Holiday in France in the beautiful Languedoc region!

French market stall in St-Laurent-le-Minier, near Montpellier, France Waterfall and swimming on holiday in St-Laurent-le-Minier, near Montpellier, France St-Laurent-le-Minier village street, near Ganges, in the Cevennes valley of the Languedoc region of France

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Despite the many activities to be found in the neighbourhood, the best fun is probably to be had near to hand – in the flea market (Sunday mornings) and local produce market (Friday mornings) in Ganges;  down by the waterfall; and wine-tasting in the local caves.

 

Activities in and around St-Laurent-le-Minier

The following activities, facilities, or sports are within reach:

Walking
The hills around St Laurent have a network of paths which provide good walking; the terrain is unspoiled rough scrub covered with holm oak, pine, and chestnut trees, and many varieties of herbs and wild flowers. Cevennapied, J-M.Bestetti, 04 67 81 17 68:
cevennapied@wanadoo.fr, www.monsite.wanadoo.fr/cevennapied.escapade

Tennis
There is a hard court within 200 yards that can be booked from No 6 Rue Antoine Carles. Lessons or courses can be taken at Filhol Tennis, Cazilhac (3 miles), 04 67 73 82 26; other courts at Tennis Club Ganges-Laroque, 04 67 73 87 92, and at St Bauzille de Putois, 04 67 73 70 12

Swimming
The closest is just down the road in the pools below the waterfall in the Vis; there are other pools both up and downstream, and shingle beaches with good access on many stretches of the river.
There are also many good spots for swimming in the Herault, particularly at St Jean de Fos, and at the Lac du Salagou, which is just under an hour away.
The nearest beach is just over an hour away (Palavas), and there is a long stretch of sand between Sete and Cap d'Agde, where there is also a naturist beach. Another good beach to the east of Montpellier is L’Estinguette.

Canoeing
Canoe Tonic Loisirs, Rue des Megissiers, Ganges, 04 67 73 54 03. Canoe la Vallee des Moulins, route de Montpellier, Grabels. 04 67 73 12 45, valleedesmoulins@wanadoo.fr, canoes and kayaks for hire for the Gorges de l'Herault. Canoe d’Aubanal at Brissac, 04 67 73 39 58, info@canoesud.com, Canoe Montana at St-Bauzille-de-Putois, 04 67 73 36 76, www.canoe-cevennes.com. Also www.canoe-france.com, and www.aupalya.com.

Fishing
Deep sea, at Cap d'Agde; trips arranged from the Hotel du Golf for Blue Shark, Swordfish, Tunnyfish, Requin Renard and Thon Germon. There are Trout in the Vis, the Bueges, and the Foux. There are also Pike, Perch, Carp, Roach, Gudgeon and Eels in the Herault. More information from La Fino Cannello Gangeolo at Ganges, 04 67 73 86 33, Les Fins Pecheurs at Saint Laurent, 04 67 73 30 47.

Horse riding
L’Etrier des Cevennes at Cazilhac (about 3 miles), 04 67 73 98 91. Tricastel, Pegairolles-de-Bueges, (about 12 miles), 04 67 73 11 25. Tashunka, Route de Montoulieu, St Bauzille de Putois, 04 67 73 76 67, contact@tashunka.fr, www.tashunka.fr. Ser’Ane Donkeys: St Jean de Bueges, 04 67 73 13 26 - donkey trekking, like R.L.Stephenson.

Golf
Mas de Bombequiols, St-Andre-de-Bueges, (about 7 miles), 04 67 73 72 04 67. Nine holes, restaurant at the club.

Nature trails
Le Sentier de la Garrigue. Off the road between Ganges and Sumene, (about 6 miles), a natural reserve in which can be seen more than 70 botanical species of birds including Kestrels, small Vultures, the rare 'Blue' Blackbird, and two types of Eagle. Further information on 04 67 73 51 52. Centre Pleine Nature Les Lutins, St Bauzille de Putois, 04 67 73 70 30 / 19 74

The well-known reserves of the Camargues are within easy reach by road.

Concerts
At St-Guilhaume-le-Desert, which has an 18th century organ by J.P.Cavaille, from mid June to the end of September. Information on 04 67 73 14 99. Concerts are also organised at La Ferme des Moreaux, run by an architect/sculptor, where there is also a swimming-pool and a restaurant run by his wife. Causse de la Selle, about 11 miles, 04 67 73 12 11.

Speleology
Some of the most remarkable caves in France are on the doorstep. The Grottes des Demoiselles is a three star site near St-Bauzille-de-Putois, about 5 miles, 04 67 73 70 02. Otherwise there is the Grotte de Clamouse, Grotte de Baume Cellier, Grotte du Sergent, and numerous other caverns, abysms and just plain potholes. Groupe Speleolologique Gangeois, 06 22 06 53 49.

Local sights
The Cirque de Navacelles, the Cirque du Bout du Monde, and the Cirque de Moureze, are also remarkable local sights; Navacelles being further upstream on the river Vis, also has pools and a waterfall which is good for bathing. The roads there are precipitous and not for sufferers from vertigo. The Musee Cevenol, Le Vigan, 04 67 81 06 86, www.museecevenol.com. Musee de la Soie, St Hippolyte du Fort, 04 66 77 66 47.

Astronomy
L'Association Francaise Regionale d'Astronomie organises weekend introductions to astronomy with observations by telescope, at Aniane, about 18 miles. Information from the Central Tourist Office at Montpellier, 04 67 54 20 66.

Wine-making
Caves Cooperatives; the two nearest are Les Coteaux Gangeois, Route de Montpellier, just outside Ganges, 04 67 73 81 44, and Domaine les Caizergues, between Kartix and Brissac. A further Cooperative, which has a well-deserved and excellent reputation for the quality of its wine, is St Saturnin, about 18 miles, near St Jean de Fos, 04 67 96 61 52.

Windsurfing and sailing
Lac du Salagou, about 25 miles; I think boards can be hired by the hour. Wind is sometimes quite good, particularly in the middle of the lake away from the hills. The beach between Sete and Cap d'Agde is also used.

Boats can also be hired by the hour - but this should be checked with the Syndicat d'Initiative at Clermont l'Herault.

Hang-gliding & para-gliding
L’Envol, ecole de Parapente, Le Mas de Bruyere, Montoulieu, about 7 miles, 04 67 73 36 96, envol.nature@wanadoo.fr, http://envol34.free.fr Centre de Vol a Voile du Pic Saint-Loup, Mas de Londres, about 15 miles, 04 67 55 01 42.

Go-Karting
Kartix Parc, on the road between Ganges and Brissac. 04 67 73 75 00, www.kartix-parc.com

Archery
Les Archers du Val d’Herault, 04 67 73 82 62

Market
There is an excellent market every Friday morning from 8am in Ganges, selling local and regional produce, and a flea market early on Sunday mornings.

For other information, enquire at the Office de Tourisme Cevennes Mediterranee, Plan de l’Ormeau, Ganges, 04 67 73 00 56, Mon-Sat 9-12, 1-6pm.
Or: www.ot-cevennes.com/cocoon/en/relocate/cocoon/cevennes-mediterranean-nature