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South of France - where's good?

4 replies

notanickname · 22/11/2008 20:17

Where?s a good place for a family holiday in the south of France? We were thinking of staying in a gite type place in a fairly rural location but with beaches within say an hours drive away, rather than staying in a coastal resort.

Can?t decide between Languedoc or Provence?.

In Languedoc there seem to be some nice country gite type places to stay a little bit inland. Where are the best beaches for kids in Languedoc (with soft sand, safe sea) that aren?t too built up/commercial?

Or, we were thinking about going to the Provence side, but just can?t quite get my head round what?s on offer there. Can anyone recommend a good area to base ourselves in so we could be less than an hour from the coast? And I keep thinking the beaches are going to be really commercial and chi-chi - what beaches are good for families there ?

OP posts:
aznerak · 23/11/2008 19:00

We adore the Languedoc. It is more "french" than Provence as it is generally less tourist and more rustic. There are of course more built up resorts within the Languedoc (such as Vias Plage and Cap d'Agde) but these are few and far between.

The Languedoc is quite a big area. My parents have a villa just west of Beziers which is about 20 minutes from the coast. There are some fantastic beaches within a 30 minute drive - all are blue flag acredited and are spotlessly clean. The sand is incredibly soft, the shores are very safe and do not shelve. There is no stony bits as you walk in, no seaweed, just lovely soft, sloping sand. The water gets very warm too.

Hardly any of the resorts have highrise buildings - typically they have apartment blocks and small hotels that are 3 storeys high.

Our favourite beach is the second closest to the villa and is called Valras plage. It has excellent wooden play equipment on the beach which the children adore. The small town has a twice weekly market and a lovely bustling town with a pedestrian area and some excellent restaurants. unbelievably, the car parking at all of the local beaches is free all year through! All though it does of course get busy in July & August, it isn't unpleasantly busy and there is a fantastic atmosphere. Some days, local bands come and play on the promenade!

The local villages and towns are lovely - the locals are incredibly welcoming and friendly. Most of the people who go to stay at my parents villa come back and rent again, as they fall in love with the area in the same way we did (and still do!)

There is tons to see and do in the Languedoc and although the beaches are fantastic, we love spending lazy days at local spots beside the river or at some of the stunning lakes. If its a real scorcher at the villa, then its worth driving to the local lakes in the High Languedoc National park as it is a couple of degrees cooler!

All in all, the whole of the Languedoc is in our experience less commercial and built-up than Provence and as such, you do feel you are more in "real" France than a tourist area.

If you want to have a look at my parents' villa website here, there is a big section on the region as well as things to see and do.

Hope this helps but if you want to know anything else, do ask! (They normally have an ad for the villa on the Small Ads but my mum hasn't got round to renewing it as it expired earlier this month! Must remind her to get another ad on!)

notanickname · 26/11/2008 19:22

Thanks for that Azernak. Sounds lovely - will check out that villa too!

OP posts:
aznerak · 26/11/2008 19:55

Just ask if you want to know any more about Languedoc - I have been so many times and still haven't seen and done everything it has to offer so always happy to find someone I can share my thoughts to!

keepplodding · 26/11/2008 19:56

A second vote for Languedoc here too! We absolutely love it - Vias plage and areas surrounding are all lovely!

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