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Visit the historic Herault department in Southern France
The Hérault department, France, is named after the Hérault river. It was created in 1790 from part of the former province of Languedoc. The department is very diverse geographically, with beaches in the south, the Cévennes mountains in the north, and vineyards in between. Today, the Herault department is one of the fastest growing areas in France, with many Northern Europeans attracted by the Mediterranean climate, cheap house prices and relaxed way of life.
Herault department South of France
The Herault department is located on the Mediterranean coast in the Occitanie region in Southern France. Provence is located to the North and the Spanish border is 1 hour to the South.
The Herault covers 6,224 km2 and has a population of 1.1 million people. Nearly 30% of the population is retired and the Herault has become an important destination for people from Northern Europe and Northern France to retire to. Just under 20% of the houses in Herault are second homes and many people are attracted by the Mediterranean climate, with long hot summers and short mild winters.
The Herault has 90 km of beaches - with l'Espiguette Plage, Marseillan Plage, Rochelongue Plage, Vias Plage and Serignan Plage being the best beaches to visit.
The Herault is home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, the Canal du Midi and Causses-et-Cévennes); a National Park (Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Languedoc) and 2 Great sites in France (Gorges de l'Hérault and Cirque de Navacelles).
History of Herault department France
For a long period of history, the Herault department was a quiet back water of France. The tough terrain, mosquitoes and poor soil put off all but the most intrepid explorers. The Romans came and went and the peace and tranquillity was occasionally threatened by the the odd Religious Crusade, firstly against the Cathars in the 13th Century and then against the Hugenots in the 16th Century.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the wine production in the Herault was devastated by a slump in sales combined with disease affecting the vines. Thousands of small scale wine producers revolted due to the deprivation caused, but this revolt was suppressed very harshly by the government of Georges Clemenceau. In 1956 a damaging frost also wiped out virtually all of the olive trees in the region.
Today, the Herault department has a rapidly expanding population. Since the 1960s, the population of Herault has nearly doubled to 1.16 million. During the second half of the 20th century the Montpellier area underwent one of the most rapid population increases experienced anywhere in France and today it remains the most popular city in France for people to move to.
Tourist attractions in the Herault department, France
The coastal resorts of Le Grande-Motte, Marseillan, Cap d'Agde, Vias Plage, Valras Plage and Serignan Plage are important holiday centres in the Languedoc region. Other towns of interest in the Herault include:
Montpellier: is the regional capital of Languedoc and is situated in the north of the Herault department. It is the fastest growing city in France, with many new bio-tech and medical industries growing up around the two universities in the City. Located just 10 kms from the Mediterranean coast, Montpellier combines dramatic new architecture with its old centre full of narrow winding streets. Other highlights in the city include the internationally famous art gallery: Musée Fabre, a smaller version of the Arc de Triomf; Les Jardins des Plantes, a large Botanical gardens; the Champs de Mars, a huge park containing promenades; and Le Corum, which houses a new Opera house and an exhibition centre. and other sites.
Agde: was first settled by the Greeks and this small city has an attractive riverside, old streets, and a nice daily market.
Béziers: is a traditional Languedoc city which expanded rapidly during the 19th Century on the back of the regional wine trade. Beziers is starting a bit of a renaissance, with the centre of the town undergoing many refurbishments. The cathedral at Beziers provides some amazing views over the Orb valley. Beziers is also home to perhaps the biggest and certainly the liveliest festivals in the South of France (Feria Beziers festival).
Sète: the old fishing port of Sete, is built around a rocky promontory. The Old town is bisected by canals and here you will experience the unique sport of water-jousting, held in the summer months, beaches, boat trips.
Pezenas: Walk the old streets of Languedoc's former capital. Once the stomping ground of Molliere and now a haven for antiques and a fabulous Saturday market. Pezenas is probably the prettiest large town in the South of France (although Uzes and Sommiers may have something to say about that!). We just love wandering around the market on a Saturday and taking a detour off into the old Jewish quarter with the jewellers, cafes and boutiques. It is no wonder that Pezenas is such a draw for people all year around. (see Pezenas tourism for more details).
Cirque de Navacelles: is a dramatic gorge in the North-Western part of the Herault. The gorge was formed by the River Herault eroding the rocks to form an Ox-bow lake.
