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10 best Best Languedoc beaches in Southern France
10 best Languedoc beaches South, France
The South of France has some of the best beaches to visit in France. In my opinion, the beaches in Cote d'Azur can be a bit hit and miss. The French Riviera has some excellent beaches, such has Rayol Canadel-sur-Mer and Tahiti beach near St Tropez, Theoule-sur-Mer beach near Cannes or Le Lavandou beach near Borme-les-Mimosas and Hyères. But it also has some pretty over-crowded beaches and a lot of small stony beaches.
You will find the best French beaches in the South of France along the 200km Mediterranean coastline in the old Languedoc region. There are over 130 beaches in the Languedoc to choose from. The beaches vary from small sheltered coves (around Collioure and Cap d'Agde), to large expanses of golden beaches (from Montpellier down to Perpignan) and wild unspoilt beaches in the Camargue. The Languedoc is the sunniest region in France and during the summer the sea temperatures rises to 24°C.
There are currently 407 Blue Flag beaches in the whole of France (the European award for clean bathing water) and over a quarter of these beaches are located along the Languedoc coast, more than any other region of France.
So with 130 Languedoc beaches to choose from, where should you be topping up your tan in France this summer? We have lived in the South Of France for over 17 years and we have spent a huge amount of time taking our kids to beaches up and down the Mediterranean coast. Here is our insider's guide to the 10 best beaches in Languedoc.
Best Languedoc Beach 1: L'Espiguette Plage near Montpellier
I think without a shadow of a doubt, L'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 L'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 L'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 L'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 L'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.
Visit 8 best beaches near Perpignan South France to discover more great beaches in this part of Southern France.
Best Languedoc Beach 2: Vias Plage near Beziers
Vias Plage is situated in between Cap d'Agde and Valras Plage, close to the Southern French city of Beziers. This small bay has some of the warmest water, sheltered beaches, golden sands and accessibility of all the beaches in Languedoc. You will of course find beaches with better facilities, but as an overall package, this beach to us tops them all.
The beach at Vias Plage is a beautifully protected area, perfect for families with young children. The local council has also invested heavily in the resort in recent years, smartening up the facades of (the previously tacky) shops and restaurants and there is now a beautiful promenade above the beach which takes you along to a couple of really smart beach bars.
My favourite beach bar at Vias Plage is called Chiringuito. The bar serves some excellent Mojitos and there is a simple but very good bar menu. You can also hire sun loungers or sit on the deck over looking the beach. The main restaurant is located on a covered terrace. It is probably advisable to book ahead during the high season. Visit Chiringuito beach bar Vias Plage for more information. Telephone: +33 06 74 94 62 21
Vias Plage is the closest beach to Beziers, France (just 15 kms). You can easily get to Vias Plage by public transport. There is a train which goes from either Agde or Beziers to the nearby town of Vias (and then catch a shuttle bus to the beach) or you can take a bus from Beziers (Line 210) to Vias. The resort of Vias Plage features a number of campsites and there is also the Europark theme park which is open from late June to the end of August each year.
See Vias Plage for further information on this popular Languedoc beach.
Best Languedoc Beach 3: Rochelongue Plage, Cap d'Agde beach
Rochelonge plage, is in the centre of Cap d'Agde. It is our preferred choice out of the 5 beaches in the beach resort of Cap d'Agde. Rochelongue has been attracting holiday-makers for over 80 years. Rochelongue Plage has been awarded a European Blue Flag for many years, on account of the cleanliness of the beach and the water. The beach itself is long and flat and kept immaculately clean. The water is quite shallow, so you have to wade out quite a way before you can swim. But this makes it perfect for young children.
The beach provides plenty of space and there are some nice shops and cafes at the rear of Rochelongue beach and you also have the l'infini Beach bar and restaurant actually on the beach. You also get lovely sweeping views of the whole bay down to Narbonne Plage. All-in-all, this makes Rochelongue Plage an ideal beach to chill-out during those hot summer days in South France.
Rochelongue Plage is located close to the Île des Loisirs (Leisure Island) which is home to the Aqualand water park, Dinoland (a childrens amusement park), Luna Park (a theme park) and Amnesia, the famous Cap d'Agde nightclub.
You can reach Rochelongue Plage by taking the A9 to junction 34 and then follow the RN312 and RN112 to Cap d'Agde. You will see an exit for Rochelonge plage as soon as you enter Cap d'Agde. There is a car park just near the entrance to the beach. If this is full however, try the car park for the Aqualand park (about a 10 min walk).
