Winter gardens : Where to walk this winter in the Thau Archipelago ?


Looking for an idea for your Sunday walks despite the winter? The Archipelago of Thau is the place to go to get some fresh air and enjoy the mild temperatures of southern France. That's why we've put together a short list of places to go for a walk, so all you have to do is make your choice: a guided tour of the Bagnas reserve, an iodine bowl along the Lido, birdwatching at the old salt pans of Frontignan...
  •  - © Office de Tourisme Archipel de Thau

The Bagnas reserve: To be discovered freely or with a guide

Situated on 561 hectares between Marseillan and Cap d'Agde, the Bagnas reserve has become over the years a paradise for birds and nature lovers alike. Now protected, it can be discovered through the anecdotes of one of the guides of the Maison de la Nature or freely for a little more adventure.

You can, for example, take one of the five marked routes on the side of Mont Saint-Loup, not far from the Onglous lighthouse, along the Maraval estate, via the Canal du Midi or even from the observation area along the road. Would you prefer to explore the fauna and flora of the Bagnas with a guide? Then let yourself be tempted by one of the many themed guided tours on offer, including: the Bagnas for children, feet in the lagoon, discovering the birds of the Bagnas, the world of insects...

Information: Due to the high stakes involved in preserving animal and plant species and maintaining the integrity of the site's natural environments, access to the Bagnas reserve is regulated.

The Lido: A breath of fresh air between Sète and Marseillan

For this new idea of a walk, you will need a bicycle. Go to your garage or to one of the bike rental companies in Sète or Marseillan, before embarking on a ride along the dune cordon that separates the two seaside resorts, called the lido.

Over 12 kilometres, (re)discover the beaches of Sète (7 in number) or the one at the entrance to Marseillan. Don't hesitate to take a break and try to catch a glimpse of the Corniche, the Castellas tower, the Canal du Midi, the Saint-Louis pier or the Onglous lighthouse, before reaching your final destination: Marseillan-Plage in 50-80 minutes (Easy) or Marseillan-Ville in 80-110 minutes (Medium).
  •  - © Office de Tourisme Archipel de Thau

The Pierres Blanches forest: One of the most beautiful views of the Thau Archipelago

A must-see in the Venice of Languedoc, the Pierres Blanches forest is THE place to enjoy the Thau Archipelago and its winter colours. This 27-hectare pine forest proudly stands on the slopes of Mont Saint-Clair and can be discovered via its signposted path and its many viewpoints over the Thau lagoon, the salt mines, the Mediterranean Sea and the lido...

On the way, you will even find an orientation table on which the Canigou mountain and the Pyrenees chain are indicated, visible only on a clear day. But beware, because we like to say around here that if they are clearly visible, then the weather will be bad in a few days. 

Tip: To find out more about the history of the place, download the free application created by the ONF and the city of Sète.
  •  - © Office de Tourisme Archipel de Thau

The Gardiole massif: where heritage rhymes with nature

For this new idea, you will have to warm up your calves a little! Whether on foot, mountain bike or horseback, the Gardiole massif will be worth the effort in spite of everything, as an unobstructed view of the Thau lagoon awaits you at the top, at an altitude of 234 metres. We recommend that you take the Balcons de Thau hike (2h30 / 7.5 km / Easy). 

Why not also make a diversion to the abbey of Saint-Félix de Montceau, a historical monument founded at the end of the 11th century, thanks to the itinerary entitled Autour de l'abbaye (2h / 6.5 km / Easy) or the one entitled Saint-Félix-en-Gardiole (4h30 / 14.5 km / Medium)?
  •  - © Office de Tourisme Archipel de Thau

The old salt pans of Frontignan: A bird's paradise

Nestled between the hills of the Gardiole massif and the Ingril pond, the old salt pans of Frontignan are the ideal place to go for a walk if you are looking for peace and quiet. But before venturing out, we advise you to take your binoculars with you so as not to miss the many species of birds that nest there: white stilts, terns, pink flamingos, ducks...

This 230-hectare bird paradise is also a witness to history. Indeed, it is here that the main traces (canals, old salt tables, salt works...) of Frontignan's salt industry between 1330 and 1968 can be found. To be discovered through the itinerary entitled "Étangs et salins" (3h30 / 15.5 km / Easy).

The Aresquiers wood: Between ponds and pine forest

Worthy of a virgin forest, the Aresquiers wood is idyllic in any season! As soon as you set foot on its paths, particularly the Aresquiers hike (3h / 9 km / Easy), you find yourself immersed in a world of Aleppo pines, maritime pines, holm oaks, kermes oaks and a whole world of scents.

On the way, there are a few picnic tables where you can rest and even a capitelle. A little further on, the trees give way to the ponds of Vic-la-Gardiole and Ingril where many species of birds bask: couscous, storks, ducks, pink flamingos, warblers, owls, grey herons, little egrets... Keep your eyes peeled!

Warning: The Aresquiers wood should be avoided on windy days.

Respect for Mother Nature

  • Stay on the paths so as not to disturb plants and animals. 
  • Keep my dog under supervision and ideally on a lead. 
  • Don't leave any waste in nature. 
  • Don't build a campfire or throw cigarette butts. 
  • Do not pick up flowers.