From bustling, sunny seaside resorts along the Mediterranean, past lagoons and canals, vineyards, rivers and forests, into the wildly solitary mountains of the Cevennes; Herault in the South of France has a diversity of landscape and lifestyle which promises holidays to suit everyone.
Visitors to the coast will find breezy modern resorts with wonderful sandy beaches, such as Plage de Richelieu at popular Cap d’Agde offering every sort of water activity, Aqualand Park, museums and nightlife.
Herault caters well for golfers - La Grande Motte sports a Florida-style 36-hole course.
Away from the hot spots, enjoy fishing villages and vistas of saltwater lagoons dotted with the pink flamingos so special to Languedoc Roussillon.
Balanced between sea and the shellfish beds of Bassin de Thau, the old wine port of Sete, reminiscent of Venice, is acclaimed for its seafood. Waterside restaurants will spoil you for choice. Try delicious rouille a la Setoise - cuttlefish cooked in tomatoes and saffron - or take away a tiele seafood pie to enjoy whilst watching the August water jousting spectacle.
Capital Montpellier, founded in the tenth century, is at the heart of Herault’s regeneration and regarded as one of the liveliest cities in the South. Students of architecture should take in the post-modern Antigone project designed by Spaniard Bonfill alongside France’s oldest medical school and botanical gardens. Montpellier is home to the country’s largest university, annual festivals ranging from wine to extreme sports, and squares that buzz with market and café life.
Inland are pretty villages and rivers weaving between a tapestry of vines. Long a producer of good table wines, many of Herault’s vineyards, such as St Chinian and Faugeres, today have AOC status acknowledging their quality. Cruise the Canal du Midi from its meeting with the sea at Agde to the wine capital of Beziers. This unhurried Midi town also has a passion for rugby and its August bullfighting feria.
Cold and snowy in winter yet only 60km from the coast, the Cevennes provide a welcome break from the summer heat. Relish solitary hiking, climbing, caving and fishing in Haut-Languedoc Regional Natural Park, from the Black Mountains to Mont Caroux, out of season. Discover deep river gorges overlooked by treasures such as the Cathar citadel of Minerve and Romanesque abbey at breathtaking St-Guilhem-le-Desert, or wonderful caves at the Grotte des Desmoiselles and La Deveze.