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…

Grands Causses Regional Natural Park in Occitanie

21 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Environment, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

Avène © Toutaitanous/cc-by-sa-3.0

Avène © Toutaitanous/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Regional Nature Park Grands Causses (French: Parc naturel régional des Grands Causses) is located in the French department of Aveyron in the Occitania region. The nature park was founded on May 6, 1995 and today covers an area of around 327,000 hectares. The park administration is based in Millau, where the “Maison du Parc” is located. The park is made up of 93 municipalities with a catchment area of around 68,000 inhabitants. A part of the Grands Causses Regional Nature Park is the Causses and Cévennes Property, which in turn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Larger towns in the park are Millau, Saint-Affrique, Sévérac d’Aveyron (Commune nouvelle; formerly: Sévérac-le-Château), Creissels, Vabres-l’Abbaye and Saint-Georges-de-Luzençon.   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…

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