Local Area Information
In the village you will find the following shops: Two Boulangeries & a small Vival supermarket open 7 days (Sunday am only in summer), Hairdressers, News agents/Tabac, Post Office, Pharmacy, Small Cave, Pizzeria for takeaways & Café/Bar.
Tennis just down the road. Book at the Mairie, €7 for the day.
There is a small village market in Vendres on Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday mornings. Just check though as it seems a bit variable!
For more extensive shopping we would suggest the following:
Carrefour in Serignan, huge open 7 days, though ½ day on Sunday out of season. It can be busy at weekends in August, so it is worth going early. There is also a bit of a shopping mall with Lidl, McDonalds, Gi-FI and other shops. There are small supermarkets in Valras itself if you are wandering around and just need essentials. An alternative is Casino at/near Colombiers, less busy in August.
There are numerous beaches to choose from. The nearest is all of 2.5-3 miles away, Vendres Plage.
It is simply huge, very long and wide, and as you will have seen from some of our photos, even in the peak of summer(August) there is plenty of room and it is easy to park if you drive.
There are lifeguards on duty in numerous places, beach cafes/bars, water sports and also plenty of room to get away from this if you wish as well. There are also toilets available. The sand is fine and the sea shelves off very gently, so it’s great for children of all ages.
We have found parking at Le Mimosa pretty easy. There is a short 5 min walk across the dunes(nature reserve) to the beach. Le Grau de Vendres is near Port du Chichoulet, were there are a number of seafood cafes.
There should be cards and brochures for a number of these services in the draw in the lounge.
Valras-Plage is a continuation of Vendres-Plage and has restaurants and childrens games on the beach. Parking in summer is more difficult, but it does back on to the town and all its facilities. Plenty of cafes to sit and watch the world go by.
Rather than give you lots of information on other beaches I would suggest the crème de Languedoc website, which has a good independent guide to all the beaches in the area and many other activities.
A small selection of places to visit in the area which we have been to. Most of the web links are to French sites, but most of them have English (or other language) translations. In no particular order:
Places to visit
The dinosaur museum at Meze is worth visiting especially for children. It has fossilised Dinosaur eggs and life size reconstructions of dinosaurs. It’s lovely even just going for a walk in the shade and a picnic. We have been a couple of times.
A trip to the land of the Cathars is a must to visit any or all of the following:
Chateau de Queribus and/or Chateau de Peyrepertuse. The magnificence of these castles and the scenery can’t be described. Be prepared for a bit of climbing to get to the castles, but well worth it.
Carcassone and the City, spectacular. Try and get there for the firework display on Bastille Day! Something for all ages here and very easy to wander around the old city. Many a film made here.
Abbey de Fontfroide, beautiful setting and spectacular abbey just south of Narbonne. http://www.fontfroide.com/
Another, less well known, abbey is Abbey de Valmagne near Montagnac near Pezenas. Slightly smaller but beautiful. The Abbey makes its own wine and is quite a sight!
Towns & Villages
Pezenas, is one of our favourite towns. Lovely historic centre to walk around, plenty of art and craft shops, active wokshops and displays; Mollier theatre. Great Market on a Saturday(all day but food only morning), but parking can be an issue. Plenty of places to eat.
Narbonne: Has a beautiful pedestrianized are in the centre and around the canal Robin. Plenty of places to sit and watch the world go by. Take a boat trip(small electric) down the canal. Visit the Roman ruins, Cathedral & wonderful indoor food market which is open everyday of the year 7am – 1pm. Huge outdoor market Thursday & Sunday mornings.
Beziers & Canal du Midi:
Montpellier: The relatively new Tramway system allows you to park on the outskirts of the city and travel right into the centre (Place de La Comedie) effortlessly. The old Quarter is worth a wander around with its narrow streets and sunny squares packed full of great shops and restaurants. Tourist information office is right in the centre there. Muse Fabre has recently re-opened after a refurb, with a wide range of impressionist & contemporary art. There is a free to enter zoo to the north of the town centre, with a spectacular Amazonian enclosure. Two decent shopping malls: the Polygone just off the Place de la Comedie or Odysseum the East side of town by the Auto route. Plenty of parking, tram and huge Decathlon, Ikea, cinemas, aquarium etc etc. Choose you timing though in August!
Meze/Bouzigues/Marseillan: visit any one of these beautiful little villages/towns on the edge of the Etang de Thau. Each is different with its own sea front/harbor front on the lake. Choose a spot in one of the restaurants/cafes by the water and watch the world go by, or some fascinatijg water jousting or just the sun setting over the Med.
Bouzigues is the oyster capital of France.
Meze often has festivals in the summer, very picturesque & lively.
Marseillan, similar, gorgeous harbor and home to Noilly Prat.
I could go on, Sete, St Guilhem-le-Desert(worth a wander around when you go kayaking up there). The Herault passes down from high up in the mountains. I can thoroughly recommend Canoe Rapido.
Try this for beautiful villages to visit.
Les Halles Marty, located in the heart of town, the Marty halls were renovated in 2002 are actually the traditional commercial center of the town. On rue Charles Thomas they offer fruits, vegetables, meats and of course fish sold directly by fishermen: sardines, mackerel, sea bream, etc. It has 22 stalls offering fresh quality products in a friendly atmosphere. Very popular with loyal customers. Great at Easter for the children hunting Easter eggs amongst the stalls.
8h00 to 12h30 Tuesday to Sunday in winter(1st Oct – 31st Mar)
8h00 to 13h00 every day in summer(1st Apr – 30 Sep)
Open Air Market, In winter on the Place Charles Thomas every Monday and Friday from 8:00 to 12:00. As of 5 June, the greatly expanded market becomes the summer market and is based on the harbor parking lot until September 18, offering food, clothes, various objects every Monday and Friday from 8:00 to 13:00.
Every Monday, Wednesday & Friday, from 7h to 13h on les Allées de la République (place de la Promenade). They also have evening farmers markets on Thursdays in July & August with tastings, though it may be moving to Monday evenings and also an art and crafts market on Tuesday evenings.
The market square has a few cafes and restaurants and the village is definitely worth a visit. Very tranquil. Try the Contemporary Arts Museum as well.
Pezenas & Narbonne mentioned above.
To be honest every town and village has a market of various sorts including Vendres, albeit small.