Herault: tourism and sightseeing

Photo of Herault in France

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 tourism

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!

Places to visit in Herault with reviews from France This Way

Below you can see a description of Herault and its highlights. For details of each place (town, village, attraction...) that we have reviewed see places to visit in Herault.

Herault travel guide and highlights

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.

SeteMost 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.

Coastal towns and resorts in Herault

Agde

The town of Agde is an interesting cathedral town near the coast of herault

See Agde

Balaruc-le-Vieux

Small village on the northern part of the Etang de Thau

See Balaruc-le-Vieux

Bouzigues

Small historic village to the north of the Etang de Thau

See Bouzigues

Cap d'Agde

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

La Grande-Motte

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

Loupian

Small village on the Etang de Thau

See Loupian

Maguelone

The island of Maguelone is best known for its imposing cathedral

See Maguelone

Marseillan

Marseillan is a popular old town at the southern end of the Etang de Thau

See Marseillan

Meze

Meze is the most important town along the western shores of the Etang de Thau

See Meze

Montpellier

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

See Montpellier

Palavas-les-Flots

Palavas les Flots is one of the most visited seaside resorts in the region

See Palavas-les-Flots

Sete

The port town at Sete is one of the longest occupied regions of Herault with several interesting highlights

See Sete

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.

Western Herault including Pezenas and Beziers

The most important town in the south-west is Beziers, an interesting town to explore, and Pezenas is also a very pleasant town to visit.

Cirque de navacellesFurther west both Olargues and Minerve are classed as 'most beautiful villages in France' while Roquebrun is also very pleasant and has a popular river beach.

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'.

Highlights to the west of Herault

Aigne

Although small, Aigne is a pretty village and a detour is recommended

See Aigne

Beziers

Beziers is a popular and attractive town between Montpellier and Narbonne

See Beziers

Minerve

Minerve is one of the three villages in Herault classified among the most beautiful in France

See Minerve

Olargues

The pretty village of olargues is well worth the detour towards the north-west of the department

See Olargues

Pezenas

Discover the town of Pezenas, best known for its association with Molieres

See Pezenas

Roquebrun

Roquebrun is a very pretty village, most visited for the attractive Roquebrun gardens

See Roquebrun

Saint-Chinian

In the countryside north of Beziers, Saint Chinian is a traditional Languedoc market town

See Saint-Chinian

 
 

Northern Herault

The northern part of the department falls within the Massif Central region and is usually visited for its natural scenic highlights such as the Cirque de Moureze and the Lac du Salagou (close together in the centre of the department).

Cirque de MourezeYou will also find picturesque villages such as Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert, officially classifed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, and the town of Lodeve is also among those to visit.

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).

Highlights to the north of Herault

Avene

The small town of Avene is best known for its mineral watersn as used in the popular Avène range of beauty products

See Avene

Cirque de Moureze

The Cirque de Moureze is a very impressive scenic highlight meriting a visit

See Cirque de Moureze

Clermont-l'Herault

Clermont l'Herault sits surrounded by vines and olive trees, and is capital of the department

See Clermont-l'Herault

Lac-du-Salagou

The colourful Lac du Salagou is surrounded by countryside whose soil is an unusual burgundy-red colour

See Lac-du-Salagou

Les Matelles

The scenic village of Les Matelles is a short distance north-west of Montpellier

See Les Matelles

Lodeve

Lodeve is a small traditional market town in an attractive setting

See Lodeve

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

Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert

The village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert is classified among the most beautiful villages in France

See Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert

Saint-Martin-de-Londres

Saint-Martin-de-Londres ia a picturesque village in the Herault hinterland

See Saint-Martin-de-Londres

Villeneuvette

The village of villeneuvette originally developed around a 17th century cloth making industry

See Villeneuvette

See also:

Map of Herault and places to visit

More information

See more places, tourist attractions and local markets at visiting Hérault

The Montpellier airport is found within Herault.

See an index of all Herault communes

French version: Herault (Francais)