Walking and Hiking
The breathtaking views of the Haut Languedoc are best appreciated on foot, on mountain bike or on horseback; you simply cannot drive to the best and more remote parts, but who would want to, anyway, when there's all that nature and space just waiting for you to come and explore it?
If you are more of a day tripper when it comes to walking in the hills, then we recommend you follow any one of the hundreds of trails that have been marked out and signed ('balisage'). You can find these on the internet or if your preference is the printed word then local bookstores and even the big supermarkets will have walking guides for sale. The guides will help you choose the right level and distance for your group and paths tend to be quite well signed. Indeed, for the kids, the best bit is running ahead to spot the next arrow or cross which tells you where to go. One of our favourite walks is from the Cercle de Mourèze near Clermont Hérault. The Cercle is a formation of dolomites that poke up out of the surrounding garrigue and guard the path up what - from the bottom of the hill - looks an almost vertical climb. Fear not, however, it's steep in some parts but not half as steep as it looked from the bottom. Climb to the top and you will be rewarded by a fantastic view across Lake Salagou. The colours are amazing - green garrigue, white limestone, blue water and red hills. And the best thing is after a long, hot climb you'll find a lovely breeze blowing across the top of the escarpment to cool you down. Take a picnic and a kite and you'll have the best day out.
If your idea of walking is something a bit more demanding then don't forget that parts of the famous St Jacques de Compostelle route pass through the Haut Languedoc. The main trail is to the south but there are 'bretelles' - feeder trails - in the National Park. Those who have dedicated several weeks or even months to doing the whole trail may be doing it on horseback or with an accompanying donkey. Watch out for these hardy types - they'll be able to give you lots of suggestions about other routes to follow. A good point to start is from the Abbey de Fontcaude just outside Cazouls-les-Béziers. There is a sign that tells you it is only another 1400km to Compostella in Spain, so get walking!