Excursions in the Languedoc
Explore vineyards, art galleries, abbeys, Cathar castles, Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Languedoc...
A land of treasures
Numerous excursions and activities are organised to suit your various desires: from the port of Sète to the Cistercian abbeys in Fontfroide and Lagrasse, via Terra Vinea (a hands-on museum of wine and Mediterranean cultures), the fortified city of Carcassonne and the Canal du Midi, discover the Languedoc region’s heritage and culture at your own pace. Alternatively, you may wish to relax on one of the Mediterranean’s beautiful beaches, explore the coastal reserves or visit the picturesque fishing villages while soaking up the local lifestyle…
Villeneuvette royal manufactory visit
The former royal sheet manufactory founded in 1677 by Colbert, famous for its beautiful buildings which attract tourists from all around the world.
In summer you can enjoy lunch in the Hôtel de Villeneuvette.
Five minutes from this manufactory, you’ll discover the Cirque de Mourèze, dolomitic limestone outcrops from around which start multiple hiking trails.
Salagou Lake is a modern, man-made lake characterised by the unusual bauxite (red coloured rock) that surrounds it.
Lunch at Lodève and museum visit
Inside an elegant private hotel in Lodève- that of the Cardinal of Fleury, tutor to Louis XV – you’ll find a museum that is famous for its large summer exhibitions. The Musée de Lodève contains two departments.
On one side you’ll find geological collections. On the other, fine arts, with a collection of sculptures and works on paper by the local Lodève artist, Paul Dardé, and works by Braque, Caillebotte, Camoin, Dufy, Gris, Soutine, Vlaminck, Léger, Poliakoff…
Saint Guilhem le Désert
An essential place to visit that poets dubbed the “Occitan Jewel”, the “inspired valley of Languedoc” and a “legendary site of France”, this medieval city was founded in 804 by Guilhem, Duke of Aquitaine. Today a few relics of the Gellone monastery remain. The abbey, located in the centre of the village, is now a mecca for tourists.
La Clamouse grotto
Around 2 km downstream from Saint Guilhem le Désert, La Clamouse grotto is a true underground marvel that boasts a rich and varied array of concretions. The vast hall’s red and brown drapery, long and fine fistulas and crystals in the form of eccentric calcite flowers with extravagant curves open your eyes to a whole new universe with a harmonious blend of volumes, shapes and colours. This genuine mineral museum contains two levels of galleries with linking passages. The visit accompanied by a computer controlled music and light show offers an unforgettable insight into this extraordinary world. The views from the grotto’s terrace are absolutely stunning.
Les Demoiselles grotto
These mysterious caverns which formerly terrorised rural dwellers, served as a refuge to Protestants during the religious wars and to the refractory priests during the revolution.
Les Demoiselles grotto in Saint Bauzille de Putois – accessible via funicular
The Héric gorges, which slice their way through the Espinouse mountain range, are an attraction not to be missed. The road that follows the torrent offers spectacular landscapes. The water thunders down between massive, imposing boulders for 6km. The trail leading to Héric hamlet is only for the brave. To reach the waterfalls, the Gouffre du Cerisier (a natural rock pool) and the Cirque de Farrières, you must follow the trail on foot for around four hours’ walk. The scenery is amazing and there are a few large boulders you can climb on to plunge into the water.
Recognisable from the road due to its 18th century humpback bridge, the charming city of Olargues opens up its mountainous heart to visitors. Its narrow cobbled streets and stone walled houses offer a soothing ambiance. A welcome stop for hikers, it is the starting point of four marked hiking routes.
The Cirque de Navacelle
Upstream from the Vis gorges and 6 km from Saint-Maurice-Navacelle nestles a pure wonder: the cirque de Navacelle, a gigantic crater dug into the limestone with the collapse of the plateaux and an old incised meander. It forms a depression that sinks down over 300 metres. This extraordinary location inspires emotions that words can’t describe. Hikers will enjoy the perfect blend of aesthetic beauty and vertiginous views.