Best South of France beaches to visit in 2020

5 Best beaches near Montpellier France to visit in 2022

espiguette 365The main beauty of the beaches near Montpellier is that you can easily reach them without a car - you simply take a tram from Montpellier city centre (Line 3 to Perols Etang de l'Or and then walk to Carnon beach). The nearest beach to Montpellier city centre is just 13kms from the city (Carnon Plage beach). During the summer months, the local residents of Montpellier tend to head out to the beaches in the late afternoon and stay until the early evening. Palavas and Carnon Plage are always popular (because they are the closest beaches to Montpellier, but if you head slightly further afield, you can reach some of the better beaches to the North of Montpellier. Here is a list of the 5 best beaches near Montpellier, France and a guide of how best to reach them.

Best beaches around Montpellier


Montpellier is a vibrant, metropolitan city in the South of France. Regular voted as the most desired city to live in France, Montpellier is also expanding rapidly and has recently surpassed Strasbourg as the 7th biggest city in France. Montpellier is a well connected city, with the TGV, an international airport and the main North-South autoroutes through France all close at hand. 

Best Montpellier beaches to visit

montpellier franceIf you are planning on visiting Montpellier in South France this summer and you want to discover the best beaches to visit, we have created a list of 5 great beaches within easy travel distance of Montpellier city centre. There are a number of Montpellier beaches to choose from. Probably the closest beaches near to Montpellier, France are at Pavalas and Carnon, approximately 13 km from the city centre in the direction of Montpellier airport. But I don't find Pavalas to be a particularly great beach. Some of the best beaches Montpellier has to offer are to be found to the North East of the city, close to Le Grande Motte. The beaches here are sheltered and have golden sand. Whilst La-Grande Motte resort might not be everyone's cup of tea, with its pyramid hotels and modern housing suburbs, there is no denying that beach at Point Zero Plage, situated in the centre of La Grande Motte, is absolutely stunning. It is perfect for kids and adults alike. There is also plenty to do after the beach as well. You can take your pick of restaurants and bars along the front. But if I had to pick my favourite beach around Montpellier, then I would go for Espiguette beach. This beach is a lot wilder than the others around Montpellier, with bigger waves and lovely sand dunes at the back of the beach. It is not the easiest beach to reach without a car, but it is well worth the effort if you are staying in Montpellier for a few days.


Carnon beach near Montpellier

carnon beach montpellier

Carnon Plage is the closest beach near Montpellier, France. You can also reach Carnon by public transport, by taking a bus from Montpellier city centre (bus number 106 direction Carnon and Aigues-Mortes). Alternatively, you can take the Tram (Line 3) from Montpellier city centre to the tram stop Perols Etang de l'Or and either walk or pick up the shuttle bus to Carnon Plage beach.

In terms of a beach, I would probably say that Carnon Plage is OK, but nothing really special. The sand is slightly gritty and the beach can get quite busy. Carnon beach is quite large and you will find plenty of bars and cafes in Carnon itself. But if you are stuck in a city centre apartment or hotel with no outdoor space during a hot summer's day, then the fact you can reach this beach in 15 minutes does have its advantage. But, if you are willing to travel a few kilometers in either direction you will find better Montpellier beaches. 



Espiguette best beach near Montpellier

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I think without a shadow of a doubt, Espiguette beach is the best beach near Montpellier, France. Situated to the east of Le Grau de Roi, this white sandy beach has a wild windswept look. At the back of the Espiguette beach you have these wonderful sand dunes and you tend to get a few rollers coming in off the sea at this point of the coast (the sea at La Grande Motte and Carnon tends to be a bit flat). Don't expect any restaurants or cafes nearby, but that is the reason why you come here. There are a couple of pop-up beach bars along the 18 km stretch of Espiguette beach (probably one of the best ones is near the large car park at the Lighhouse end of the beach).

It is technically possible to reach Espiguette beach by public transport from Montpellier. You can take a local train from Montpellier to Le Grau de Roi or alternatively, the 106 bus does stop off in Le Grau de Roi after visiting Aigues-Mortes (see Montpellier Transport Herault). From the centre of Le Grau de Roi, you can take a local bus (C32) which runs past the Town Hall and the Aquarium. From here you can access the western end of Espiguette beach.

It is much simpler to access the best parts of L'Espiguette Plage by car. From Montpellier city centre, either head North towards Lunel and then follow the signs to Aigues-Mortes and Le Grau de Roi, or alternatively follow the D66 out of Montpellier towards Montpellier airport and Arena. After the Arena, continue on the road towards Palavas and Carnon, before taking the D62 towards La Grande Motte. Continue past La Grande Motte and then follow the signs for  Le Grau de Roi. You don't want to head into Le Grau de Roi itself, but instead you should follow the by-pass road that runs along the Etang (salt water lagoon) at the back of Le Grau de Roi. Continue on this road for as far as you can go (past the Amusement park, Campsites and Camargue horse stables). You will then see a sign to "l'Espiguette". At the end of this road you will arrive at a large car park at the back of the beach.

Le Grau de Roi is a nice enough place to catch a beer or a meal besides the river. The aquarium here is also very good.


