Exceptional Sites Of Natural Beauty

La Camargue gardoise, grand site de France : is a region of major importance in France. At the western edge of the  Rhône Delta are ponds and reed beds, lagoons and salt marshes providing refuges for thousands of birds:  flamingos, purple herons, bitterns, teals, bearded reedlings … and a huge variety of rare wild plants (poet’s narcissus, spring snowflakes, meadow orchids …). The herds are managed in total sympathy with this unique natural environment. Follow the maintained trails at the heart of the regional natural reserve of Scamandre, or venture along the Pointe d’ Espiguette a huge expanse of sand and white dunes, sometimes reaching a height of 12 m, which stretches for 10km along the shoreline.

The lido de l’étang de Thau : the lido (a strip of dunes) between Marseillan and Sète provides access to immense untouched beaches. There are other undeveloped sites along the Langedoc coast with fragile and remarkable ecosystems: les Aresquiers between Frontignan et  Vic-la-Gardiole, the beautiful site of the cathédrale de Maguelone near Palavas, or the Grand Travers between Carnon-Plage and La Grande-Motte.

The regional natural park of Narbonne on the Mediterranean : a unique destination! But first let your natural curiosity take you to these 2 sites:

  • The natural island reserve of Ste-Lucie : separated from Port-la-Nouvelle by the Canal de la Robine. A sandy trail around the island which is shaded by a canopy of pines, and was an anchorage point for ships of the ancient world. 

  • The Massif de la Clape (world heritage site) :  clad with vineyards and pine forests. Walks include one to Gouffre de l’œil-Doux in Fleury d’Aude and another to the cimetière marin de Notre-Dame des Auzils in Gruissan, a marine cemetery with views over the coast.

The plateau de Leucate : surrounded by cliffs, this is the ideal starting point for beautiful scrubland walks against the backdrop of the Canigou. Leucate marks the start of the natural marine park on the Gulf of Lion which stretches to Cerbère. There, along 100 m of protected coastline, more than 1200 animal species and approximately 500 plant species thrive.  

Anse de Paulilles (world heritage site) : near Port-Vendres, the Anse de Paulilles is the gem of the Côte Vermeille, an idyllic site protected by the coastal conservatory. The 3 beaches that comprise the bay provide sanctuary for some remarkable Mediterranean flora and fauna.  The site has been rehabilitated and transformed into a memorial to commemorate the history of the craftsmen of Paulilles. A studio for the restoration of traditional Catalan fishing boats has also been created.

L’étang du Canet-Saint-Nazaire: situated between Canet-Plage and St-Cyprien, is an example of the ecological role played by lagoons.  The pond has a large population of flamingos and, along its shores, are replicas of traditional reed-built fishermen’s cabins.  The reception cabin houses an exhibition tracing the history of the pond, and illustrating the diversity of flora and variety of birds to be found there.

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Written by capricorn


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