Palavas-les-Flots, Herault, Occitania, France

Palavas-les-Flots is a French commune located in the Hérault department, in the Occitanie region, in the south-east of France. Palavas-les-Flots enjoys the triple status of a fishing port, a seaside resort and, due to its proximity to the city of Montpellier, a suburban municipality.

Palavas is a seaside resort, some six km south of Montpellier, at the Gulf of Lion and the Mediterranean. It lies on a strip of sand dunes that separates two lakes, the Étang de l’Arnel and the Étang du Méjean, from the sea. Its neighbouring communities are Lattes, Pérols, Mauguio and Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone. The village center is located at the spot where the river Lez flows into the sea through a canalized section. Northwards, it stretches until Mauguio. Southwards, expansion is halted by a military area and an area used by the Ifremer.

The fairly cramped municipal area is entirely located on part of the Languedoc coastline and has a very densely urbanized central core, made up mainly of small buildings and villas. The town is also divided into two distinct parts, but unequal in area by the course of the Lez, a coastal river which flows into the Mediterranean at the port. The municipal territory is also delimited, in its northern part, by the Rhône canal in Sète and, to the south, by large sandy areas belonging to the coast of the Gulf of Aigues-Mortes, itself belonging to a larger maritime area, the Gulf of Lion.

The whole of the territory is almost flat and therefore does not have any type of remarkable relief, or eminence of an artificial nature. The only thing that emerges from this local horizon is the old water tower that has been converted into a panoramic touristic tower. Palavas-les-Flots therefore presents today all the assets and particularities of a seaside resort typical of this sector of the Languedoc coast.

Created in 1850, following the dismemberment of the territory of its neighboring municipalities and located on the coast of the Gulf of Lion and its annex, the Gulf of Aigues-Mortes, this small Mediterranean town was originally a modest fishing port located at the mouth of the Languedoc river, the Lez. This town became, over time, the main seaside resort frequented by the Hérault residents of the hinterland, because of its proximity to the Montpellier agglomeration.

The main agglomeration, marked by the presence of the church and the pedestrian street, is located at the outlet of a Hérault river, the Lez, at the intersection of this one with the Rhône canal in Sète which connects the Rhône to the Thau pond. Towards the east, the town extends along the avenue Saint-Maurice, to the town of Mauguio and its seaside resort of Carnon-plage and, to the west, towards Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone and from Frontignan. On this side, its spread is much narrower due to the presence of a military firing range and Ifremer research and development facilities.

Originally, the Palavas site was part of the Languedoc coastline frequented occasionally by professional fishermen but often fled in summer due to the presence of numerous mosquitoes in the ponds. The village originated as a fishermen’s village who sold their catch on the markets of Montpellier. The Ancien Régime used the village as a coastal defence, building the Redoute de Ballestras. From the beginning of the 19th century, local tourists and seasonal activities were drawn to the village. When in 1872 a local train to and from Montpellier started service, seaside tourism really took off. This train operated until 1968 and was painted by Albert Dubout.

Middle Ages
In 533, a bishopric was established on the island of Maguelonne, the territory of which extended to the site of Palavas. This bishop appears, therefore, in the texts at the end of vi th century on an occupied island in antiquity. Originally, the bishopric of Maguelone and the county of Maguelone sat in Maguelone but the city was ruined by the action of Charles Martel in 737. Forced to move their headquarters to Substantion (former name of the current Castelnau-le-Lez), then to Melgueil (former name of Mauguio, city of which the lands of Palavas were part at the time), the feudal domain will take the name of County Melgueil.

In 1085, Count Pierre de Melgueil placed himself under the protection of the Pope. He paid homage to his county and the rights he enjoyed in the bishopric of Maguelone, from the reign of Pope Gregory VII, then to his successors.

In the 12th century, the bishopric of Maguelone regained its former power, but the bishops had to face the rise of the House of Aragon, who had just come into possession of Montpellier and especially against the rising power of the kings of France. In 1365, during the first civil war in Castile, the city of Maguelone, then possession of Aragon, was taken by Guillaume Boitel and Bertrand Du Guesclin.

