One may associate the Languedoc region of France with many things, from an intriguing musical and literary heritage to fine wine and perhaps even Montpellier HSC, the Ligue 1 football club. However, when it comes to holidaymaking, there are few better reasons to book Languedoc accommodation than the many walking opportunities in this part of the world.
If you are not a seasoned rambler, you might be pleased to know that there’s a good choice of short-distance walks in the Languedoc. The French are passionate about their walking, to the point that there are now thousands of walks marked out across the region, generally between one and three hours long. Trees and rocks often carry painted markings to assist you along the route. You can find out more about these walks by picking up the ‘Topo Guides’ – Topo-guide des Sentiers de Randonee – that you’ll find in the tourist offices of most villages.
Languedoc is an extremely diverse region geographically. Within half an hour of La Souqueto Chambres D’Hotes one can be exploring the steeper mountainous terrain of the black mountains or the numerous flat coastal walks.
A short drive to the Etang de Bages brings you to the idyllic setting of Peyriac de Mer. The village sits beside the disused salt flats which are now flooded with seawater. Birdlife is abundant; Flamingoes, Cranes and Egrets are a frequent sight.
A boardwalk takes you across the Le Sel Fort and the Etang du Doul and then up a gentle hill that rewards walkers with a superb view of The Med and Etang de Bages. (Length 5k or 10)
We can also highly recommend walking in and around the Gorges d’Heric, north of La Souqueto. It’s a beautiful drive up into the hills passing through Bize Minervois, St Chinian and Roquebrun. There is a car park at the bottom of the Gorge with a little cafe serving refreshments…but we would suggest you take a picnic and spend the day swimming in the numerous rock pools along the full length of the Gorge
There are so many wonderful walks in the area around and above the village of Minerve with incredible views.
However, it’s also possible that this isn’t your first walking adventure from Languedoc accommodation, making you feel ready for a longer distance walk. There are several ‘official’ longer walks in this part of France, with one of the most famous being the Sentier Cathar, or the Cathar Trail. This name refers to Catharism, the dualist religion that took particular root in the Languedoc and other parts of Europe in the Middle Ages, but which eventually incurred the Catholic church’s wrath.
Those embarking on the modern Cathar Trail begin at the sea before walking westwards along the Pyrenees foothills, encountering Cathar castles along the way. Eventually, walkers – frequently accompanied on the route by horse riders – end up in Foix in the Mid-Pyrenees region.
There’s also a European long distance path, E4, that passes through the Languedoc region. Starting in the south over the Pyrenees, it progresses through the Black Mountains near St Pons, also coming close to the likes of Prades, Lagrasse, Carcassonne, Lodeve and Le Vigan en route to Provence.
Of everything that can be done from Languedoc accommodation, there can be few simpler – but also more satisfying – activities than those done by foot.