Maguelone, Herault visitors guide
Visit Maguelone, FrancePhoto Gallery
Maguelone is a tiny volcanic island attached to the mainland by a narrow strip of land surrounded by water. It is home to the cathedral of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul of Maguelone. The cathedral can be reached by car from Palavas-les-Flots or on foot from Villeneuve-les-Maguelone.
Because of its easily defensible position with the sea on one side and a lagoon on the other Maguelone was home to a cathedral in the 1st century though this was destroyed by the Francs. In the 11th century a new cathedral was built, though the existing cathedral dates mostly to the 12 and 13th century.
There are a number of carved funeral stones in the cathedral as well as various altars including a simple stone altar with a black marble top.
It is a fortified building in the Romanesque style. The walls are 2 metres thick in places and openings are narrow. At the same time as the cathedral was built fortifications were built around the cathedral and a bridge built to link the island to Villeneuve-les-Maguelone.
Often in France churches seem huge in proportion to the surrounding village but here there really is not much other than the cathedral. Indeed it is surrounded by vines with views out towards the lagoon and Palavas-les-Flots in the distance and views out over the sea.
There is a carving of Saint Pierre and also Saint Paul on either side of the Western doorway of the cathedral. Inside the space is fairly cavernous with high ceilings and a very simple decorative style.
The immediate surroundings of the cathedral is an area of garden filled with trees and palms and underplanted with literally hundreds of acanthus plants which appear to do an excellent job of supressing weeds.
Every year in June the cathedral is home to a festival of 'Ancient Music'.
Note the bridge to Villeneuve-les-Maguelone is not always open and so if you want to cycle or walk across be sure to check times. The road from Palavas-les-Flots is always open.
Places to Visit Nearby
The beach is not a fine sandy beach but there is a good long stretch of beach from Maguelone to Frontigan, this is really just a long sandbank and so there is water on both sides.
Heading in the other direction La Grande-Motte with its distinctive architecture and Le Grau-du-Roi with its canal side shops and restaurants are both pleasant resorts. Look out for the pink flamingos on the Etang.
Map of Maguelone and places nearby
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Étangs palavasiens: site of natural beauty (3 km)
- Mare Nostrum: aquarium (10 km)
- Montpellier: secteur sauvegarde (11 km)
- Parc et jardins du château de Flaugergues: remarkable garden (11 km)
- Parc zoologique de Lunaret: zoo or wildlife park (14 km)
- Pointe de l'Espiguette: site of natural beauty (19 km)
- Etang de Thau: site of natural beauty (24 km)
- Towers and fortifications of Aigues-Mortes: national monument (26 km)
- Grotte de la Clamouse: site of natural beauty (34 km)
- Saint Jean de Fos pont du diable (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (34 km)
- Sommieres: secteur sauvegarde (34 km)
- Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert / Gorges de l'Herault: grand site of france (36 km)
The French version of this page is at Maguelone (Francais)