See Rochelongue Plage, Cap d'Agde beach for more details
Best Languedoc Beach 4: Point Zero, La Grande-Motte
Whilst La-Grande Motte might not be everyone's cup of tea, with its pyramid hotels and modern housing suburbs, there is no denying that the beach at Point Zero is absolutely stunning and certainly one of the best of the Montpellier beaches in Languedoc. 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.
In a list of the best beaches in Languedoc, Point Zero will always be near the top. With the redevelopment of La Grande Motte, the resort itself is re-establishing itself as a premier French holiday destination. If you are staying in Montpellier and looking for a good beach to go to, I would avoid Pavalas Plage and head just further north to La Grande Motte.
To get to La Grande-Motte from the south of Montpellier, take the A9 up to junction 29 (the airport exit). Follow the D66 and D62 all the way to La Grande-Motte (it is signposted all the way). From Nimes and the north, take the A9 down to junction 27 at Lunel. Now follow the D61 all the way to La Grande-Motte. When you enter La Grande-Motte follow the signs to 'Point Zero'.
You can also reach La Grande Motte by public transport from Montpellier. The #106 bus runs from Montpellier city centre to La Grande Motte.
For more information on Point Zero beach and La Grande Motte click here Point Zero beach La Grande Motte.
Best Languedoc Beach 5: Gruissan Plage near Narbonne
Gruissan Plage is for me, the best beach close to Narbonne in South France. it is a close run thing with Narbonne Plage, but Gruissan Plage just gets it by a nod because the town behind it is a far nicer place to walk around when you're looking for a break from the sun. Also, Gruissan Plage has the extra kudos of being the setting for the French cult film, Betty Blue, a film about two passionate lovers living in a beach hut.
All the beaches around Narbonne on the Mediterranean coast are quite similar. They are characterised by wide open, flat expanses of golden sand. The large beach at Gruissan ensures that you have plenty of space, even in the height of summer.
If you get bored of the beach (as I often do after 30 mins), then it is quite nice to wander around all the beach houses at the back of Gruissan Plage. The beach houses are all built up on stilts to protect them from the tides. Apparently, they sell for small fortunes.
The other good thing about Gruissan Plage, is that there is an excellent beach bar called Le Paparazzo. I have eaten here a couple of times and I have to say that all the bar staff have been really well trained. I was virtually left open-mouthed when a waitress interrupted our meal to ask us if we wanted another drink. I know that this is fairly standard bar practice in every other country in the World, but this is France!
Gruissan Plage, France is located just east of Narbonne. Come off the A9 at the Narbonne exit (junction 37). Take the D168 and D32 all the way to Gruissan. This is a pleasant 10 minute drive. On the outskirts of Gruissan you come to a round about. Go straight over and follow the signs to Gruisssan plage. As an alternative, Narbonne Plage is just up the coast.
See Gruissan Plage for further details about the beach and the town of Gruissan.
Best Languedoc Beach 6: Valras Plage near Beziers
The wide open expanse of sand at Valras Plage comfortably accommodates large numbers of holiday makers, allowing you enough room to spread out and relax. This South of France beach has clean, warm water and the beach itself is well maintained (it has been awarded the European Blue Flag for clean water for the last 23 years).
The wide open expanse of sand at Valras Plage, France, comfortably accommodates large numbers of holiday makers, allowing you enough room to spread out and relax. If you prefer big sandy beaches, then Valras Plage beach is perfect. There is also plenty to do after the beach with lots of restaurants, boutiques and ice cream stalls. During the summer there is also a children's adventure park and fairground rides just by the harbour.
Valras Plage is the beach of choice for many of the local residents from the nearby city of Beziers and it tends to fill up after 4.00pm as people clock off from work. There is a direct bus service from Beziers to Valras Plage (Line 3 and Line E). You can drive to Valras Plage, France, one of two ways. Either from junction 35 of the A9 along the D64 or from junction 36 of the A9 and and follow the road past the pleasant medieval village of Vendres.
Visit Valras Plage for more information on this popular beach in Southern France.
Best Languedoc Beach 7: La Franqui near Narbonne
La Franqui is the most northern beach close to Perpignan. It is in actual fact located equal distance between Perpignan and Narbonne. La Franqui Plage is very popular with wind surfers, La Franqui's beach is large and wide, with fine sand. There are two beaches at La Franqui. The first one, Coussoules Beach, is just in front of the quaint old village and is a wide expanse of flat sand. The second beach is further up the coast (Le Grazel Plage) that is bordered by the sea on one side, and the etang (inland lake) on the other. The result is a long strip of 2-sided beach.
