Visit Herault, France
A department of many contrasts, Herault has the modern coastal resort of La Grande-Motte to compare with the traditional fishing towns of the Etang de Thau, and the bustling town of Montpellier to contrast with the attractive villages to the interior of the department
Herault: an introduction
Herault is the central department of the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, with an extensive coastal region that extends from Beziers to Montpellier.
Inland from the coast the countryside extends north and west from the Mediterranean coast and includes many scenic treasures, more so the further north and west you travel.
While most visitors to Herault are based along the coast we do strongly recommend you allow at least a day two to get away from the beach and explore the scenery!
The Herault Coast including Beziers and Montpelier
Broadly speaking the coast in Herault consists of resorts in the east (such as our personal favourite in the region at La Grande-Motte and Palavas-les-Flots) and in the west of the region (including the naturist resort of Cap d'Agde), with the Etang de Thau and the town of Sete in between them.
Most of the beach resorts are relatively recent developments and less expensive than those on the Riviera further west on the Mediterranean, and typically have all the beach facilities you expect but lack interesting historical sights.
An unexpected highlight on the coast - or rather on a strip of land in the sea - is the cathedral at Maguelone.
The lively town of Montpellier is near the coast to the north-east of the department and has a vibrant city centre, and is among our favourite summer time towns in France. Other places to visit when you are not on the beach include the cathedral town of Agde or the historic port area of Sete, and the the villages and towns around the Etang de Thau, such as Marseillan, Loupian and Meze.
See coastal resorts in Herault for highlights
Western Herault including Pezenas and Beziers
We also suggest you visit the villages of Aigne, Beaufort and Montouliers in the south-west near Minerve and Vieussan is among our favourites near Olargues.
This part of the department forms part of the Haut-Languedoc Regional Natural Park, whic contains many of the scenic highlights to be found in Herault. One particularly scenic site is the Cirque de Navacelles, a large gorge carved in the limestone which is listed as one of about 30 'Grand Sites of France'.
See Western Herault for highlights
Note: the scenic Gorges de l'Herault at St Guilhem-le-Desert are also classified as a 'Grand Site of France'
There are lots of other pretty villages in the countryside of northern Herault such as Pegairolles de l'Escalette in a lovely setting backed by cliffs, Laroque, Brissac and the small hilltop village of Pegairolles de Bueges - but you are sure to come across others equally picturesque as you travel around that we haven't discovered yet!
Also inland in this part of the Herault there are a couple of cave systems worth visiting: the Grotte de la Clamouse (near Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert) and the Grotte des Demoiselles (in the very north-easternmost part of the department).
See Northern Herault for highlights
Coast and resorts in Herault
The town of Agde is an interesting cathedral town near the coast of herault
Small village on the northern part of the Etang de Thau
Small historic village to the north of the Etang de Thau
The coast south of Agde, called Cap d'Agde, is very popular and an important naturist centre
See Cap d'Agde
Etang de Thau
Much of the coastal part of the department is taken up by the Etang de Thau and its villages
See Etang de Thau
The popular seaside resort of La Grande-Motte is at the eastern end of the Herault department, an impressive resort architect designed in the 1970's and pretty much unchanged since.
See La Grande-Motte
Small village on the Etang de Thau
The island of Maguelone is best known for its imposing cathedral
Marseillan is a popular old town at the southern end of the Etang de Thau
Meze is the most important town along the western shores of the Etang de Thau
Montpellier has a reputation for being one of the most lively and vibrant cities along the southern coast of France. As well as its beautiful historic centre the neo-classical Antigone district is well worth visiting, as is the new shopping and leisure centre at Odysseum with a planetarium, aquarium and ice-rink
Palavas les Flots is one of the most visited seaside resorts in the region
The port town at Sete is one of the longest occupied regions of Herault with several interesting highlights
France This way comment: we suggest that you also visit the cistercian Abbey Valmagne, at Villeveyrac, which is a lovely abbey with a very impressive cloisters.
