There are so many beaches in Occitanie that I couldn’t possibly mention all of them. Here are some of the best beaches in the region from eastern Occitanie along the Languedoc Coast and down to the Spanish border on the Vermillion Coast.
this map is hand drawn, not to scale and relative to this article😎
Aigues-Mortes is a fortified town in petite Camargue left and Le Grau du Roi, right is a beach town near Port Camargue, the biggest pleasure harbour in the region.
Click here to read about Aigues Mortes and here for more information about
The Languedoc coast was once very wild and swampy but those days are long gone. It was ‘cultivated’ or ‘transformed’ with a view to attracting visitors on the way to Spain as ‘the paid vacation’ came into existence a few decades ago. The area was also developed to allow people with lesser means to enjoy the Mediterranean. The case in point here is LGM which you can read about here La Grande Motte.
Palavas-les-Flots is the closest beach to Montpellier, you can even take the tram or the bus and there’s a cycle path 🚴♂️. It gets very busy in the summer and in my opinion should be an ‘off season’ (not between 15 July and 15 August) choice, but at certain times during the year it is actually my favourite place for a little beach break! It has year round restaurants and it’s great for running and yoga and paddle board etc. Read Palavas-les-flots for more info.
Sète is so much more than a beach destination but it also happens to have 12 kilometres of beach and endless days of sunshine. Click Sète for more about this wonderful city.
AGDE – You may have heard of Agde, it’s one of the oldest towns in France. It was a 5th century Greek colony known as Agathe. In the commune of Agde is le Cap d’Agde. There are some amazing (expensive) houses to rent on the Plage Richelieu section of Agde and if you have the means, or enough friends, you could secure and amazing house rental around here!
Le Cap d’Agde – more than a ‘village naturiste‘
That is my husband near Plage Richelieu, and as you can see he is fully dressed. For one thing, the photo was taken in March and also, not all beaches are nude beaches around here. There are ‘naturiste’ beaches and an entire naturiste village but there are also ‘wear whatever you want as long as it’s something’ beaches, not to be confused with closing optional beaches. Your option is to go to a nude beach or not! Confused? Basically if it is not a naturiste plage you have to wear a swim suit👙!
Gruissan, as well as pretty much everywhere on the Languedoc coast, is windy! There are windsurfing and kitesurfing competitions every year. It is also known for the Plage des Chalets, where Betty Blue was filmed in the 80’s (if you are old enough to remember). It’s a really pretty little town with a lagoon and a beach, and a charming marina. There are lots of restaurants shops and bars, tennis courts and wine bars, wine shops and vineyards nearby.
for more information read Gruissan.
La Franqui is a little beach not far from Port Leucate. It’s a great spot that I have only just discovered. A great little find and I can’t wait to go back. It’s quite small so you need to go early if you want to park there. It’s great for windsurfing and also very family oriented. There are a few little restaurants and bars and 8 kms of beach!
La Franqui left and middle and Bages right, a beautiful little hilltop village above a lagoon.
Collioure is an exceptionally pretty town on the Côte Vermeille, not far from Perpignan heading towards the Spanish border. It’s lush and hilly which is unusual for this coast. The beaches are small and busy, which is to be expected for city beaches but they are full of charm and very convenient for renting kayaks and oh so close to all the bars and restaurants. The view is amazing from pretty much everywhere. Read Cartes postales de Collioure for more information.
Collioure is the jewel of the Vermillion coast. (above and below)
Not far from Collioure is the plage de ouille (below) which is about 45 mins on foot with stunning views of the bay but if you are going to avoid the crowds you will be disappointed. The vibe is different and less ‘city’ but there are just as many people. In fact all the kayakers end up there as well. You can just about see Argeles-sur-Mer in the distance which is huge and although more popular it is much bigger and you can get a little more sand to yourself😉.
If you carry on even further from Collioure, heading south towards Spain you will pass Banyuls-sur-Mer.
Banyuls is one of the last towns on the coast before you hit the Spanish border. There is a little beach in town, and there are plenty of rocky cliffs where you can lay your towel down and jump into the big blue sea!
A word about 🍷
The Wine Industry in France is the savoir faire of generations and Eno-tourism (wine tourism) goes hand in hand with gastronomy. Both are essentiel to the economy and many people depend on it to survive. Viticulture and cuisine vary from region to region and even if you don’t drink wine, visiting the vignobles is an amazing experience. Enjoying and discovering les produits de terroir (local products) helps to keep things local, and ensures the right people are benefiting from your travels. It’s also a great way to connect with people. Vineyards decorate much this country, not least of all Occitanie, the largest winemaking region in France.
There are wineries all over the place and it would require a very long wine specific post to even begin to touch on the subject of regional wine, but the bottom line is “enjoy the local wines”.
Le Vin des sables is pale, light crisp rosé from the Camargue and petite Camargue. You will find Costières de Nimes behind Aigues Mortes, Faugères and Pic St Loup around Montpellier and La Clape in the Narbonnais. Driving down the coast you’ll pass through the Minervois and the Corbières and be spoiled for choice.
Farther down the coast the red wines that come from Banyuls are quite strong, as a result of the constant intense sun☀️. The closer you get to Collioure and Banyuls the more you will see only local wine on the menu. It goes well with anchoïade, made from you guessed it anchovies, and also dessert. Cheers!
I hope that you have enjoyed this post about beaches in Occitanie. Follow me to keep up with me on my travels around Occitanie…………à bientôt Christina.
I’ve been reading about Banyuls-sur-Mer because that was where the sculptor Aristide Maillol used to live. In 1940, his model Dina Vierny was one of those who guided refugees at night through the mountains from France into Spain, so they could escape from the Nazis. This was doubly dangerous because Dina was Jewish herself. The refugees were told to take the last train to Banyuls-sur-Mer, get off and look for a girl in a red dress, who would be in the café opposite the station. They were not to speak to her, just follow her at a distance in silence. She never knew the identity of the people she was guiding, except for a few who contacted her after the war.
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Amazing stories of ‘la resistance’, thank you for this one. A wealth of knowledge as usual Nemorino🙏
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Thank you for introducing me to this beautiful region that was completely off my radar. You mentioned a cycling path. Is this region generally good for bike touring?
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Avec plaisir. Yes Occitanie is huge….1/3 of the south of France including a big chunk of the Pyrenees which is wonderful for cycling and also the Canal du Midi….which goes from Toulouse to Sète on the Mediterranean (totally different as it is flat). Great for hiking too but nothing as majestic as B.C. The Tarn and Aveyron are full of places to cycle as well.🚲 Hope you can enjoy the region when it becomes easier to travel.
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