St Guilhem le Desert: the ancient village of St Guilhem, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, is widely regarded as the prettiest village in the South of France. Once a refuge for fleeing Protestants (Huguenots) during the 15th and 16th Centuries, St Guilhem's history dates back to 800 AD when the Abbey and village was founded by Charlemagne's counsellor Guilhem, who returned to Languedoc from Rome.
Oppidum d'Enserune: once the site of an important Roman fort and villa, recent archaeological excavations have revealed remnants from a Gaul settlement pre-dating the arrival of the Romans. The site offers a superb view over the Bassin de Montady - a wagon wheel pattern of fields - which it is believed was originally salt production site.
Noilly Prat: this famous Southern France dry vermouth is the key ingredient for a Martini drink and has been produced in the coastal town of Marseillan for over 200 years. The tour of the former Noilly Prat distillery also includes a visit to the famous Cocktail bar where you can blend your own cocktail.
Museum of Contemporary Art: situated in the town of Sérignan, close to the Mediterranean Sea, this modern art museum contains numerous temporary exhibitions and permanent collections of modern art.
Grotte des Demoiselles and Grotte des Clamouse - located close to the village of St Guilhem, these underground limestone caves are host to a wide variety of stalactites and unique mineral formations. The caves are a constant temperature of 14°C all year around.
Chateau Cassan - a beautiful 18th Century Chateau that was built on the site of a former monastery. The 11th Century priory still stand next to the Chateau.
Abbey Valmagne - a Cistercian abbey founded in 1139. The abbey houses an impressive Gothic Church and was an important location for wine making. The wines produced by the monks provided an important source of income and by the 14th Century the abbey was the richest monastery in south France.
Canal du Midi - This Plane tree-lined canal that runs from Toulouse to the Mediterranean sea, is the largest UNESCO World heritage site on earth. The brain-child of Paul Riquet, a tax collector from Beziers, this mammoth civil engineering project was the most complex and greatest civil engineering undertaking since the time of the Romans.
Holiday accommodation to rent in Herault department
These are the 5 most popular holiday villa rentals in the Herault department on Go Languedoc. The villas all have different features and they cover all the different price ranges. But the feedback we get from customers and the fact that these are our most popular rental villas - with customers returning year after year - proves that they will provide you with the perfect holiday in South of France that you are looking for.
1.) Le Petit-Versailles villa Pezenas South France with private pool (Ref: 891)
€1950 per week in July & August 2023 • Sleeps 6 • Private pool • Close to beaches • Air con • Good availability for summer 2023
Le Petit Versailles is a lovely holiday villa in Pezenas South France with a private pool. This charming 3 bedroom villa sleeps 6 people very comfortably and is located on the outskirts of the medieval town of Pezenas.
The large swimming pool is 12m x 5m in size and surrounded by a large sun terrace with ping pong table.
Le Petit Versailles, as the name suggests, is set within meticulously maintained grounds - with mature Mediterranean plants, fountains and water features - that provide total peace and tranquillity.
The centre of Pezenas is a 5 mins drive or a brisk 20 mins walk. Bikes are available at the villa for your use.
The villa is equipped with 3 bedrooms (all with air conditioning), a family bathroom, a well-equipped kitchen and a spacious lounge with Wi-Fi and flat screen TV. There is private parking for 2-3 cars.
Sleeping 6 in comfort and located on the outskirts of the historic town of Pezenas in the Languedoc region South of France, this villa has become our most popular holiday villa rentals on Go Languedoc during the last 5-7 years. The parkland garden has been described by more that one customer as resembling ". . . a mini-Versilles . . ." and provides the space to truly unwind and relax.
2.) Villa Kengen Corconne villa rental with private pool France (Ref: 1448)
This wonderful holiday home to rent in South France, is situated in a picturesque part of the Languedoc region. With Quissac, Sauve and Nimes close by, this holiday home is in a good location for a relaxing family holiday in the South of France.
Villa Kengen is a fantastic villa rental property with private pool in South France. The holiday villa is located on the edge of the village of Corconne, near Montpellier. This wooden and stone villa comes with a fantastic views. The villa sleeps 8 guests very comfortably in its 4 bedrooms. The surrounding area is famous for olive oil production and good Languedoc wines. The villa is also close to the beautiful village of Sauve, full of restaurants and shops.
