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Marko Sep 3rd, 2009 06:51 PM

A Languedoc itinerary in preparation
Hi all, May 2010. Flying into Toulouse from Morocco.
3 nights Toulouse, hop on the train, 2 nights Carcassone, on the train again 3 nights Montpellier. Pick up hire car and a week at an apartment in Olonzac. drive to Agde or Marsellien for another week.. Drive back to Montpellier, take train to home.

My questions are : a. Day trips from Olonzac.? suggestions historical and gastronomic

b. Still haven't nailed down somewhere on the beach for the last week, I am a bit worried that we will end up in a concrete nightmare, so if anyone has a suggestion (that doesn't involve sarcasm) please advise.


StCirq Sep 3rd, 2009 07:02 PM

Why two nights in Carcassone?

A whole WEEK in Olonzac? Jeez, are you a gambler? Need a spa that badly?

Sorry my reply involves sarcasm, but.....sounds like a bad plan to me.

cigalechanta Sep 3rd, 2009 07:08 PM

Check this site by Peter who posts here. He lives in Languedoc and can help you.

swagman Sep 3rd, 2009 11:55 PM


"A whole WEEK in Olonzac? Jeez, are you a gambler? Need a spa that badly?"

Does Olonzac have a casino and it's a spa town?


Marko Sep 4th, 2009 12:33 AM

St Cirq, Olonzac is a base for day trips...please keep up. Also the place is owned by a friend and also we are looking at some properties close by for a possible purchase. Now if you'd like to give some positive input...please feel free.

Two nights in Carcassone, is basically one and a half days. I don't like to rush about.

ira Sep 4th, 2009 04:59 AM

Hey M,

> the place is owned by a friend and also we are looking at some properties close by for a possible purchase.<

If you had mentioned that, it would have helped.

I think that you still have one night too many in Carcassone.


swagman Sep 4th, 2009 02:58 PM


Firstly, why are you choosing to stay 3 nights each in Toulouse and Montpellier? Do you have business to attend to?

The reason why I say that is because those places you can visit, including Carcassone, from your base in Olonzac quite easily. I have done that myself. Also, if you are just sight-seeing, 1 day in each of Toulouse and Montpellier should suffice, same applies to Carcassone and you won't be rushing.

From Olonzac, within a 90-minute driving radius, there are heaps of things you can do and sights to see including numerous Cathar castles, abbayes and villages. As far as beaches are concerned, you can visit Narbonne Plage or Saint Pierre. Further south there is the seaside town of Collioure, famous for being once the home of Matisse and Picaso.

So my suggestion to you is to pick up a car after you have spent a day in Toulouse, then drive to Olonzac to your apartment, stay 2 weeks instead of 1, use it as your base to visit the surrounding areas. There are lots of British people who have moved to the Minervois and a few Aussies too. There are even English speaking real estate agents who can help you find your dream pad for your pending retirement!

Good luck!


mpprh Sep 5th, 2009 01:25 AM

Firstly, May is a good time to visit. Fairly quiet, not too hot and the French school half term holidays will be over by end April.

The A9, A61, A54, A75 autoroutes bring all of Languedoc (and some surrounding areas) within reach of day trips. Not sure why you want to use the train. A car gives more freedom and to the West of Nimes is often quicker (TGV dedicated track stops at Nimes).

Much of the coast was a malarial swamp until the 1960's. That explains why there are so many new concrete holiday towns ! Older coastal towns include Ste Maries (Camargue), Aigues Mortes (now only near the coast !), Grau de Roi, Carnon, Palavas, Sete, Marseillan Ville (not plage), Meze, Bouzigues, Agde (not Cap d'Agde)and Port Vendres to Cadaques (Spain).

Maybe worth saying that sea water in May can be chilly - around 15C. If you are from Cairns you may find that a problem - if you are from Kiruna you'll love it ! That also asks the question - why stay on the coast ? There are many older, more interesting towns, along the A9 (which follows ancient roman and greek routes).

As for timing -
*half a day seems to be about right for Carcassonne, so no need to stay ? Aigues Mortes is a genuine and far older walled city than the pretty, but modern, fake of Carcassonne
*I would stay longer in Montpellier because it is a good centre for visiting West Provence, Avignon, Nimes, Arles, Aigues Mortes, Pont du Gard, Sommieres, etc.
*Is the coast really important as a base ? It is easy to visit by car.

Places :

Montpellier, regional capital of Languedoc Rousillon, and Herault is an old university town. Medical schools were established during the occupation by the Moors around the 9th century. The Moors, at that time, were the most advanced scientific culture in the Mediterranean basin. Today Montpellier has stunning modern architecture alongside an ancient centre. The tram makes it easy to visit the numerous art galleries and museums.

