NephroCare Béziers la Colline
Languedoc-Roussillon – Meet the “other French Riviera”
Imagine a countryside rich in contrasts, with endless beaches and around 300 days of sunshine. If that sounds like the ideal holiday destination for you, then you are off to Languedoc-Roussillon in the South of France. The region stretches from the Camargue to the Pyrenees with an incredibly long coastline and endless beaches. That special sunny flair of the Midi will instantly become your companion while you are enjoying the numerous possibilities for an active holiday close to nature.
The Languedoc has long been underestimated as a holiday destination, and unjustly so. Fortunately, four of our NephroCare clinics are situated in Béziers and Montpellier and serve as gateways to this amazing region. There is so much to see, to smell, to experience in between your dialysis appointments! Also NephroCare Lunel is situated right between the Provence and the Languedoc, giving you all the leeway to either get a whiff of the Camargue and the area around Nîmes ((LINK to the article on Western Provence)) or plunge into the Cévennes National Park. Each clinic offers different options for your holiday and both cities have an airport nearby. But why choose? You can always come back for more.
Activities and must sees
Lively cities and bonny beaches
Montpellier, the largest city in Languedoc, is a bustling place due to its large student population. It mixes elegant buildings, beautiful squares and grand hotels with a sense of art de vivre and style. Even the tramways were designed by couturier Christian Lacroix! Cobbled streets wind around the city centre, lined by quirky cafés and quaint little shops. Take your time to discover and get a bit lost in this multi-faceted, sun-drenched city.
The interesting area around the Etang de Thau is within easy reach. The lagoon measures 19 kilometres long which makes it popular among sailors and windsurfers. Due to its median depth of five metres it is also ideally suited for the ensconced oyster farms.
Languedoc boasts a Mediterranean coastline of inconceivable 214 kilometres. This oasis of sun, sand and sea begins in the east with Plage de l’Espiguette, the longest beach in the South of France. You can walk for kilometres away from the touristy area in the west to deserted sands backed only by dunes and 20 kilometres of salt lagoons. Or you can visit one of the lovely towns interspersed in the extended beaches. The early evening is the time to turn your back on the beach and be within the walls of Aigues-Mortes. Then, the warm light of the setting sun magically transforms the stone roofs and houses. Sète is known as the “Venice of the Languedoc” for its network of canals. Le Cap-d’Agde near Béziers is the most visited of the beach resorts.
Where history mixes with city life
The silhouette of Béziers is visible from afar due to the distinctive outlines of the Cathedral Saint-Nazare. With this place as your holiday base, you choose a fairly peaceful inviting town – and one of the most ancient in Europe. Once upon a time it was a busy Roman military colony, today it follows a more leisurely pace. From here you have various opportunities to fill your agenda with any physical activity you might desire. Hiking, biking, strolling along the seaside or sipping the Canal du Midi on a boat, there are many ways to revel in the enchanting countryside. The historical sites in the neighbourhood are just as worthy of your attention.
A visit to Carcassonne feels like stepping into a fairy-tale of the Middle Ages. Knights and noble ladies might just wait behind the next corner and, of course, many of the staff members are clad in style. This medieval fortified city with passageways and winding alleys is incredibly well-preserved, offering a fascinating experience. The heavily decayed citadel walls got fully restored in the 19th century. The architect wasn’t too much into historical accuracy and created a medieval wonderland instead. And that is just a lot of fun to explore. Take at least a whole day to let the atmosphere work its magic!
From gorgeous gorges to hilly hikes
Turquoise or green water under a sunny blue sky, impressively steep rocks and perhaps a light breeze, it all comes together in the Gorges de l’Hérault, north of Montpellier. Put on your boots or take an open-top car and cruise the winding roads, sometimes on the same level as the water, sometimes looking into the gorge from the top. It is a place to say thank you to nature for blessing us with such magnificence!
Béziers is an ideal starting point to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Guided bike tours and bike rentals are on offer. The Canal du Midi, built during the reign of Louis XIV, is a delightful biking destination as well. If you are more the hiking type, the Montagne Noire is at your door. The southern foothills of the Massif Central enable you to discover a densely wooded area rich in water sources that supply the Canal du Midi. Its spectacular views and the scenic surroundings put the black mountains high up on the list of popular destinations. It is also an extensive wine region, as nearly 40% of the wine produced in France comes from the Languedoc. Would you have guessed?
The wild, unspoilt countryside of the Cévennes National Park extends north of Lunel and Montpellier makes another great hiking destination. Torrents, rivers and streams trench the area that hosts a rich and diverse range of flora and fauna.
In Montpellier, you could treat yourself to one of the beachside hotels. It’s your holiday, after all. No matter what your style is, if you prefer hotel suites for your holiday or a rustic bed and breakfast, there are luxury and budget lodgings and everything in between to be found in the area. The so-called chambres d’hôtes, widespread all over France, represent a charming possibility for spending the night. And the gîtes de France are popular contact points for booking an apartment.
Culinary & Culture
Celebrate good times
The people from the Languedoc do like to celebrate! You might come across numerous festivals and feasts in the towns and villages of the region. There is no need for an excuse to have a party and visitors are always welcome. To name at least one larger event, the Dance Festival of Montpellier enchants with traditional dance from all over the world. It runs for three weeks in late June and early July.
Cuisine-wise, the Languedoc has got a lot to offer, too. If you come across signs reading “ferme-auberges”, you are led to farms or wineries that offer regional down-to-earth cooking, served with wine from local winemakers. Wild rosemary and thyme can be found easily while walking in rural areas. Goats love the vegetation, so goats’ cheese is very popular in the area and is sold at every corner. Seafood is an integral part of the culinary range like Bourride, for example. The monkfish (or white fish) stew is a typical fishermen’s hotpot originally created to use up their unsold fish of the day. Thanks to the large lagoon of the Etang de Thau, oysters are one of the region’s favourite foods. If you ever wondered what the fuss is all about, now is the opportunity to find out.