Modern era
The Lez, current modest coastal river, flowed into the pond of Perotz (current Palavasian ponds) which formed a single lagoon. This lagoon was pierced by an opening called Grau de Palavas in 1623. Between 1701 and 1752, this watercourse was channeled to the Grau de Balestras (which, further east, replaced the old Grau de Palavas in 1663). The Lez thus provides Montpellier with an opening onto the sea. This mouth also makes it possible to drain the waters of the surrounding areas, and to evacuate into the sea the waters of the Lez polluted in particular by the tanners of Montpellier. In this sanitized and deodorized site, little by little, the Palavas sector is taking shape and will allow the development of the fishing port activity at the local level.

The site is also a point of coastal defense under the Old Regime, embodied by the redoubt of Ballestras, built in 1744. This defense was exercised against pirates in particular barbaresques, the English but especially against the smugglers who, at night, went up the Lez to avoid the granting of Montpellier.

The sinking of the “Jane Elizabeth”. Just before the start of the Seven Years’ War, France needed cash for the conflict. The “Jeanne Elisabeth,” a brig of the xvii th century sailing under a neutral flag, was commissioned by France to load 24,600 silver dollars from Cadiz in Spain to Marseille. Due to the presence of English privateers who harass French ships in the Mediterranean, the ship is officially registered at its port of departure as carrying wheat, dye and various supplies.

On the night of 24 to 25 October 1755, while the merchant ship skirts the lagoon off Maguelonne, a big storm pushes the ship towards the coast and it hits sand banks flush with the surface. As a result, the brig sank, with its cargo, not far from the shore. The owners of the piastres will try to recover their property, but without succeeding.

The naval battle of Maguelonne. Under the First Empire, a modest naval battle pitted six English warships against four French ships (La Borée, La Pauline, Le Lyon and Le Robuste) in October 1809. It took place facing the lagoon of Maguelone, not far from Palavas-les-flots. The battle was led and watched from the coast by General Charles Louis Joseph de Gau de Frégeville.

The 19th century
During the first half of the xix th century, fishermen from the port of Palavas more and more over the years, regularly visit Montpellier distant ten kilometers to sell their fish to Castellanes halls, leaving their indwelling families a village made up of scattered huts and small houses with no place of worship. Worried to see the families of fishermen deprived of religion, Father Soulas had a first church built there with the help of the bishopric. Completed in 1840, it will be consecrated in 1841 under the name of Saint Peter, patron saint of fishermen. Its first priest, who died in 1892), will be Guillaume Alluvain or Aluvain, an Abbot from Montpellier who, from then on, moved to Palavas and officially became its parish priest in 1843.

Continuing his efforts, this same abbot will ask for land from the three neighboring municipalities in order to erect Palavas as a new municipality. This will be effective on January 29, 1850, therefore by dismembering part of the territories of the municipalities of Lattes, Mauguio, Pérols and Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone. It takes the name of “Palavas-les-Flots” onApril 16, 1928. In 1843, fishermen alerted by the sight of a felucca heading towards the mouth of the Lez, alerted the tower- based guard called the Redoubt of Ballestras. This will fire a single cannon shot at the boat. Without being touched, the crew of the felucca, however, preferred to give up their foray. This is apparently the only feat of arms attributable to this work. An anonymous painting visible at the Jean-Aristide Rudel museum retraces this feat of arms.

The fashion of sea bathing from the xix th century attracted local tourists and seasonal activities. In 1872, a train of local interest was put into service which completed to ensure the notoriety of the station; this train was sketched by the designer Albert Dubout. Mosquito control carried out in the 1960s solves this constraint and accelerates the tourist development of the coast.

The 20th century
In the 1920s, Palavas became a “fashionable” seaside resort and attracted a clientele seeking the benefits of the sea. The heliomarin institute of Saint Pierre and the Casino Granier were built during this period.

In order to reinforce the seaside image of the resort, the city takes the name of “Palavas-les-Flots”. April 16, 1928.

