been largely completed.
There is a dinosaur park at Meze and balaruc-les-Bains is the larges thermal spa centre along the Mediterranean in France.
While at Bouzigues you can visit a small museum that explains the history of the Etang de Thau and also the activities such as shellfish farming and fishing that have taken place here over the centuries.
Photos taken within 10 km
Address: Etang de Thau, Herault, Languedoc-Roussillon || GPS: latitude 43.4, longitude 3.6
Map of Etang de Thau & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Etang de Thau, France
- Etangs du Bagnas - site of natural beauty (12km)
- Pezenas - recommended detour (16km)
- Jardin des carrières de Saint-Adrien - remarkable garden (24km)
- Parc et jardin du château de Margon - remarkable garden (26km)
- Cirque du Moureze - site of natural beauty (31km)
- Beziers - secteur sauvegarde (32km)
- Montpellier - secteur sauvegarde (32km)
- Grotte de la Clamouse - site of natural beauty (34km)
- Mare Nostrum - aquarium (34km)
- Valle du Salagou - grand site of france (34km)
The French version of this page is at Etang de Thau (Francais)