The Languedoc-Roussillon covers a network of more than 7000 kilometres of nature trails, horse tracks and marked hiking routes through a varied landscape of forest, plateaux and plains, mountains and canyons. A myriad of activities is available: from hiking, horse riding, mountain biking, climbing, golf, mushroom and chestnut gathering to sailing canyoning, canoeing, rafting, river fishing and speleological excursions.
Close to Hérépian:
Lamalou-les-Bains (4km west of Hérépian on the D908)
Lamalou is a lively small market town. Markets are held here on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8am till 1.30pm. There is a cinema in Lamalou and plenty of good restaurants. Special activities in Lamalou during the summer of 2012 include a ‘Hiking Day for All*’ on Sunday 20th May and an ‘Operetta Festival’ in July and August.
*3 circuits of 10, 19 and 25km have been especially created for the event. The walk starts at the tourist office. In the afternoon the spa will be open for the event. The day will end with an aperitif offered by the CDC of country of Lamalou les Bains, followed of a convivial meal.
Olargues (20km west of Hérépian on the D908)
Olargues is a picturesque village well worth exploring. Don’t miss the ‘Pont du Diable’ or devil’s bridge (an attractive 3-arched bridge dating back to the 12th century) so called because it was apparently the site of transactions between the devil and the villagers. From here enter Olargues through a medieval stone arched gateway. There is much to see in the village: paved streets including the particularly pretty Ruelle d’Olargues, the Escalier de la Commanderie – a lovely old stone staircase, medieval houses and old shop fronts made of marble. There are various remnants of past fortifications including parts of Olargues’ original ramparts. The17th Century Church of Saint-Laurent was built using stone from the ramparts. At the top of the hill the bell tower is a remnant of an 11th century medieval castle, converted in the 15th century. The views from here over the Languedoc are excellent.
Visit the museum of art and popular traditions in the centre of the village.
*Roquebrun (28km from Hérépian: west on the D908 and then south on the D14)
Roquebrun is a medieval village known as “Little Nice” for its microclimate. The site is covered with orange, lemon and mandarin trees and boasts an extraordinary garden with over 400 species of exotic plants including prickly pear cactus, strawberry trees, ziziphus, Japanese medlar trees and many more. *See separate article
**Les Gorges d’Heric (17km west of Hérépian on the D908)
The walk along this spectacular gorge with its countless waterfalls up to the hamlet of Héric is stunning. Take a picnic and swimming gear and make a day of it. **See separate article
Other Picturesque Local Villages:
St Gervais-sur-Mare, Fraïsse-sur-Agout and the Orb valley.
Under an Hour’s drive from Hérépian:
***The Canal du Midi
Beaches (south-east of Hérépian)
Several beaches are to be found under an hour’s drive including Serignan, Valras Plage and Cap d’Agde.
Lake Salagou (east of Hérépian near Saint Felix de Lodez)
This modern, man-made lake is characterised by the unusual bauxite (red coloured rock) that surrounds it.
Lodève (north-east of Hérépian)
Inside an elegant private hotel in Lodève you will find a museum famous for its large summer exhibitions. The Musée de Lodève contains two departments: geological collections and fine arts, with a collection of sculptures and works on paper by the local Lodève artist, Paul Dardé, and works by Braque, Caillebotte, Camoin, Dufy, Gris, Soutine, Vlaminck, Léger, Poliakoff and others.
Saint Guilhem le Désert and La Clamouse Grotto (north-east of Hérépian)
Dubbed the “Occitan Jewel”, the “inspired valley of Languedoc” and a “legendary site of France”, this medieval city was founded in 804 by Guilhem, Duke of Aquitaine. Today a few relics of the Gellone monastery remain. Visit the abbey in the centre of the village.
Around 2 km downstream from Saint Guilhem le Désert, is La Clamouse grotto – a genuine mineral museum and underground marvel boasting a rich and varied array of concretions. Long, fine fistulas and crystals in the form of eccentric calcite flowers with extravagant curves open your eyes to a whole new universe with a harmonious blend of volumes, shapes and colours The galleries has two levels with linking passages. Stunning views from the grottos terrace.
Carcassonne the spectacular fortified city (1hour 30 minutes)
Sète – the port of (1 hour 15 minutes)
Les Demoiselles Grotto (1 hour 30 minutes but only 30 minutes from La Clamouse grotto)
In Saint Bauzille de Putois these mysterious caverns which formerly terrorised rural dwellers, served as a refuge to Protestants during the religious wars and to the refractory priests during the revolution.The grotto is accessible via funicular.