The beaches of Montpellier
The world has hundreds if not thousands of beautiful beaches with tropical breezes, palm trees, and and waves for body surfing. Hands down these tropical beaches from Hawaii to the Caribbean to Mexico are the most tranquil, restful and provide treasures both under the water and on land. The Mediterranean also a spot for the rich and famous along the coasts of cote d’azure with their 100 foot yachts docked in the small ports along the sea and their rocky (yes small little rocks) beaches with long promenades and cafes. Yet, near Montpellier, about halfway between Spain and Italy are long strands of white sandy beaches, silky water calm enough to swim laps in and sailboats dotting further out to sea. Three main beaches, a 15 minute drive from Montpellier are all distinctly different.
Palavos, an old fishing village still holds a fish market on Thursday mornings. The long beaches include a nude beach 2 miles long, camping, apartments and the fishing village itself. Down the strand is Carnon (our favorite) a modern port designed as a square with apartments, restaurants and shops circling the yachts, sailboats, and fishing boats. On either side are long sandy beaches with low lying beach homes and condos. Bike paths flow from one beach to the next.
Directly on the beach near the entrance to the sea are restaurants with tables scattered on the sand serving fresh fish, moules and frites, and other French delicacies. The sand is fine white sand versus the small rocks of Nice and Cannes.
From Carnon to the last town La Grand Motte is a 5 mile strand of beaches, wild carmague grasses, and open dunes.
La Grand Motte (10km) the biggest summer holiday town built in the 60s and 70s, is both interesting in architecture and kitsch at the same time. The buildings shaped like pyramids and half circles makes you wonder what the architects were on when they designed the village. Thousands of vacationers (up to 2 million tourists a year and most in the summer) from northern Europe come to La Grand Motte in the summer. Ongoing wide walkways, bike paths, buses, grassy areas, sports fields, amusement park, boating centers, golf course, grocery stores, restaurants, and more provide everything for a vacation.
We have settled on Carnon and Palavos as our beaches. A 15 minute drive and we can sun, swim, walk, or just have a great meal. The palm trees are limited, but the perfect warm dry weather (not muggy), long beaches, and days that are light until 10 pm make it the perfect place to hang out for a few hours or all day or night.
On every beach there are places that matelas (lounge chairs) rent for 25 euro with big umbrellas and lunch. The water is warm enough (once you get used to it) to swim between the buoys and not feel like you will get swept out to sea. We love the afternoons to hang out at the beach, but even better are the early evenings from 6-8 when it is refreshing, warm, and the sun is lower in the sky.
What we are grateful for:
#1 - This week we are reminded each day of how we love the weather here. We are just happy to be in great warm weather that is not too hot or muggy, but just right --- all day and night long. Once you are in this kind of weather again, you realize how important it is and how you feel so much better. No matter what they say, weather does matter in how you feel!
#2 - The long days. Combining the warm weather with the fact it stays light until 10pm makes for twice as long a day. You actually feel like you get two days in one.
Two major reasons why we love it here that are somewhat unique.