©CH. Ruiz Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole
Montpellier surrounded by nature

Montpellier surrounded by nature

Ready for a little break in the great outdoors?

We agree, Montpellier is an amazing city. But sometimes it’s good to have a breather for a weekend. There’s nothing quite like a change of scene away from the hustle and bustle of the city!

The surrounding towns and villages have lots of ideas to keep you occupied. Find out why people say the  stone is blue in Castries and how a catholic château managed to survive in a protestant land in Montaud. There’s lots for history buffs to sink their teeth into among the vineyards and garrigues.

A round of football on the beach, hiking in fabulous scenery, splashing in the waves or getting away from it all in the dunes… Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone has something for nature lovers too.

Nature in the city

The river Lez is the natural habitat to several magnificent swans, but also a canoe activity base.

Indeed, the city has many open-air recreational areas. First, the Montcalm park. These former military barracks welcome gymnastic sessions daily and allow family and friends many idyllic and relaxed afternoons. Montcalm, nestled in the town centre also provides tennis courts, a football pitch and a basketball ground which the local youth can use for free.

Then there is the Méric park in the Aiguelongue district, a poetic haven of peace. The famous painter Frédéric Bazille used to come here to paint. Bordering the Lez river, it is the biggest dog park of the whole city.

The sporty usually gather in the Montmaurwood near the Lunaret zoo, to run. The park is one of the few in France to offer free entry to all. The lionesses, the bears, the cheetahs or the girafes are all good reasons to come and spend a fun and restful afternoon.

The legend of the Lez

The Lez is a magical setting that’s inspired countless legends. One of them is the Rocher de Substantion near the Lunaret nature reserve, a haven of peace for visitors.

Legend has it that on the night of St John the Baptist Day (June 24th), the famous rock opened up to reveal a  between the first and twelfth strike of the clock. Locals say that some greedy people were trapped inside the rock as they didn’t have time to get out. You’ve been warned!

Coastal lagoons

With as many as 500 protected species, Greater Montpellier and its coast are among the 35 biodiversity hotspots that need our protection. The lagoon area starts south of  Lattes and Pérols with lagoons that form the interface between Greater Montpellier, the surrounding towns and the Mediterranean coast. The Etang de l’Or, Méjean, Arnel, Prévost and Moures are outstanding areas to visit on an eco-friendly bike ride, walk or tourist train ride along the towpaths by the shores.

Some of the lagoons have been protected since 1975 and listed as Natura 2000 sites.

The Méjean Nature reserve

A natural setting home to magical wildlife… Only 8km separate the hustle and bustle of the city from the peace and quiet of the Méjean Reserve, a wetland on the edge of the coast’s lagoon belt.

Signposted footpaths around the Nature Houseintroduce you to a variety of flora and fauna such as flamingos, herons, European pond turtles and storks. The reserve is home to 170 species of bird.


Get away from it all In the Vines and Garrigues

If you love hiking and cycling among old stones or vineyards then you’ll love visiting the towns and villages for an idyllic break.

There are all kinds of landscapes in the hills around Montpellier: Castries and its aqueduct, Montaud and its château, the Avy springs in Grabels and sources of the River Lez in Saint-Clément-de-Rivière… everything you need to satisfy your appetite for adventure!

Top tip: audio trails by the Territoires en Mouvement project to explore the surrounding towns and villages