Top (second) floor apartment in small construction on the shore of the Etang du Thau. Stunning views of the Etang from the terrace (equipped with dining area and sunbeds) which has sun all day. Views of the Chateau du Port and Marseillan rooftops from the bedroom. Five minutes walk from the marina and port and from the centre of town with a great choice of local shops, bars and restaurants. Market day on Tuesday.
The local airport is Beziers, 20 minutes away. Other airports: Montpellier (45 minutes), Nimes (75 minutes), Perpignan (75 minutes), Carcassonne (75 minutes). If you’re flying to Beziers for just a short stay you may decide not to hire a car – the town bus meets every Ryanair flight and will drop you 5 minutes level walk from the apartment. The bus will also take you back to the airport in time for each flight.
At the entrance of the Canal du Midi, Marseillan is fast becoming a destination port but still has an unhurried and local flavour. Cited as 'the St Tropez of the 60's' it has so much to offer; 20 restaurants & bars and best seafood possible.
Marseillan is the oldest village in France. It came to prosperity when the Canal du Midi was completed which brought trade to the town.
It is unspoiled despite it's beauty and described by the Telegraph newspaper as the St Tropez of the 60's. No crowds, wonderful village and harbour and some of the finest seafood you will ever find.
Nearby, along the Etang is the small town of Bouzigues which is the Oyster and Mussel growing 'capital' of France - visit the museum to learn about the history of the industry and how the beds are managed now. The shellfish from here is sold along the roadside by small producers - there is no large co-operative. The oysters from here are sold throughout France as the highest quality. The water in the Etang is so clean that the shellfish can be sold directly from the ocean - something that is not permitted on the Atlantic coast!
At the end of the Etang is the lovely town of Sete. Built like Venice with canals, you will find a wonderful covered market and fresh fish from one of the largest trawler fleets in France. The town hosts the famous water-jousting festival.
Shopping? Montpellier is less than an hour's drive away (45 minutes by train from Agde station). This historic city is a mix of modern boutiques and an historic quarter of narrow cobbled streets. You will get lost, but that is the good part as you will stubble into tiny squares with fountains and restaurants with outdoor dining. There are antique shops where you may discover something that you cannot resist.
On Saturday morning, a must do is to visit the ancient town of Pezenas where the market literally takes over the whole town. Everything from fresh seafood, locally cured ham and a bewildering variety of cheeses and bread. This is a good place to buy fresh vegetables from local producers. The town has an atmospheric medieval heart and this historic quarter is host to a myriad of tiny shops and restaurants (some with just 5 tables). The town is a centre for artists and craftsmen and we challenge you not to bring something home with you.
There is a small shallow 'town beach' but to the south (5km - on foot, bike ride alongside the Etang and Canal du Midi, or by bus) is Marseillan Plage. Recently 'spruced-up', this is the tourist centre for beach lovers. There are miles and miles of soft sand beaches and clean Mediterranean sea. Just a little further down the coast you will find Cap d'Agde. This has one of the largest marinas in France and you can dine on the promenade right next to the yachts. There are tours out to sea on a huge glass-bottomed catamaran.
Further south still is the town of Narbonne. Once a sea port, Narbonne is now 15 Km inland due to silting of the river Aude. This lovely town has a covered market in a beautiful arcade building and a beautiful cathedral.
For a longer day trip why not drive to the foothills of the Pyrenees? In less than one and a half hours you will be in the artists 'town of Ceret. Home to the world famous Museum of Modern Art (Musée d'Art Moderne). Ceret was the home to many famous painters and you will be able to see numerous Picasso paintings, sculptures and ceramics, including the famous bull fighting bowl series. The museum also features paintings by Chagall, Matisse, Herbin, Soutine, lots of Fauves and a few Impressionists. The top floor of the Museum hosts touring exhibitions. The museum is open 364 days of the year. Ceret is the cherry growing centre in France and the first punnet is always sent to the President!
On the edge of Ceret is the Pont du Diable (Devil's Bridge). This is a stunning single arch stone bridge built between 1321 and 1341. With a single span of 45.45 m, it was at the time of its construction the world's largest arch bridge in terms of span length.
Too many people? - then we have a suggestion (one that we take up all of the year). Marseillan is surrounded by hundreds of square miles of vineyards. With no law of trespass in France, you can turn off a country road and follow the rough tracks (on foot, by bike or by car) used by the tractors until you are miles from anywhere and surrounded by vines as far as the eye can see. Take a picnic - find a spot under an almond tree and enjoy total tranquillity. Don't forget to pick some wild herbs before returning for a Noilly Prat. ( by the way, 'Prat' is pronounced the English way with the 't' ) Noilly is of course made in Marseillan.
Visit the Noilly Prat wineries for guided tours but don't expect them to divulge their secret recipe of herbs and spices! Noilly Prat dry can be bought throughout the world, BUT, only in Marseillan can you buy their medium sweet Noilly Prat Ambre! Excellent as an apero with ice and a slice of orange. Local bars serve it.
If you are feeling active, the town has sailing and wind-surfing. It is also world famous for kite-surfing
In the apartment we will provide many more suggestions, maps and guides - or, why not just sit on your south-facing terrace, relax and do nothing. The south of France has this effect on most people!
We look forward to welcoming you to this marvellous and still unspoiled part of France