La Grande Motte beaches near Montpellier


I must admit, I prefer the Montpellier beaches at La Grande Motte to Carnon and Palavas. Althought they get busy in the height of summer, most of the time the beaches are quite calm. I prefer the Point Zero beach because it is closest to the car park. But the other beaches are OK as well. The beaches are man made, but they are kept scrupulously clean. Most people tend to turn their noses up at La Grande Motte, but I quite like it. Yes it is a modern resort (built sometime in the 1960's) but it has a sort of ordered and planned charm about it. I even think that the pyramid apartment buildings are so far out of fashion that they are almost on the verge of coming back in style. The other thing about La Grande Motte is that it is a real sporty town. You will always see people cycling, running, walking, swimming, etc. If you want a break from the beach the Spa at La Grande Motte (the Thalasso) is wonderful and relaxing. I suppose one of the disadvantages of the Montpellier beaches at La Grande Motte is that it is harder to reach them by public transport (your only real option is to take the bus (#106)), but if you have access to a car, they are worth checking out.



Palavas Montpellier France beaches

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Palavas les Flots is an old French resort town, very popular with the French and situated about 12kms from Montpellier city centre. Like a lot of the Montpellier beaches it can get very crowded in the summer, especially from 3.00pm onwards, when the workers in the city flock out to the beaches. One of the stories our French friends tell us is that about " years ago there was a documentary on TV in France which was trying to discover why the sickness absence level of the Montpellier city council was the highest in France. They interviewed all these psychologists and Management experts and they were coming out with all these theories about the wicked Management culture; sick building syndrome, influx of different cultures, etc. So then the camera crew went out onto the streets and interviewed ordinary Montpellier citizens. They interviewed 10 different people and asked them their thoughts on why the absence llevels were so high. Every single person pointed up to the sun or the direction of the beach. It seems that is not for nothing that the Plage des Fonctionnaires gets it's nickname. Still, if this Montpellier beach is good enough for poorly tax inspectors, teachers and administrators; it will do for me. 



Montpellier beaches France near Sete

sete425To the South East of Montpellier, you will find the large coastal town of Sete. This former fishing port is home to a thin 20km strip of beach, that separates the Mediterranean sea from the Etang du Thau, an inland lake that is famous for growing oysters and mussels. The regional government has spent a small fortune redeveloping the beach facilities of Sete, including widening the beaches themselves and introducing more parking facilites. So if you don't mind a short train journey from Montpellier, these beaches could be well worth it.

Sete is also a great town to have a meal in after the beach. In the centre of Sete along the Grand Canal, you will find a lot of good restaurants, that are relatively inexpensive.





Apartments and villas near Montpellier beaches

On Go Languedoc we have a number of apartments and villas near the Montpellier beaches for rent. Here is a selection:

Beach side apartment rental Meze, near Montpellier, South of France

Meze beach apartmentThis is a brand new one bedroom apartment over looking the beach and the Bassin de Thau lake. Beautifully finished with all mod cons including air conditioning, secure entry and lifts. Suitable for the elderly or disabled. Right on the beach and a few minuites walk to the harbour where thare are lots of restaurants. This beach-side apartment rental in Meze is the perfect place to spend relaxing beach holidays in France.

>> more info on this Beach side apartment rental Meze, near Montpellier, South of France.


Sete, beach apartment South of France (sleeps 4)

south france holiday rentalThis Sete beach apartment, South of France, is a beautiful apartment in the heart of Sete, close to Montpellier. Situated on the second and third floor, this flat is in an old town house in the historic centre of Sete, one minute from the very-central Place de la Mairie, the Gand Canal, the port, the fish market, many many restaurants. This beach-side apartment rental in Sete is the perfect place to spend relaxing beach holidays in France.

>> more info on this Sete, beach apartment South of France (sleeps 4).


Pic St Loup villa to rent near Montpellier

south france holiday rentalAt the foot of the Pic St Loup mountain to the north of Montpellier in Southern France, this stunning modern villa with shared pool provides comfortable accommodation for up to 4 people. Domaine du Cade offers a total peace and tranquility with breathtaking views in all directions. The villa is located in the middle of the countryside close to the idyllic village of Cazevieille. The village itself has a little restaurant and a wine bar, with further shops and restaurants available close by in St Martin de Londres and St Gely du Fesc. It is hard to imagine, but Montpellier city centre is just 20 mins drive and the Montpellier beaches are 30 mins away. It is the perfect place to spend relaxing beach holidays in France.

>> more info on this Pic St Loup villa to rent near Montpellier.


Meze apartment to rent South of France, sleeps 4 (Ref: 1480)

Meze beach villas near montpellierThis harbourside apartment to rent in Meze, South of France, provides very relaxing accommodation for up to 4 people. This lovely apartment comes with 2 bedrooms, Wifi, Satellite TV and a large balcony overlooking the boats in the harbour. Meze is a coastal town located on a salt-water lake, which is separated from the Mediterranean sea by a thin strip of beach. Meze has plenty of excellent seafood restaurants, shops, as well as its own beach. This apartment in South of France is available for summer holiday rentals, as well as winter holidays.

>> more info on this Meze beach apartment France near Montpellier.

Where to next . . . ?

Contact Iain by Email or by phone +33 6 95 00 28 44 if you have any particular questions you would like to ask about visiting the South of France. If you liked the article then please share it with others using the Twitter and Facebook buttons below. I wish you a wonderful stay in the South of France.