If you are looking for a villa rental in Southern France with views, a private swimming pool and plenty of space - then Villa Kengen ticks all the boxes. The villa is just 20 mins from Montpellier city centre, the main shopping centres and the Montpellier airport.
This villa near Montpellier, South France, is available to rent between April and October each year at a weekly rental price of between €1850 and €2500 per week.
3.) South France villa to rent with private pool Aumes near Pezenas sleeps 12 (Ref: 504)
€3200 per week July-Aug 2023 • 5 bedrooms • Private pool • Beaches 10 mins
This South France villa sleeps 12 people and is a village house with swimming pool and walled garden. Situated in the village of Aumes just outside Pezenas and this holiday villa is ideally located for exploring the sites of the Languedoc region.
This South France villa is laid out over 3 floors and provides 210 m² of living space. The main house has four bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. There is a self-contained Gite opposite the villa (which comes with a further bedroom and a sofa bed in the lounge).
This is a great South France villa near the beaches and Pezenas for a large family or two families holidaying together.
Set amongst the vineyards this property is a great location for walking or cycling or visiting the other sites of the Languedoc region. The local beach at Meze is just 10kms away.
Available to rent from €3200 per week for 12 people.
4.) Le Manoir - large holiday rental retreat in South France sleeps 8 (Ref: 1856)
If you are looking for a large and luxurious rural retreat in Southern France, for a family reunion or special occasion, then Le Manoir could be perfect for you.
This large manor house in Southern France comes with 4 bedrooms, a private swimming pool and plenty of charm throughout. Inside the kitchen is large and luxurious. The lounge with its Cathedral ceiling is airy and bright and has plenty of space for 10-12 people. The Morning room is a nice quiet area to enjoy a cup of coffee or to curl up with a good book. All-in-all, this is the perfect base for a large family holiday or 2 families holidaying together.
The house has several terraces and a fantastic pool area with summer kitchen and is in a quiet and peaceful location, yet is just a 5 minute drive to a well-equipped town. This luxury holiday rental is set on 6000m2 of land in a quiet wooded valley.
The private swimming pool area, comes with a pool house complete with a bathroom, sofa area & summer kitchen. There is even a workout area for Yoga or Pilates. The views from the poolside are spectacular.
The holiday rental is located just 40 mins from Montpellier airport and nearby you will find Michelin star restaurants and beautiful French market towns, such as Pezenas and Clermont l'Herault.
This large holiday villa in South France for 16 people can be rented from €5000 per week during the summer weeks.
5.) Maison des Vins holiday villa with pool Montagnac South France (Ref: 501)
€1695 per week July & August 2023 • 15 mins to beach • 3 bedrooms • 3 bathrooms
€1695 per week for a villa with private pool, close to the coast, is a great deal! The holiday villa is spacious inside and sleeps 6 people in 3 bedrooms. Inside, the holiday home is spacious and comes with a bathroom for each bedroom. There is also garage parking and all the local amenities are walk-able. The beach at Meze is 10 minutes by car.
Maison des Vins is located in the small town of Montagnac near the Mediterranean coast and close to the historic town of Pezenas in South France.
The holiday home has a wonderful sunny garden with mature trees and plants, a private swimming pool and a terrace for dining al-fresco on those warm summer evenings. The private pool is ideal for lazing around and soaking up the sun.
If you are looking for cheap holiday villas in France with private pools, then this glorious property in Montagnac is the perfect place to spend some quality time in South France. The holiday home is located a short walking distance to a good choice of restaurants, shops, banks, a pharmacy and the weekly market etc.
The area is well served by various transport routes, with both the A9 and A75 autoroutes passing close by; the TGV stopping 15km away; and Beziers airport just down the road.
Where to stay and what to visit in Herault department in 2023 . . . ?
I am Tara Haacke and I manage all the holiday reservations on Go Languedoc. I live in the Herault department in South of France. I have worked in the vacation rentals sector in France for the last 9 years. If you would like us to suggest some South France holiday villas to rent this summer close to Montpellier airport, then please contact us with your requirements. Just drop us a quick message and we will come straight back to you with a selection of properties offering the best late deals: Go Languedoc.
For further information, please visit:
- Our full collection of Herault villas to rent in France to rent in 2023
- Check out the Weather in Herault France during your stay
- Discover Where to stay in Herault France during 2023
Contact Tara by Email or by phone +33 7 89 44 15 14