With its unspoilt sandy coast, its tranquil green interior and its dramatic highlands, Hérault in Languedoc offers a remarkable range of landscapes and activities. And thanks to the introduction of low-cost flights, the region has become increasingly accessible from the UK over the past few years. Montpellier, capital of the Languedoc, is the main hub in the east; while Béziers and Cap d’Agde provides excellent links in the west.
Béziers-Cap d’Agde airport (00 33 4 67 80 99 09; beziers.aeroport.fr) is ideally located for very easy access to both the coast and the mountains of the Haut-Languedoc. What’s more, this is a small, rural airport so you may well feel you’re on holiday even as you step off the plane. From the UK, it is served by Ryanair (0871 246 000; ryanair.com) from Luton and Bristol.
Montpellier’s Méditerranée airport (00 33 4 67 20 85 00; montpellier.aeroport.fr) is well positioned for access to the eastern parts of the district. From the UK, it is served by Ryanair from Leeds Bradford and by easyJet (0871 244 2366; easyjet.com) from Gatwick.
Other international arrival points include Marseille, Nîmes and Perpignan from which there are good rail and road connections.
Access from Paris Gare du Lyon is quick, thanks to services via Lyon and Nîmes. The service from Paris to Montpellier’s Saint-Roch station takes around three hours and 15 minutes. An onward service to Béziers is offered, with around six direct trains a day, the full trip from Paris lasts just over four hours.
Fast trains also call at Sète and Agde. Return tickets from London St Pancras can be arranged through Eurostar (08705 186 186; eurostar.com) to stations in Hérault from £101. From 10 July to 11 September, a summer service of direct trains operates between St Pancras and Avignon-Centre, with easy connections to Hérault.
From the town of Orange, the A9 motorway runs from the north-east to the south-west, linking Montpellier and Béziers and allowing quick access to the coast. If you’re arriving from the Channel ports, however, the most scenic approach to Hérault in Languedoc is along the A75 motorway that runs through the Massif Central; Dieppe and Le Havre are particularly well placed for avoiding the congestion around Paris.
Rail services run from Montpellier to Frontignan, Sète, Agde, Vias, Béziers, Bédarieux and Lunel. There are 68 local bus lines in the region: consult Hérault Transport (00 33 825 34 01 34; herault-transport.fr) for more details.
From the sea to the mountains, a car offers the most convenient means of exploring this varied region. Car-rental options available from Béziers-Cap d’Agde airport include Hertz (08708 44 88 44; hertz.com) which has a rate of £310 for a week. For route planning visit quelleroute.com
Hérault in Languedoc, Maison du Tourisme, Avenue des Moulins, 34184 Montpellier Cedex 4 (00 33 4 67 67 71 71; languedoc.com).