In the 70s, the Languedoc coast changed dramatically: its seafront, which was barely developed until then, was suddenly stormed by architects in the name of boosting tourism. Apartment complexes, hotels and marinas sprang up to cater to holidaymakers.
While some resorts are entirely modernised, others have kept their traditional charm. A good example of the latter is Gruissan, whose old village can be seen when arriving there by land. Built in a circle around an old fortress, it offers visitors a nice place to walk after their swim. You can go up to the Barbarossa Tower, the only remnant of the 10th-century castle fort which protected the inhabitants from Barbarian invasions. The same stones were used to build some of the town's current houses. A walk on the Plage des Chalets beach is also a great idea, with the pretty houses on stilts making for a very photogenic setting.
Other resorts like La Grande Motte are resolutely more modern. Nonetheless, this contemporary vibe is combined with a creative spirit that appeals to residents as well as visitors. The resort was built in the 1970s by the architect Jean Balladur, who had taken inspiration from the Mayan pyramids. From this idea emerged curious tower blocks adorned with circles, grids and other geometric patterns, creating a most surprising futuristic backdrop. So you can enjoy a wide range of sports, as well as swimming in the azure waters of La Grande Motte, while contemplating these strange, undulating buildings, reminiscent of a Kandinsky painting.
Cap d'Agde, known to some as the "black pearl of Occitanie", offers a wilder environment with its long, sandy beaches and volcanic cliffs. As well as swimming amid these unspoilt landscapes and enjoying many different water sports, people also go there to admire its harbour with ten basins, an ideal place for a leisurely stroll. Near Cap d'Agde, nature-lovers can explore the Bagnas national nature reserve to their hearts' content. All kinds of birds come to nest there, varying with the changing seasons.
Many other resorts attract thousands of holidaymakers each year, thanks to the balmy Occitan climate and the beautiful beaches of Languedoc. Palavas-les-Flots, with its scenic canal and little cable car, Carnon-Plage and its lively marina, but also Frontignan-Plage, Valras-Plage… The Languedocian dolce vita, in other words!