Between 1943 and 1944, the “Mediterranean wall”, in German, the Südwall, meaning “southern rampart”, was an extensive system of coastal fortifications, built by the Third Reich during World War II along the coast. of the Mediterranean Sea (from Cerbère to Menton) and intended to prevent an invasion by the Allied Sea. In Palavas, we can still see some remains of ruined fortifications attached to a house near the bridge of the four canals.

The mosquito carried out in the 1960s rule that constraint and further accelerates the tourist coastal development. On September 30, 1968, the journalist Robert Beauvais interviews passengers and residents of the small train of Palavas before the closure of the line of the local railways company of the Hérault department (CFTA).

Since very ancient times, Palavas-les-flots has been the port, via the Lez, a river that crosses the city, then the beach of Montpellier, a very close agglomeration because, only 10.5 km away, by road quick. Served by the little train immortalized by Albert Dubout, the seaside resort was the natural outlet, long before Carnon, La Grande-Motte and Port-Camargue, for a large number of vacationing tourists. Since the creation of the port, the fishermen of Palavas supplied with fish to the citizens of Montpellier who in return, having their holiday homes there, had the church of Palavas built, thanks to a subscription.

The 21th century
In March 2017, the municipality took the decision to temporarily suspend bullfighting activities, mainly for budgetary reasons. At the beginning of April 2018, thousands of “purple jellyfish”, in fact, siphonophores, better known under the name of vélelles came to wash up on the beaches of Palavas-les-flots. This unexplained and extremely rare phenomenon which has spread over the beaches of the Hérault does not present any particular danger for swimmers and other beach users

The mainstay of Palavas’ economy is tourism. It is one of the most popular places in this part of France’s coastline. In the film The Triplets of Belleville (Les Triplettes de Belleville), there is a song about the village. Apart from strolling, bathing and tanning there are also two museums: one dedicated to Albert Dubout and one dedicated to the local train to Montpellier. The 45m high former local water tower can be seen from afar and features a revolving restaurant on top and a congress centre.

With its Mediterranean streets, its markets with scents of the south, the menus of restaurants displaying seaside specialties, Palavas is the image of a typical village of the South, friendly and epicurean where life is good. It is on land, walking through the heart of the village, that we perceive its history. The architecture of the houses is proof of this: narrow on two levels, they have been specially designed to accommodate fishing families.

Historical heritage

Saint-Pierre church
The Parish Catholic Church of Saint-Pierre in Palavas-les-Flots is located in the center of the village, not far from the Mediterranean lighthouse, on the left bank of the canal. This building was built in 1896 thanks to a subscription, to replace the plank church, the first religious building in the village. The church is a neo-Romanesque building and has only one nave and one gallery and it was inaugurated by Cardinal de Cabrières, Bishop of Montpellier, on March 26, 1896. The church has the ashes of the martyr Saint-Florence, the recumbent figure of which can be seen, this one being a polychrome wax reproduction.

Notre-Dame de la route chapel
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Road is located east of Palavas, Carnon towards the square-Paul Bruniquel, she was blessed on 1 st May 1961 by M Tourel. This Catholic religious building was financed by a subscription raised by Abbé Pierre Bruniquel. Threatened with ruin, it was bought at a symbolic price of 1 euro from the diocese, by the municipality of Palavas-les-flots and restored. the building has been mainly transformed into a performance space dedicated to drama, music and lectures, but services are still held in July and August.

Built in the early 1960s, it welcomed the faithful for many years until the day when worship was rarely celebrated there. Important works carried out in recent years have enabled it to be redeveloped into an elegant and intimate cultural space.

Blessed in 1961 by Monsignor Tourel, the “Notre-Dame-de-la-Route” chapel was financed by a subscription raised by Father Paul Bruniquel, parish priest. Of singular architecture, with a pretty sundial on the forecourt, the chapel, of rounded shapes, opens onto a square where a statue stands, a sort of Madonna and Child a little kitsch! The gaze is very quickly on the curious bell tower.

