Nature and tradition of The Salagou, a surprising hinterland
The south of France usually conjures up images of the beach in the global psyche. However, Lake Salagou and its hinterland have much more to offer!
Let me guide you and give you some information about these extraordinary places. These tips will make you want to stay several days – the slow way – to enjoy everything the region has to offer!
Where is the Salagou region – Cirque de Mourèze?
The lake is located between Clermont l’Hérault and Bédarieux, less than an hour inland from Sète, Montpellier or Béziers.
A small introduction to the territory of the vast Salagou – Cirque de Mourèze site
You will be surprised, this place has a lot of charm and is really exceptional!
First of all, geology has played in its favour, offering varied landscapes, thanks to its aridity, its Mediterranean biodiversity and its ancestral agriculture.
If you follow our Facebook page, you know how biodiversity is a major factor in the fight against climate change. On the Salagou site, you will find many endangered birds species.
If you are looking for a site that stands out from the others, Salagou – Cirque de Mourèze will not disappoint you. You will observe unusual and emblematic places, and sometimes even lunar landscapes.
Moreover, this site is classified by a 1930 law for its extraordinary landscapes.
Here, there is even a mixed syndicate whose objective is to preserve this fragile site.
A testimony of the geology of Salagou
First of all, you’ll be amazed to walk on red soil. This colour shows the mineral richness of the site. You will also find a contrast with the white rocks of the Cirque de Mourèze, and the black volcanic rocks of the reliefs.
When you visit Liausson, you will find an explanation of the different rocks. Their age sometimes goes back millions of years ago and even to the period before the dinosaurs: that of the pre-mammals.
What to do at Salagou Lake?
Prepare to get your hair mussed! This site is very windy and offers beaches all around, as well as numerous access points and parking lots. You will also find beaches accessible to wheelchair users. And even a helicopter pad, right next to the lifeguards. So you can rest assured!
There is a bike rental on-site, a restaurant, and rentals for water sports such as sailing.
You can also take advantage of the many trees to have a picnic or simply take a book and rest by the lake! There is something for everyone.
The authentic villages around the lake of Salagou
This tiny village is worth the detour. From its church, you will have an exceptional panorama on Salagou lake. The church of Saint-Félix can also be visited, and you will also pass in front of the fountain and the old wash house before going up towards the church.
More a small town than a village, here you will find all the amenities such as a market (on Wednesdays), many shops and services.
You can visit the castle of Guilhem, the Saint-Paul church and its alleys. The visit of the fortified church of Saint Paul is worth the detour. Dating from the 13th-15th centuries, it symbolizes the heart of the town. You will also find a pleasant alley to stroll through or enjoy the many bars, restaurants and cafés.
For me, this is the most striking place, with its amazing rocks marking the entrance to the village. There are circuits for hikers to better observe the beauty of the nature.
If long walks are not an option, you can simply visit the small village. Approach the church of Saint Mary, and stop at a café.
You can also admire the dolomitic cirque, the remains of the castle, the Courtinals park, the bread oven and the church.
I would have liked to go to other villages, but we didn’t have time.
Other sites to discover in the Salagou region
There is plenty to do here: the medieval sites of Dio and Joncels, the nautical base of Lunas, the contemporary art centre of Bédarieux and the thermal spas of Avène and Lamalou les Bains, not to mention the 500 kms of walks integrated into the regional natural park of the upper Languedoc.
You will be able to visit its Episcopal city, a soap factory, its museum and its Earth Sciences tour, which includes fossils from Salagou.
Here, it is above all the landscapes that are worth the detour, with a panorama of the valley at the Merquière pass, and the ruff path, which runs along the Salagou stream. Ruff?
Salasc is a very pleasant little village, with its church, the old bread oven, the old fortified village around the church, and the Sentier des béals.
Lots to see here:
The neck of La Roque
The dolmens of Toucou
The chapel of Roubignac
St. Etienne’s church and its fountain
Fortifications, a chapel and the Dalle de la Lieude, that’s what you can discover here!
Very close to the lake, you will be able to contemplate magnificent panoramas!
Respecting the environment of this fragile natural space
It is important to be careful about what we do when we enter these kinds of territories. We are all responsible and it is important to follow the guidelines to preserve this exceptional nature.
First of all, park only in the designated parking lots. There are enough, even in the middle of July, so no excuses!
Then, after 10 pm, you have to go to a night area and leave the other car parks. If you are travelling by camper or caravan, you must go to the banks of Clermont l’Hérault, Octon or Vailhés to find a designated area.
Respect for wildlife and agriculture
Also respect the habitat of birds already in danger of extinction, by contemplating reedbeds from afar.
Let us also respect the crops and the flocks.
Your waste is your responsibility
And, of course, let’s sort our waste and take it to the appropriate disposal points.
In the event of a fire, the canadairs scoop up water from the lake.
There is an invasive aquatic weed, called the “lagarosiphon”. It grows on the lake shore, and although harmless for us, it is harmful to the biodiversity of the site. So be careful to avoid touching and spreading it.
The Salagou region in short
If you want to make the most of it, I advise you to stay at least for a week. This will allow you to quietly enjoy the nature and its many pleasant villages, far from the hustle and bustle of the Mediterranean coast.
Especially this summer, you want to avoid the crowds. Especially for us city dwellers, this return to nature is a real breath of fresh air!
Do you know the region? If you know of places that respect environmental health and adapt to the needs of travellers, don’t hesitate to inform us on our page.
We try to collect information to share it within our community. We are counting on your participation so that our project, Planeta Sana, can be born soon! A project that aims to enjoy the beauty of our planet while protecting it. This allows us to take care of ourselves and our health at the same time. Join the movement!
We look forward to hearing from you and hope our article will make you want to get to know the region!