Plage © Plage - OTMontpellier M.Tronel-Peyroz

Montpellier, a few minutes from the big blue

In 1943, the singer from Narbonne, Charles Trenet, wrote a song in its honour on the train that was taking him from Montpellier to Perpignan. Just minutes from Montpellier are Palavas-les-Flots, Carnon, Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone and La Grande-Motte: and it’s there that hundreds of thousands of tourists and inhabitants of the Hérault region and beyond, come to take the sea air. Over the decades, thousands of postcards and holiday letters have been sent from the seaside to reach the four corners of the world. We have found one in a drawer…

Dear Mum and Dad

I'm having great fun on holiday in Montpellier at Grandma and Grandad’s! Every day, with Aude, the neighbours’ daughter, we sunbathe on a different beach. We went for a swim in 'the big blue' at Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone, Carnon and then at the Grande-Motte. And tomorrow, we'll go for an ice cream at the port of Palavas-les-Flots. Y

ou know I like ice cream from the supermarket, mum, but the ones from the Glacier Catalan here are really good! Grandma says it’s a family business, one of the best in France, and it’s all home made... and the flavours, there’s an amazing choice!

A mojito ice-cream, have you tasted that yet, dad?" 

"No fuss here, the beach is ten minutes from Montpellier. We take a picnic and spend the day by the sea. There’s plenty of room for everyone here — Grandad told me there are 87 kilometres of sandy beaches in Herault! And believe me, we don't only make sand castles! Aude and I go on the banana — it's a big buoy, pulled by a boat, which makes you skim over the water at breakneck speed! She fell flat on her face, many times. Well, me too, but less. Grandad even tried paddle boarding in Palavas: he stood on a surfboard without falling! He’s great, grandad!"

"Hi Mum & Dad! We have no time to be bored during these holidays. Tomorrow, I’ll do my first dive in Carnon. The teacher promised me that I would see seahorses! I hope to see a wreck too. If this is the case, I will bring you some treasure as promised. Or else fish — we saw them very, very close at the Mare Nostrum aquarium at the Odysseum in Montpellier — Grandma took a picture of me with a moray eel, I touched small sturgeons, and saw the sharks being fed... And I got close to the baby penguins: the youngest, Swimmy was so cute! Can we bring one home, Mum? The trainer said they eat small fish. It might be unhappy in the bath though"

"In the evenings we go to a funfair, either at Carnon, Palavas-les-Flots, Grande-Motte or Grau-du-Roi — there are loads near Montpellier! Big wheels, slides, ice palace, thrilling rides... We tried everything at the last one! Aude and me, we got really frightened on the ghost train, but Grandad made us feel OK — with a huge candyfloss! To please Grandma, we go for a walk to the night market. There are lots! And afterwards, we lie on a beach and watch the sunset. Sometimes we see fireworks from the surrounding villages in the sky — some of them reflect in Grandad’s glasses. Holidays in Montpellier are great!

I love you mum and dad. Can’t wait to see you soon… though I wish I could stay here all year!"