A remarkable restoration that will delight passing actors, Palavasians and other entertainment enthusiasts and, why not, in certain circumstances, the faithful of the little chapel. Notre-Dame-de-la-Route can accommodate up to 200 people.

The space is harmonious, with shimmering stained-glass windows, the lines are sober, fluid, and the stone walls play with light. Everything has been thought out, sorted out, brought up to safety and accessibility standards. Today, it has regained all its brilliance and a double vocation. In summer, mass is said there; in winter, it is dedicated to amateur theater, dance, creation, transmission and live performance in the direction of a plural culture.

Maguelone Cathedra
In 1917, religious and doctors created, on the right bank, the Saint Pierre Institute, directed by the Sisters of Saint Vincent de Paul and intended for children. Currently, this rehabilitation establishment welcomes children from a few months to 18 years in the functional rehabilitation, pediatrics, audiophonology departments. It also has a medical imaging unit, a school applying an adapted and individualized pedagogy intended for children accommodated in hospital part-time.

A cathedral, a jewel of Romanesque art in Languedoc, 4 km from Palavas-Les-Flots and a stone’s throw from the beaches. On a peninsula between sea and pond, the imposing Saint-Pierre de Maguelone cathedral was erected in the 12th century in the purest Romanesque style, known as the “mason’s art”. Today, the estate is home to an establishment providing assistance through work.

The lighthouse of the Mediterranean
Built on the site of the former Ballestras redoubt, the current water tower, 45 m high, built in 1943, whose concrete box has been transformed to become the Lighthouse of the Mediterranean, has hosted for several years the convention center with a panoramic revolving restaurant at the top offering guests a 360 ° view.

The interior of the old water tower, in fact a simple cistern placed on the Ballestras redoubt, was therefore demolished (retaining only the envelope) and the redoubt incarcerated in the building, deposited stone by stone, was rebuilt and restored by the Compagnons du Devoir on the Levant pond, to the west of the Grec pond, at the eastern entrance to the city. This redoubt currently houses the Albert Dubout museum.

This former water tower, rehabilitated and restructured into a multi-purpose complex, opened its doors to the public in 2000. Today’s observer will see in his reconversion the will of the local councilors to preserve this edifice launched to storm the sky, synonymous with the degree of attachment of the Palavasians who grew up at its foot. Two years were enough to transform the heavy concrete mushroom into the elegant “futuristic” building today recognizable from afar.

Take an upward journey, open your eyes wide and get ready to embrace a spectacular panorama. Soar 34 meters high to the panoramic crown. Here you are facing a view worthy of a postcard: at your feet the mosaic of tiled roofs of the heart of the city, then the immensity of the sea, the regular and sandy coast to Sète and Port-Camargue, the hinterland of garrigue, finally the Cévennes as a backdrop. At sunset, the spectacle of the blazing sky is breathtaking and some evenings, your gaze will carry to the Pyrenees. Then, at nightfall, each little light will turn on as if by magic, as it goes.

The September 17, 2019, within the framework of the 34th anniversary of the Marianne d’Or, award of excellence from French municipalities, the Mediterranean lighthouse received the “Marianne d’Or anniversary”, awarded to its mayor, Christian Jeanjean.

The casino
Through his label “City of Water”, Palavas has a casino on the right bank since the end of the xix th century. The building is very close to the city center and the port, facing the beach.

The Grand Casino Granier allows you to participate in many gambling games such as the famous slot machines, English roulette tables, blackjack and card games. A restaurant is also located in the building.

The casino which was famous for its operetta shows currently belongs to the Partouche group which owns other casinos in France.

Monumental sculptures
A monumental group in bronze entitled ” Hope “, composed of five figures, a height of just over 4 meters, was donated by the Angelotti real estate group to the city of Palavas-les-Flots. Installed on a base made up of three steps which leads to a platform of 8 meters side, it is located at the end of the jetty at the end of the port of Palavas, on the left bank of the Lez which flows right there into the the Mediterranean. This set faces the statue of the ” Fisherman of Palavas ” which hangs over it on the other side of the mouth of the Lez. The group was inaugurated onDecember 23, 2014by the mayor of the municipality.

