Enjoy camping in the Hérault
The Hérault is a region of France with all the ingredients for a relaxing camping holiday. A varied landscape, comfortable campsites, atmospheric towns, delicious food, great weather and friendly people. I was there last in April. I discovered street art in Sète, a botanical garden in Montpellier and a local market in Sommières. I’ll share my tips with you in this blog!
With the Cévennes in the north, vast vineyards in the middle, and the Mediterranean in the south, the Hérault has something for everyone. You can easily combine walking and cycling trips with lazy afternoons on the beach or on a terrace. And there’s plenty to see if you love culture too. There are many Roman and medieval villages and towns (including Gignac, Agde, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert) have been well preserved. And with a pleasant climate all the way through from April to May, a holiday during the low season is also a great option. What are the must-sees?
Montpellier: charming student city
I’ll start with the largest city in the Hérault: Montpellier. The nearly 300,000 inhabitants include no fewer than 60,000 students. That means lots of affordable restaurants, trendy shops and a fun atmosphere. The city has loads to offer: several museums (I recommend the Musée Fabre), the large botanical garden Jardin des Plantes and one of the most beautiful promenades in the country, Promenade du Peyrou. Not to mention the many churches and cathedrals, the nearby vineyard chateau Flaugergues and the interesting new-build neighbourhood of Antigone.
Everything is easily walkable, so you can see plenty of the city. Thirsty? You can drink a delicious smoothie on the terrace of Le Mélody, located opposite the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre. And you shouldn’t skip the crepes there either. Bistrot Chez Félix is a good place to go for lunch or dinner. But there are plenty of great places to see in Montpellier. Tip: in the summer find a cool place to sit in one of the flower beds in the botanical garden. And it smells fantastic too!
Campsites near Montpellier:
Sète: coastal town with street art
Sète is beautiful. This coastal town (44,000 inhabitants) has lots of canals, which will bring Venice to mind. But in contrast to many of the coastal towns on the Côte d’Azur, Sète doesn’t have a very worldly character. The friendly atmosphere is part of its charm. Although there are beautiful stately buildings, there’s also plenty of space. And Sète has developed quite a reputation for street art, thanks largely to all of that space. From large images in the city centre to modest works in the less touristy spots.
Sète is quite hilly. Take a walk to the Chapelle de la Salette, an interesting pilgrimage site at an altitude of 175 metres. The church is famous for its well-preserved frescoes. There’s a large cross outside the church. And you can feast your eyes from the vantage point. The Etang de Thau Lake, the Mediterranean Sea, and of course Sète itself: the view is simply stunning! And once you reach the bottom, treat yourself to an ice cream. They have delicious traditional ice cream at Les Glaces de la Bouline. The perfect end to a day in Sète.
Campsites near Sète:
Sommières: stroll around the market
Sommières lies on the border between the Hérault and the Gard. It’s only the size of a village (5,000 inhabitants) but it’s a great place to visit. Even more so on a Saturday, during the local market. The picturesque centre transforms into a colourful sight to behold (see photo). And of course there are plenty of delicious cheeses, sausages, fruits and other delicacies to try. But make sure you also take a walk out of the centre to the large square, where you’ll find antique dealers displaying their most beautiful pieces. The perfect place to pick up an affordable souvenir.
And Sommières is interesting even if you don’t like markets. There are great bars and cafés. Don’t miss D’une tasse à l’autre if you love coffee and tea. Here you can try out a new tea or coffee type each week, and for a reasonable price. Take a walk to the Castle of Sommières, which sits on top of a hill. The structure is no longer intact, but it’s possible to visit it nevertheless (only during the summer holidays). Sommières is located on the Vidourle river. So a picnic by the water is another possibility.
Campsites close to Sommières:
Have you been to the Hérault? And if so, which cities and campsites did you visit? We’d love to hear what you thought and any tips you have!