When you spend your holidays at Camping Farret, you'll notice that it's surrounded by water: of course, the sea in front and the Canal du Midi at the back, but there's also the Libron on one side and the Hérault on the other. While all eyes are on the Canal du Midi, the Hérault has its own charm. Here, we'll give you an idea for a walk or bike ride starting from the campground to explore the banks of this river, at the end of its course, where it flows into the sea.
The department of Hérault in the Occitanie region reveals its treasures along the river that bears its name. This coastal river of 160 km crosses the department from North to South. It originates at Mont Aigoual in the Cévennes and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the mouth of Grau d'Agde and La Tamarissière, near Camping Farret at Vias Plage.
From the campsite, you can reach the Hérault River via the beach. This stroll will introduce you to the wild part of Vias with its numerous streams and the Clôt de Vias Pond. It's the preserved natural area we call "les verdisses," which spans nearly 600 hectares between Vias and Agde. Along the beach, you will follow the wooded dunes of La Tamarissière before reaching the lighthouse pier of this small neighborhood in the City of Agde, from where you can enjoy a view of Grau d'Agde. This is where the Hérault River flows into the sea. In the evening, you can witness the return of trawlers from their fishing trips and the dance of seagulls in the silvery reflections of the river.
We tend to refer to seagulls, but most of the time, it's actually gulls. Both species are closely related, but they can be distinguished if you take a closer look. The larger of the two with its white head is actually the gull. Another clue is their beaks: gulls have a big, slightly hooked, yellow beak with a small red spot underneath, while gulls have a smaller red beak. When they are in flight, it's more difficult to tell them apart, but you can listen closely. The call of the gull is high-pitched, similar to a laugh, hence its name "laughing gull." If you hear deep and shrill squawks, it's most likely the seagull. Finally, we've all encountered seagulls approaching to claim a share of a picnic. Gulls are too shy and timid to be thieves.
Now, you'll observe our famous seabirds with a bit more attention.
On the left bank, Grau d'Agde, an old picturesque fishing port, is lined with numerous restaurants on stilts. During the summer, a ferry boat allows you to cross the river to visit this typical neighborhood. There, you can savor local fish and seafood dishes while enjoying a beautiful sunset over the river. Very popular with tourists in the summer, Grau d'Agde offers a pleasant seaside walk in the winter, where many locals visit on weekends. On the quay, you can embark on a boat ride along the river and cruise up to Agde. For the more active, a bicycle path follows the river up to the City of Agde, where you can see fishing boats in action. The shipyard and fish market will also be on your way.
The town of Agde is nicknamed the "Black Pearl" of the Mediterranean due to its monuments built from the black volcanic stone of Mont Saint-Loup (basalt), including the Saint-Etienne Cathedral. It is at the foot of the cathedral that the Languedoc jousting tournaments take place. More than a sport, water jousting is a local tradition and folklore. It's primarily a family affair, a passion passed down through the generations. Whether they are rowers, jousters, or musicians, they take pride in their festive attire. You can't spend your vacation at Club Farret and miss this colorful spectacle. Agde, Vias, Sète... jousting tournaments happen throughout the summer.
As part of the summer entertainment on the Hérault, Agde sets up a floating stage that hosts a free concert every Tuesday evening in July and August, courtesy of the city. Many artists have already performed on this stage, and 2019 will see performances by Michel Jonasz, Les Négresses Vertes, Bénabar, Joyce Jonathan, and more.
If you want to discover Hérault in a different way, you can head north of the department, about a 1-hour drive from Vias. Along the river, you will come across various landscapes and tourist sites, including the Hérault Gorges, where the river has carved through the rock. Make a stop at the Devil's Bridge, navigate the narrow and winding canyon in a canoe, and visit Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, one of the most charming villages in France.
Club Farret is a great starting point for excursions to explore and visit Hérault in the Occitanie region!
And much more about your campsite at Vias Plage and our Occitanie / Mediterranean region.