Cultural heritage

Cultural facilities
There is a media library and three museums in Palavas, two of which recall the work of Albert Dubout in the redoubt of Ballestras and the ” little train ” which served the station from 1872 to 1968.

Media library
The Saint-Éxupéry media library, located near the town hall, offers a shelving area of over 300 m 2.

The Albert Dubout museum
In 1991, the redoubt Ballestras former blockhouse built in the xviii th century to monitor the Gulf Coast and stood before the beach front, on the left bank of the Lez was dismantled stone by stone, by the movement of companions duty, then rebuilt on the Ile du Levant located on the Etang du Grec. The Albert Dubout Museum dedicated to the famous designer and painter, in love with Palavas and his little train, was installed there in 1992.

This fort was built in 1743 to protect the coast from pirates. He encouraged the creation of the fishing village which became Palavas in the 19th century. The Redoubt then fell into oblivion, it was beheaded and converted into a water tank then hidden under the tons of concrete from a water tower before being dismantled stone by stone and rebuilt at its current location.

The exhibition rooms, regularly reorganized, present in an illustrated way what the designer Albert Dubout could observe at the time as being the history of the seaside resort: holidays, the steam train, transport, sport, society, in a way that is always comical and caricatured, even grotesque, but without malice.

For several decades, the cartoonist Albert DUBOUT has sketched, under the guise of incisive and caricatured pencils, scenes from the daily life of people of the South and their culture.

The City of Palavas-les-Flots offers a permanent collection and a temporary exhibition renewed each year in the spring in collaboration with the Dubout family. An ode to good humor…

Car and train museum
The Train Museum was created in 1996 and it is contiguous to the Albert Dubout Museum. The visitor can discover there a steam locomotive with one of its wagons, a private collection of old railway lanterns, drawings and illustrations, most of them by Albert Dubout, old photos of the little train of the time where he circulating (1872-1968) and a souvenir shop.

A true witness to the development of our city, the MVT pays homage to the “Little train of Palavas” by welcoming one of the authentic locomotives which transported the locals for nearly a century until the end of the 1960s. and summer visitors between Montpellier and the resort. This vestige of the past, renovated as it was known to thousands of passengers at the time, plunges us into the heart of history. Take the time to carefully observe the wooden interior of the cars, the line of vintage benches, close your eyes and imagine the click of the wheels sliding on the rails and the deafening hum of the steam engines… The moment is unique.

A few steps from the train, a new journey through time with the exhibition of a collection of more than 5,000 mythical vehicles in scale models. In total, 45 showcases give pride of place to the miniature car, presenting old and rare pieces as well as more recent models. Reproductions of prestigious brands like Ferrari, Bugatti, Mercedes or Rolls Royce without forgetting the creations of famous manufacturers like Norev, Medailler Franklin, Dinky Toys will delight young and old, curious visitors and big amateurs…

The museum Heritage Jean Aristide Rudel
Dedicated to the heritage and history of Palavas-les-Flots, this museum is located avenue de l’Évêché de Maguelone.

Painting gallery
There is also the Gustave Courbet gallery which perpetuates the passage of the painter Courbet in the town and whose beach he painted in 1854 during his first stay.

The fishermen’s docks
Over the seasons, cuttlefish, red mullet, sea bream, tuna, sole or whiting follow one another in the stall and on our plates..9 am, the two docks come alive… The boats have just returned to the port and each fisherman present at his stall offers his fresh fish, caught in the night, the fruit of local, artisanal and reasonable fishing.

Events and festivities
Palavas-les-Flots is full of ideas for outings, activities or major events that we invite you to discover throughout the seasons… The queen of the beaches knows how to seduce you with its multiple activities: fireworks, concerts, street shows, festivals, sea urchin, sea festival, children’s workshops… Day and evening, in winter as in summer, to the rhythm of the tide, the festive effervescence of music and shows enchants the resort. Do not hesitate any longer, choose your favorite season to vibrate throughout the year.

