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 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.
Hérépian is a small town of barely 1500 people. However, it has its full quota of specialist shops, a few restaurants and, on the approach to the town from the Bédariaux direction, a large Intermarché hypermarket. Continue reading →
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