When visiting the département of Hérault, it is best to start with Pic Saint Loup, a mountain north of Montpellier. There are hiking trails from several villages surrounding the Pic, but the easiest and most popular one leads you from Cazevieille to the summit in about 1h30. The most convenient way is to go by car as the Hérault Busses don’t run that often. But tramping also seems to work quite well.
The climb was rocky and for the last part, quite steep, but we were rewarded with a gorgeous view of rural Hérault.
Next, we made our way deep into the mountains, we drove by vinyards and olive trees, up and down the serpentines and next to gorges to finally get to the Cirque de Navacelles, located at the southern tip of the Massif Central, a mountain range in southern/central France. Around 6000 years ago, the river Vis abandoned its riverbed as erosion permitted it to find a more direct way, leaving a circle embedded in stone.
Another great spot is the Lac du Salagou in the Lodève bassin, an artificial lake famous for its red soil called ruffes. The color comes from sediments that where carried down from the mountains. Lots of families come here during the summer to counter the heat.
The flamingoes, oh the flamingoes. I haven’t seen them in this region until my recent trip to La Grande Motte, they are supposed to be in the Grau du Roi/Aigues-Mortes area, but when I went there, they were nowhere to be found (probably blown away by the wind). All the more exciting to be spotting them en masse sunbathing in the étangs.