Numerous events of local and regional renown, some of which are tourist oriented, are produced each year. Since 2016, the city has had its own festival committee, managed by a local association. This one participates in the animations, in collaboration with the local traders and the municipality. Each year, regional nautical competitions, see inter-regional take place on the beaches of Palavas, concerning sports activities such as sailing, windsurfing, skimboarding or surfing. In summer, with around fifty attractions, a funfair that stretches over the entire school holiday season rubs shoulders with the arenas used for Camargue races. These arenas have hosted, on several occasions, the famous program Intervilles where Palavas will compete for the last time in 2008 in the version of France Televisions.

A cinema room equipped with an air-conditioned room equipped for “3D” called “Le Nautilus” is installed on the seafront, left bank of the Lez, not far from the city center. Outdoor screening sessions can be carried out, in summer, in the Levant Park, or on the beach of the Hôtel de Ville, both spaces located on the left bank of the Lez.

The Oursinade
The Oursinade consists of exposure of seafood, near the pier, the last weekend of March,

The “Féria” of the sea
In the spring, “The feria of the Sea” brings on the beaches and around the Arena, recreation type bodegas and other festive activities and equestrian shows. Until 2017, the “feria” of the sea hosted a bullfighting show organized in its arenas in the city, the latter being a member of the Union of French bullfighting cities. On the occasion of this feria organized during the spring of 2016, many people opposed to bullfighting organized a demonstration at the entrance of the town. In March 2017, the mayor of Palavas decided to suspend bullfighting activities during the next férias, a decision taken, according to this city council, for essentially budgetary reasons. Palavas-les-flots also organizes, on an ad hoc basis, Camargue racing events and nautical joust meetings on the canalized Lez.

The “feast” of the sea
The “feast of the sea”, originally organized in honor of Saint Peter, patron saint of fishermen, to pay homage to the memory of Palavasian fishermen and rescuers who disappeared at sea, has been a hallmark since the 1950s, the start of the summer. A jousting tournament is regularly organized there in the lez canal. On this occasion, the Emile-Guiral trophy is awarded to the winners of this nautical competition. In 2017, the event was celebrated on July 9, involving a number of fun and sporting events called the “Olympiad of the sea”

Air show
Since 2014, several airshows have been organized over Palavas territory and surrounding municipalities, notably carried out by Les voltigeurs from the Hérault aero-club, based in Mauguio. In July 2010, the prestigious Patrouille de France joined forces for the first time in this event, providing an overview of the town with a demonstration of aerobatics.

The well-being of the body and the mind
The Fair wellbeing of body and mind, the 7 th edition in 2017 was held at the beginning of September 2016 (and 2 and 3 September 2017) in the Cosec dining Palavas. Many stands, offering methods of relaxation, Ayurvedic medicine, kinesiology, magnetism are installed on this occasion. Other stands, devoted to the phenomenon of clairvoyance, are also offered as part of this show open to all.

the Autumn Fair
The 21 st edition of the Féria d’Automne will take place from 28 to September 29, 2018 with many shows.

Christmas village
A “Christmas village” is set up during the winter holidays, the city of Palavas-les-flots organizes with the help of traders a Christmas village like the big cities of France, like Strasbourg, Annecy or Dijon. This village presents itself in an original way because it is located by the sea and also hosts a house of Father Christmas, its 32 shopping chalets, a large skating rink, a Ferris Wheel and rides, all in addition to Christmas, a life-size nativity scene and a living farm.

The motor sport show
This exhibition of cars that present competition vehicles motor sports (rally, rally and tour) is usually held towards the end of January (the 11 th edition was held on 1 st and February 2, 2020 in blue room of Palavas).

Other regular activities
During the year, chips are organized every Saturday morning around these same arenas. The night market in Palavas-les-Flots also welcomes tourists and residents, every Friday during the summer period.

There is also a “House of free time”, located rue des Lamparos. It hosts around thirty cultural or sports associations and can organize occasional cultural events.