Nimes, the capital of Gard, was the Nemausus of Roman history. The arena (built AD or BC 0) is still in use. The old city and Maison Carre are worth visiting.

Arles is of interest for its extensive Roman remains and also it's artistic history.

Narbonne, just outside Languedoc, has fine Roman remains.

Mountain areas include Mt Aigoual, Anduze, Florac, Ganges, Gorge du Tarn, Mt Lozere, Mende, Millau, St Guilhem le Desert, St Hippolyte du Fort, St Enimie, Sauve, Le Vigan,

Coastal towns include Beziers, Bouzigues, Camargue, Canal du Midi, Cap d’Agde, Grande Motte, Grau de Roi & Port Camargue, Maguelone, Marseillan, Meze, Sete.

Historical interest in Aigues Mortes, Beaucaire, Lodeve, Pezenas, Sommieres, Uzes, Pont du Gard, Lunel (inc Ambrussum).

There are many other towns, outside Languedoc, but within reach and worth visiting. The majority of these can be reached by car within less than 2 hours, but Barcelona is just under 3 hours from Montpellier. A small selection -Aix en Provence, Andorra, Avignon, Banyuls, Barcelona, Les Calanques, Carcasonne, Ceret, Collioure, Figueras (Dali museum), Girona, Gorge d’Ardeche, Larzac, Les Baux de Provence, Marseille, Martigues, Mont Ventoux, Orange, Perpignan, Tautavel, Toulon.

You will run out of time !

Some photos :


Marko Sep 5th, 2009 01:39 AM

Thank you !!! Now that is real advice, much appreciated. The days in Toulouse is a chance to recover from a VERY hectic Moroccan cycling/hiking adventure. I am quite happy to alter Carcassonne and Montpellier, I was just using the rail line! We have previously visited several places from a base in Avignon ( staying at La Mirande which I can recommend).

Aigues Mortes does look interesting.

The water will be too cold for the spouse but I always will have a swim ! :)

Once again, thanks for those who replied in the right spirit.

swagman Sep 5th, 2009 10:49 PM


Whilst in Minervois, I can highly recommend this restaurant - La Tour Sarrasine, located in the hamlet of Poilhes, 5 mins drive east of Capestang, or 20-25 minutes drive from your base in Olonzac.

I had an exquisite 3-course lunch for 27E yesterday, wonderful setting by the Canal du Midi.


Marko Sep 6th, 2009 08:17 PM

Thanks Swagman.....noted !!
I will be expecting a very detailed report on your return !! :)

Marko Sep 8th, 2009 09:39 PM

OK, changes made so far...2 nights in Toulouse, none in Carcassonne and now three in Montpellier. also instead of a week at the beach we are now looking for a spa town...maybe to take some healing waters :) So if anyone has a suggestion please throw it forward.
thanks in Advance.

swagman Sep 9th, 2009 12:42 AM

Vernet-les-Bains in the south near the Spanish border. From there you can also visit Villefranche-de-Conflent, Saint-Martin de Carnigou or head back out to coast to Collioure. I was at Collioure 2 days ago, a beautiful seaside resort which has retained its original fishing village charm.


mpprh Sep 9th, 2009 03:39 AM

A few more to check out ..........

Alet les Bains
Allegre les Fumades
Amélie les Bains
Avene les Bains
Bagnols les Bains
Bains de Dorres
Bains de Dorres
Bains de Llo
Bains de Saint Thomas
Balaruc les Bains
La Chaldette
La Preste les Bains
Lamalou les Bains
Le Boulou
Moltig les Bains
Rennes les Bains
Sainte-Odile d'Avène
Vernet les Bains

Balaruc ( ) is close to Etang de Thau, Sete and Montpellier.


Marko Sep 9th, 2009 03:12 PM

there goes the rest of my morning !!!

Thanks so much.

Marko Sep 13th, 2009 04:32 PM

The base for the second week is now Collioure.
thanks to all for your input.

swagman Sep 15th, 2009 11:56 AM


Where are you staying at Collioure? Are you staying at a gite or hotel?


Marko Sep 15th, 2009 03:49 PM

Swagman, Just deciding between two apartments, both owned by some english folk, both very close to the beach. Both with parkinh which is a bonus !!

swagman Sep 15th, 2009 11:50 PM


Check this out too, think they are Australian owned,


Marko Sep 16th, 2009 04:37 PM

snap !!

Already have...and they will be holidaying there at the same time as us...currently planning to have dinner with them !! :)

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