La Franqui is quite well known in France on account of the "Mondial du Vent" - a large windsurfing , sand yachting, kiting and kitesurfing tournament organized every year.
It can get quite windy here (thus the wind and kite surfers) but I find the surroundings very pretty. Unlike most beaches in the Languedoc, which are generally flat and bordered by holiday villages or campsites, the headland of La Franqui (called La Sorcière) which is covered in pine trees, provides an interesting backdrop to the beach. It reminds me of the beaches along the Cote d'Azur coast.
The beaches themselves are relaxed and friendly. It is not like you are fighting for a space. There are also a couple of restaurants in La Franqui itself where you can grab lunch or an early dinner after a day on the beach.
Best Languedoc Beach 8: Plage du Lido, Sete
To the south-east of Montpellier, you will find the large port town of Sete, which is built around a large rocky hill. To the south of Sete, there is a wonderful 20km strip of beach. This slender shoreline separates the Mediterranean sea from the Etang du Thau, an inland lake that is famous for growing oysters and mussels.
When we first moved to the Languedoc about 17 years ago, the main road literally ran along the back of the beach and in the summer, it was like a car park with hundreds and hundreds of camper vans just parked up on the pavement. In the winter however it was wonderful, because nobody was around and you could literally park up and step directly onto the sand. If you drove along this road during a storm, the waves would come crashing over the car.
The regional government has spent a small fortune redeveloping the beach facilities of Sete, including widening the beaches themselves and introducing more parking facilities. There are now 3 or 4 good beach bars along the beach, where you can hire sun loungers or grab a meal and a cheeky beer.
Sete is also a great town to have a meal in after you have sunned yourself on the beach. In the centre of Sete along the Grand Canal, you will find a lot of really good fish restaurants, that are relatively inexpensive.
Best Languedoc Beach 9: Torreilles beach near Perpignan
Torreilles beach is probably one of the most interesting beaches near Perpignan. I love the wild feel it has with the sand dunes at the back of the beach. It also doesn't get as crowded as Canet Plage and the view of the Pyrenees in the distance breaks up the monotony of the sand. I always try and make my kids fill up a bucket full of sea shells before they can come up to the bar to get an ice cream. I tell you Torreilles beach doesn't have many shells so this can keep them going for hours!
There are also one or two beach bars at the back of the beach, where you can slope off to and hide from the kids. The Le Nomad beach bar seems to be the most popular with the locals, it is located on the Northern Beach.
There are actually 3 beaches at Torreilles:
- The North beach was used during the Second World War as a naval defensive base and the original concrete blockhouses are now listed as historical monuments. At the far end of the beach the River Agly flows out into the Mediterranean.
- Plage Centre is the main beach of Torreilles and at the back of it there is the nature reserve (Camps de la Ribère).
- The South Beach is probably the best beach in Torreilles, with sand dunes and great views towards the Pyrenees. Part of the South Beach is reserved for naturists.
Visit 8 best beaches near Perpignan South France to discover more great beaches in this part of Southern France.
Best Languedoc Beach 10: Serignan Plage
Serignan Plage is an interesting beach, with large sand dunes separating the beach from a large nature reserve formed in the mouth of the River Orb as it enters the sea. Serignan Plage stretches for 3kms and encompasses 5 different beaches: La Grande Maire, La Chapelle, the Seoune, the naturist beach and the Orpellières Plage.
The beaches at Serignan Plage are cleaned daily. Serignan Plage first received its Blue Flag award for the quality of the beach and the water in 2009 and it has retained this European quality standard ever since.
Every year the local municipality works hard to protect the beach from erosion, including planting 'desert plants' to protect the sand dunes at the back of the beach from wind erosion and constructing 'groynes' all along the beach using Chestnut wood to prevent tidal erosion of the beach.
Serignan Plage is a popular South France beach destination, especially amongst naturists who have their own camping village and a separate section of the beach. Serignan Plage offers plenty of space to spread out and enjoy beach games on the wide expanse of golden sand.
Visit Serignan Plage for more information on this wild and interesting Mediterranean beach in South France
Where to next . . . ?
- Read our review on the Best places to visit in South France.
- See our reviews on the Best beach restaurants in South France to visit.
- Planning a trip to the South of France? Check out our Beach houses in South France to rent.
Contact Iain by Email 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.