Since 2016, a “great citizen cleaning of beaches” has been organized on the coast. This initiative, co-organized by Cap Oceans and Aqualove Sauvetage, had its second operation on November 18, 2017.

Natural heritage
The bay of Aigues-Mortes stretches out in a wide, harmonious curve of some 50 kilometers, from Sète to Port-Camargue. The Mediterranean is much more than just a playground, it is home to nearly 20,000 species and unique ecosystems, such as Posidonia meadows. It is therefore our responsibility to protect this exceptional wealth. Facing the Palavasian coast, a marine reserve of around one hundred hectares has been created and marked out, its access is limited in order to allow time for fish to reproduce and seagrass beds to reconstitute. It is a vast complex of shallow water bodies where fresh water and salt water mix. Commonly called “coastal ponds”, these lagoons are fed in turn by sea water under the pressure of swells and sea winds or by fresh water from runoff and floods from coastal rivers.

The Saint-Pierre garden
The Saint-Pierre church is, after the Redoubt of Ballestras, the oldest monument of the station. Its construction dates back to 1896. Between the church and the park, the ferruginous water from the Joan of Arc spring still flows through the fountain, formerly marketed for its therapeutic properties. The Saint-Pierre garden is a haven of freshness. All generations like to meet in this island of greenery.

The Levant Park
18 and a half hectares suitable for relaxation, walking, meditation. Its layout offers a fitness trail and a snack area, a bowling alley and aviaries, games, ponies and a carousel for children…

Palavasian ponds
The lagoon all around the region of Palavas-les-Flots includes seven major lakes, but only the pond Mejean, the pond from the Greek, the pond of Prévost and the pond of Arnel are located on the territory of the municipality. Palavasian ponds and their wetlands have been recognized for their heritage by the Ramsar Convention since 2008.

The beaches
In Palavas-les-Flots, fine sandy beaches, referenced Blue Flag, offer a delicious break to lovers of the sea. Need to put down your towel for a moment disconnection or tempted by a beach volleyball, a jet ride – skiing and diving in the waters of the open sea, to each his own among the eleven beaches spread over both shores of the resort. Here, the scent of the holidays, an iodine flavor with therapeutic virtues. The feet in the water and everything is forgotten, remains the pleasure of the moment!

Seven kilometers long, stretching between Carnon in the east (left bank of the Lez), and Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone in the west (right bank of the Lez), the beaches offer swimming, surfing and surfing activities. beach games in summer, but also a place for walks in winter) and therefore attract a large number of tourists who stay on site thanks to the presence of many hotels, second homes and campsites, or in the towns near Palavas as in the campsites of Lattes and Pérols. This influx has long marked Palavas with an image of popular vacation spot, still very strong today.

Like other seaside towns in the Gulf of Lion, and faced with the demand of tourist customers, beach concessions and catering establishments have appeared on the coastal public space managed by the State, owner of the public maritime domain.

The port
The maritime life of Palavas revolves around two axes:

The port-canal (the Lez):
The fishermen anchor their boats and sell the product of the fishing on the spot (sea and pond).
In addition, a leisure activity, sea travel and nautical attractions Parasailing, Jet ski rental is also present along the quays.
By prolonging the promenade towards the sea, we also discover the Latin sails of the mourres de pouar which are old traditional boats.

The marina:
This marine area offers an offer of 1,100 anchorages, it consists of a marine basin (the largest) in front of the casino and the Paul Riquet river basin upstream along the Lez.

Gastronomic heritage

The “sable-de-camargue”, previously called “vin de pays des sables du Golfe du Lion” is a French wine of protected geographical indication. The wine terroir is located on the edge of the coastal plain of the Camargue and the Petite Camargue and also extends over the lidos of Languedoc between the ponds, lagoons, graus, between the territories of Saintes-Maries de la Mer and Cap d’Agde.

The vineyard extends from the Bouches-du-Rhône and Gard departments to the municipalities of Frontignan, Marseillan, Mauguio, Sète, Vic-la-Gardiole, Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone and of course, Palavas-les-Flots, towns located in the Hérault department.