Local Activities and Attractions

Canoeing on the Herault River
Canoeing on the Herault River

Nearly everyone enjoys canoeing on the Herault.

Canoeing at the Devil's Bridge
Canoeing at the Devil's Bridge

There are half a dozen canoe hire spots between Ganges and St Guilhelm le Desert, offering placid water to gentle rapids – a very pleasant way to spend a hot summer afternoon.

Cyclists pause at <i>Issensac</i>
Cyclists pause at Issensac

The area offers both great road and mountain biking. These cyclists have paused on the XIIIth Century bridge at Issensac.

Eating out at <i>St Guilhelm le Desert</i>
Eating out at St Guilhelm le Desert

Whether in the local country restaurants or in cities like Montpellier, restaurants offer a range of styles and prices - everything from cafes that do steak frites under the Plane tree across the road to superb Michelin-starred establishments. Here are the cafes under the huge Plane tree in the main square of St Guilhelm le Desert. The two houses on the far side of the square date from the XIIth century.

A simple lunch
A simple lunch

Even the most ordinary of restaurants produce a good meal.

Fishing the River <i>Vis</i> at <i>Gornies</i>
Fishing the River Vis at Gornies

The cool, quiet rivers to be found locally offer some interesting fishing.

Hiking in summer along the <i>Corniche de Cevennes</i>
Hiking in summer along the Corniche de Cevennes

Hiking locally along the Herault river valley and gorges, more strenuously in the Cévennes National Park, gently in the hills and valleys near Brissac, or along the dunes on the beach – pretty much anywhere is good. Choose a hiking guide or map in your house and take your pick. The view here from the Corniche de Cevennes extends to the Mediterranean Sea.

Hiking in Spring on the <i>Causses</i>
Hiking in Spring on the Causses

Walking in the cool of Spring among the flowers, butterflies and birdsong is one of the undiscovered pleasures of Languedoc.

Hiking in winter near <i>Brissac</i>
Hiking in winter near Brissac

In winter the hiking is superb, with pleasant temperatures and long views between the trees. The limestone underfoot tends to dry quickly so that paths stay clean.

Historical visits: <i>La Couvertoirade</i>
Historical visits: La Couvertoirade

The well preserved Templar village at La Couvertoirade on the Causse de Larzac offers an interesting view into another era. Easily accessible sites range from the reconstructed prehistoric village at Cambous right up to the modern monstrosity of a bridge at Millau.

Historical visits: <i>Nimes</i>
Historical visits: Nimes

in Nimes the many Roman remains are still in use two millennia later. some returned to their supposed pure "Roman" state, and others retaining their later embellishments, for instance these XVIIIth century fountains in the Roman ruins that surrounded the Nemausa spring.

Historical visits: <i>St Guilhelm le Desert</i>
Historical visits: St Guilhelm le Desert

The beautiful XIIth century church at St Guilhelm le Desert is a World Heritage site in a fine medieval village. The Middle Ages are particularly well represented in our area, starting with our own medieval castle.

Riding white horses  in the <i>Camargue</i>
Riding white horses in the Camargue

or others on the Causses, allows riders to see wildlife close up and unafraid. We recommend a very few establishments on grounds of safety and good experience for the riders.

Shopping the markets for wonderful  food and other finds
Shopping the markets for wonderful food and other finds

Nearly every town and village has a market at least once a week. For the real foodies you could go to one in a different place every day to bring home the ingredients for another wonderful meal.

<i>Ganges</i> Market
Ganges Market

on Friday mornings is the biggest in the region, filling the town, with some traders coming from over a hundred km away. Here you can find everything from a huge variety of food, to street musicians, clothing, pottery, live animals, and everything else necessary for country life in southern France. Treasures found here include the dress for one's 50th Birthday party and a shopping basket to sport in the City of London.

Nature:   Birdwatching
Nature: Birdwatching

The more you know, the more you see. The cottages’ libraries include basic nature identification books.

Nature:   Raptor release
Nature: Raptor release

Sometimes we hear of releases back to the wild of patients from the local Raptor Rescue center, L'Hopital pour la Faune Sauvage Garrigues Cevennes; guests are most welcome to come to see (and photograph) these genuinely untamed birds close up, before they fly off to resume their life in the wild.

Nature:   Roadside exploring
Nature: Roadside exploring

You don't have to be grown up to enjoy nature. Bug walks are very popular with pre-schoolers.

Nature near the <i>Cirque de Navacelles</i>
Nature near the Cirque de Navacelles

The rivers around Brissac cut deep gorges in the limestone bedrock.

Swimming near the bridge at <i>Issensac</i>
Swimming near the bridge at Issensac

Swimming in the local rivers makes an interesting change from the pool. In Spring the shallow rivers running over sun-warmed rocks are a few degrees warmer than our deep pool.

Swimming at <i>La Cascade</i> near <i>Ganges</i>
Swimming at La Cascade near Ganges

The weir at La Cascade on the Vis is fun to jump from, or it's just good fun to swim off the rocks.

Swimming at the Devil's Bridge near <i>St Guilhelm le Desert</i>
Swimming at the Devil's Bridge near St Guilhelm le Desert

The rocks near the Devil's Bridge near St Guilhelm le Desert offer all heights for jumping into the river, which is deep here, but leave jumping off bridges to the local daredevils. There is also a gravel beach here.

Vineyards and wine production are the main local industry.
Vineyards and wine production are the main local industry.

The Languedoc region, formerly famous for "Cooperative" plonk, now produces mainly quite drinkable wines. You can visit domains to taste, and buy, wines, including a bottle or two for the designated driver to enjoy on The Balcony later, or to be shipped directly to your home. In late Spring some vineyards offer a Wine Walk of their vines, when the French will carefully inspect the growth, and taste samples of wine from other years from those vines which are set out under a handy tree, before buying "en primeur" for delivery the following spring when the wine has been made. A few vineyards may allow you to help with the harvest in the Autumn, which is also great fun.