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The etang de Thau

Right beside the Mediterranean sea, in the sunny South of France, this salt water lake or lagoon irrigates the Pays de Thau area, including Sète, Balaruc-les-Bains, Bouzigues, Mèze and Marseillan.

This is a site well worth visiting in Languedoc for the amazing shades of blue that colour the sea and sky.
At the foot of Mont Saint Clair in Sète, this vast 7,500 hectare lagoon plays an important role in the local economy, and has been used to farm oysters and shellfish since ancient times. Today, it is also
an unspoilt area where you can enjoy numerous water sports.

A garden in the sea

© JM. Lallemand

The Etang de Thau is above all the largest lake system in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.
It has been used to farm oysters and shellfish since ancient times. Two thousand people work on the oyster and shellfish farms, which are mainly family businesses. Between Bouzigues, Mèze and Marseillan, the oyster farms reach as far as the eye can see, like perfectly-kept gardens floating
on the water.

Authentic flavours

Ostréïculteur sur l'étang de Thau - Hérault, le Languedoc © B.AUBOIRON

 

- In Bouzigues, wherethe famous Bouzigues oysters are produced, you can visit the Etang de Thau museum to find out all about
how oysters are farmed. On site, the oyster farmers will
even let you taste their shellfish.

-Just imagine these ancestral fishing ports, bathed in the very special Mediterranean sunshine: Mèze, Bouzigues, Marseillan. The colourful fishing boats and nets drying in the sun are all part of the decor.

- On the quays, in the welcome shade of a restaurant terrace, don't forget to accompany these wonderful oysters with a glass or two of Picpoul de Pinet, a white wine that goes perfectly with fresh seafood.

- And while you're in Marseillan, make sure you try the last French vermouth still in production by visiting the Noilly-Prat 'chais',
or wine cellars.

A protected environment

The Etang de Thau is a natural marine environment, unrivalled in Europe,
so leisure activities are strictly controlled to protect this eco- sensitive zone.
You can enjoy sailing, sea kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing
and even scuba diving
in Sète, Marseillan and Mèze.
For a well-being or hydrotherapy holiday choose Balaruc-les-Bains,
the second largest spa in France.