4 bicycles are available at the Couvent for guests to use and in just a couple of minutes you can join this excellent cycle path along a disused railway. It’s an easy, flat route which will take you miles in either direction!
To the east the path leads to the beautiful old village of Villemagne l’Argentière and then on to Bédarieux. To the west you’ll pass through the market town of Lamalou-les-bains, the villages of Le Poujol and Colombières on the Orb and on to Mons la Trivalle for the Gorge d’Héric (a ‘must visit’ – see separate article) and beyond. The cycle path – 75km in total – continues all the way to Mazamet in the west. Check out this link to the French website www.voiesvertes-hautlanguedoc.fr
To reach the cycle path turn left out of the Couvent and left at the square, passing the Ocre Rouge on your right. Turn right at the bottom of the road onto the high street. At the roundabout take the third exit and almost immediately take a left turn on the D922 signposted Villemagne l’Argentière. The path starts just a few hundred metres along this road.
The village of Roquebrun is a real gem. It’s a 40 minute drive from Hérépian, through beautiful Languedoc scenery. Afterwards continue on to St Chinian for some wine tasting.
Take the D908 towards Lamelou and after about 20 minutes turn left at Tarassac* onto the D14. The road follows the River Orb which meanders through dramatic steep sided, forested hills (almost mountains). The D14 skates high above the river and then descends to pass beside little villages, like the picturesque Vieussan or Ceps before ascending again. Every so often you will catch a glimpse of bright orange canoes below negotiating their way through the rapids or quieter stretches of the Orb.
Roquebrun itself is a delight, particularly the Mediterranean Gardens, with their orange and lemon trees, mimosa and lots of exotic plants spreading all along the hillside. The little town – nicknamed the ‘Nice of Herault’ – enjoys a microclimate which enables all of these plants to flourish. The Carolingian tower stands above the gardens on a rocky crag. From the gardens and the tower there are spectacular views over Roquebrun, the River Orb and beyond. After you visit swim or relax beside the river or have a bite to eat at one of the many cafés or restaurants.
If you wish to continue to St Chinian from Roquebrun it’s about a 20 minute drive. Cross the river (D14), pass through the hamlet of Lugné and after a couple more miles, just before Cessenon-sur-Orb, take a right turn on the D20 to St Chinian. Tastings are available at the Cooperative just on the outskirts of the town and the Maison des Vins in the centre.
The closest interesting wine tasting is in Faugères. (9km from Hérépian).
From Hérépian, take the D909A towards Béziers. This soon becomes the D909. A few miles further on take a left turn on the D13 towards Faugères. As you reach the centre of the village of Faugères the Cave des Vignerons is on the main road on the right.
La Cave des Vignerons, Mas Olivier, 34600 Faugères. Phone:+33 4 67 95 08 80
St Chinian also has some interesting wines.(45km from Hérépian)
From Hérépian take the D908 towards Lamelou and turn left at Tarassac onto the D14. Continue beside the River Orb to Roquebrun where the D14 crosses the river. Pass through the hamlet of Lugné and after a couple more miles, just before Cessenon-sur-Orb, take a right turn on the D20 to St Chinian.
Tastings are available…
…at the Caves Cooperatives just on the outskirts of the town.
Caves des Vignerons de St Chinian, Chemin de Sorteilho Phone :+33 467 382840
…and the Maison des Vins in the centre.
Maison des Vins de St Chinian, 1 Rue de la Promenade
The nearest canoe hire to Le Couvent is at Tarassac, just 20 minutes’ drive from Hérépian (west on the D908). There are a variety of options, of which the easiest is to park your car at Tarassac and they will take you by minibus up to Le Poujol sur Orb. You can then take your time canoeing back to Tarassac. There are a number of rapids on the river but this stretch (Le Poujol to Tarassac) is the gentlest. They are open every day in summer. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.
One of my favourite times at the Couvent is the early morning. I’m sipping tea on the terrace or in the garden and taking in the gorgeous view. The light is perfect at this time of day. Continue reading →
About half an hour’s drive from Hérépian the pretty old town of Pézanas is well worth a visit. If possible go on a Saturday, which is market day: it’s a very colourful affair and you’ll find everything from fresh produce to clothing to arts and crafts. Look out for local honey, olives and a wide choice of Languedoc wines as well as ‘Les petits pâtés de Pézanas’ (small sweet/ savoury pies often eaten as an hors d’oeuvre – see below) and ‘Berlingots’ (boiled sweets). Continue reading →
If you are interested in more of a ramble than a gentle stroll you might want to try the 13 kilometre Gorges de Colombières walk. The path is rugged and parts are much more demanding than the easy broad track of the Gorges d’Héric. Continue reading →
A beautiful 9 hole Golf Course and a gourmet restaurant – within 15 minutes’ walk of the Couvent.
If you want to take in a round of golf during your stay at the Couvent – or if golf isn’t top of your list but fine dining is – try Lamalou-les-Bains golf club and/or its restaurant, La Capitelle. Situated just outside Hérépian on the D160 it’s just a few minutes’ drive or a 15 minute walk* from the Couvent. Continue reading →
A walk from the Couvent up to Notre Dame de Capimont – a 12th century Romanesque chapel – offers lovely views over the valley and the town of Hérépian. After a short walk along roads you follow clearly marked footpaths. Continue reading →
Classed as one of the ‘plus beaux villages de France’ Olargues is stunningly picturesque and well worth exploring. As you drive towards it from Hérépian* on the D908, the dominant bell tower appears high up to your right with the village of Olargues clinging to the rocky hillside below. In the valley the the 3-arched 12 century bridge (‘Le Pont du Diable’) straddles the river Jaur. Continue reading →