Agde in Southern France

19 January 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  7 minutes

Quai Commandant Réveille © Christian Ferrer/cc-by-sa-4.0

Quai Commandant Réveille © Christian Ferrer/cc-by-sa-4.0

Agde is a commune in the Hérault department in Southern France. It is the Mediterranean port of the Canal du Midi. Agde is known for the distinctive black basalt used in local buildings such as the cathedral of Saint Stephen, built in the 12th century to replace a 9th-century Carolingian edifice built on the foundations of a fifth-century Roman church. Bishop Guillaume fortified the cathedral’s precincts and provided it with a 35-metre donjon (keep). The Romanesque cloister of the cathedral was demolished in 1857.   read more…

Étang de Thau in Southern France

1 February 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  7 minutes

Barrou Neighbourhood and the Étang de Thau with its Oster farms seen from Sète © Christian Ferrer/cc-by-sa-3.0

Barrou Neighbourhood and the Étang de Thau with its Oster farms seen from Sète © Christian Ferrer/cc-by-sa-3.0

Étang de Thau or Bassin de Thau is the largest of a string of lagoons (étangs) that stretch along the French coast from the Rhône River to the foothills of the Pyrenees and the border to Spain in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Although it has a high salinity, it is considered the second largest lake in France. Located between the towns of Sète and Marseillan in the Hérault département, the Étang de Thau is shared administratively by the communes of (running clockwise): Balaruc-le-Vieux, Balaruc-les-Bains, Frontignan, Sète, Marseillan, Mèze, Loupian and Bouzigues. The Bassin de Thau provides a habitat for a variety of wild animals, notably birds such as herons and pink flamingos and a rich marine fauna, including bivalves (oysters and mussels), jellyfish, fish, and algae. Periodically in the spring and summer, the Thau Lagoon has algae blooms of Alexandrium catenella which sometimes reach such high levels that it results in contamination of the lagoon’s bivalves with algae toxins.   read more…

On the Canal du Midi from Toulouse to the Mediterranean

14 May 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  10 minutes

Carcasonne © Pinpin

Carcasonne © Pinpin

The Canal du Midi (Occitan: Canal de las Doas Mars, meaning canal of the two seas) is a 240 km (150 mi) long canal in Southern France (French: le Midi). The canal connects the Garonne River to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean and along with the Canal de Garonne forms the Canal des Deux Mers joining the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The canal runs from the city of Toulouse down to the Mediterranean port of Sète—which was founded to serve as the eastern terminus of the canal. The Canal du Midi was built by Pierre-Paul Riquet.   read more…

Narbonne in southern France

15 December 2014 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  5 minutes

Canal de la Robine seen from Boulevard Gambetta © MartinD

Canal de la Robine seen from Boulevard Gambetta © MartinD

Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region with 50,000 inhabitants. It lies 849 km (528 mi) from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about 15 km (9.3 mi) from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is marginally the largest commune in Aude, although the capital is the slightly smaller commune of Carcassonne.   read more…

Carcassonne is one of the best preserved fortified cities in Europe

20 November 2010 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  5 minutes

Panorama Carcassonne © Benh LIEU SONG

Panorama Carcassonne © Benh LIEU SONG

La Cité, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the beautiful old part of the City of Carcassonne with its medieval walls on the banks of the Aude. Many restaurants, shops, domes and towers are located in the winding cobblestone streets. At the other bank of the Aude the La Bastide district offers the charm of an old French country town. Every Saturday a market is held here. You can explore La Bastide perfectly with the car, but it is recommended to take the free shuttle service to the Cité and then walk around by foot. Do not miss to visit the castle, the Château de Peyreperteuse. Here you can find hotel and restaurant recommendations: tripadvisor.com.   read more…

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