Highlights to the north of Herault
The small town of Avene is best known for its mineral watersn as used in the popular Avène range of beauty products
Cirque de Moureze
The Cirque de Moureze is a very impressive scenic highlight meriting a visit
Clermont l'Herault sits surrounded by vines and olive trees, and is capital of the department
The colourful Lac du Salagou is surrounded by countryside whose soil is an unusual burgundy-red colour
The scenic village of Les Matelles is a short distance north-west of Montpellier
See Les Matelles
Lodeve is a small traditional market town in an attractive setting
Lunas and area
Lunas is a good introduction to the scenery of the pretty 'mountains and springs' area of the Herault.
See Lunas and area
The village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert is classified among the most beautiful villages in France
Saint-Martin-de-Londres ia a picturesque village in the Herault hinterland
The village of villeneuvette originally developed around a 17th century cloth making industry
France This way comment: usually visited for its natural scenic highlights, also inland in the Herault near here there are a couple of cave systems that are worth visiting: the Grotte de la Clamouse (near Saint Guilhem le Desert) and the Grotte des Demoiselles (in the very north-easternmost part of the department).
Highlights to the west of Herault
Although small, Aigne is a pretty village and a detour is recommended
Beziers is a popular and attractive town between Montpellier and Narbonne
Minerve is one of the three villages in Herault classified among the most beautiful in France
The pretty village of olargues is well worth the detour towards the north-west of the department
Discover the town of Pezenas, best known for its association with Molieres
Roquebrun is a very pretty village, most visited for the attractive Roquebrun gardens
In the countryside north of Beziers, Saint Chinian is a traditional Languedoc market town
Market towns & days in Herault
all markets in morning unless otherwise stated
Agde: Tuesday & Wednesday (high season only)
Agde: Thursday & Sunday & Saturday
Balaruc-les-Bains: Tuesday & Friday
Bedarieux: Monday all day
Bessan: Tuesday & Sunday
Castelnau-le-Lez: Thursday & Saturday & Friday
La Grande-Motte: Sunday
La Grande-Motte: Thursday (high season only)
Lamalou-les-Bains: Tuesday & Thursday & Saturday
Lattes: Wednesday & Sunday
Lunel: Thursday & Sunday
Marseillan: Monday & Wednesday & Friday & Saturday (high season only)
Mauguio: Tuesday all day & Thursday all day & Sunday all day
Palavas-les-Flots: Sunday (high season only)
Palavas-les-Flots: Wednesday & Monday & Friday
Pezenas: Saturday all day
Portiragnes: Every day except Thursday & Saturday (high season only)
Saint-Chinian: Thursday & Sunday
Saint-Gely-du-Fesc: Thursday & Saturday
Saint-Pons-de-Thomieres: Wednesday & Sunday
Serignan: Wednesday & Monday & Friday
Sete: Wednesday & Monday & Friday
Selected tourist destinations in the Herault
The following sites have received official "tourist classifications"...
Zoo or wildlife park
Parc zoologique de Lunaret
4* Towns in Bloom
Sites of Natural Beauty
Cirque du Moureze
Etang de Thau
Etangs du Bagnas
Grotte de la Clamouse
Grotte des Demoiselles
Secteur Sauvegardé (protected historical town centre)
Listed 'Remarkable Gardens'
Jardin des carrières de Saint-Adrien
Parc et jardin du château de Margon
Parc et jardins du château de Flaugergues
Regional Natural Parcs
towns classified as Recommended Detours
Villages classified as "most beautiful villages"
UNESCO world heritage sites
Saint Jean de Fos pont du diable (monuments on French pilgrim routes)
Grand Sites of France
Cirque de Navacelles
Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert / Gorges de l'Herault
Valle du Salagou
French version: Herault (Francais)
- The coastal resorts in Herault (including Agde and Montpellier)
- Explore the North
- Explore the West (with Pezenas and Beziers)
- List of weekly market days in the department
- Sites with tourism awards and classifications
- Map of the region
- The Montpellier airport is found within Herault.
- See an index of all Herault communes