LANGUEDOC: Land of Nature

In the South of France nature offers landscapes that are varied
and well-preserved, perfect for walking… 

The Hérault area in Languedoc, with its face towards the Mediterranean, stretches from the Haut Languedoc Regional Natural Park to the Gulf of Lions. The lower mountain range with its forests looks out over the plain, the vineyards, the garrigue (Mediterranean scrubland) and the fine sandy beaches. The sun shines down on this land of Languedoc for more than 300 days in the year.

Vers Pont du Diable, Gorges de l'Hérault - Hérault, le Languedoc © Photothèque Hérault Tourisme - Julie Noclercq

A natural amphitheatre

Parc Naturel Régional, Haut-Languedoc - Hérault, le Languedoc © Photothèque Hérault Tourisme - S. Lucchese

In the north-west, the Haut Languedoc Regional Natural Park covers, among other things, the mountains of Caroux (1098 m.) and L'Espinouse (1124 m.). The climate is influenced by the Mediterranean and also by the Atlantic. The watershed is the point where a major change in vegetation can be seen. Wild sheep, roe deer and wild boar all live in the chestnut forests.

To the north-east, on the edge of the National Park of the Cévennes, the Larzac Plateau and the mountain of Séranne rise up. These windswept sites are covered by sparse vegetation. They are areas for raising sheep. The Causses and Cévennes area is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Water shapes the landscape

Chutes de la Vis - Hérault, le Languedoc © Photothèque Hérault Tourisme - Eric Brendle

All of these lower mountain destinations
are notable for the presence of water.
It's water that shapes the landscape through the process of erosion through the ages, creating deep gorges (Hérault, Orb, Cesse, Vis, etc.). Some of these are suitable for watersports such as canoeing and kayaking. But even the steepest ones are worth a visit, as they are a wonderful place for family walks or more serious hiking (Gorges d'Héric or Gorges
de la Colombières, for example).

Beautiful, green and flower-filled valleys conceal the finest places for fishing enthusiasts
to practise their hobby (Agout, Jaur, Lergue, Mare, etc.).

Green and Blue

Mont Liausson, Lac Salagou - Hérault, le Languedoc © Photothèque Hérault Tourisme - S. Durand Keller

In the heart of the green and rolling landscape, the many artificial lakes (Salagou, La Raviège, St-Peyre, Laouzas, Vésoles, Airette, etc.) reflect the blue of the sky to form a contrast with this ever-present green, a wonderful spectacle for walkers, cyclists
and horse-riders.

These lakes also serve as playgrounds for those who enjoy non-motorised watersports.

Even where there is no longer any water...

Cirque de Navacelles - Hérault le Languedoc © Henri Comte

... it has left its mark on the landscape. The 'Grand Site' (major tourist site) of the Cirque de Navacelles is a perfect example. In this landform, the River Vis has abandoned a former meander to take a short cut and
to leave high and dry one of the most amazing landscapes in the Mediterranean basin.
The same is true of the Cirque de Mourèze landform: this unusual landscape is made up
of dolomitic rocks that have been eroded into extraordinary shapes.

While erosion creates sculptures above ground, its action is even more amazing underground. The fame of the Hérault caves is only equalled by the beauty of this underground world:

Dunes and lagoons, protected areas

Frontignan en Pays de Thau - Hérault, le Languedoc © Ville de Frontignan

Along the hundred or so kilometres of the Hérault shoreline, the fine sandy beaches are not the only riches to discover. This shoreline is fringed with lagoons and salt-marshes, true protected eco-systems and a paradise for migratory birds: pink flamingos, egrets, grey herons and even storks.

The vegetation is adapted to the marine environment: rushes, samphire, sea lavender, beach grasses.
The Bagnas Nature Reserve, the Orpellières Nature Reserves, and the Mejean nature discovery centre (Maison de la Nature) allow you to make closer acquaintance with this protected world,
a great experience for all ages.

> To experience all the thrills of these places that are filled with the natural wonders of the Hérault area, you can click on the link to see many suggestions for themed trails.


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