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The Hérault (department number 34) is located in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon and has an estimated population of 896,441 (census in 1999). Situated in south-east of France, the department is very diverse with beaches, mountains and agricultural land between the two.
The department is named after the Hérault river. The other main rivers are the Aude, Orb and Vidourle and the picturesque Canal du Midi also runs through the department.
The capital of the department is the city of Montpellier. Other major towns include Béziers and Lodève.
Why you should visit Hérault for your next holiday in France
The Hérault offers something for everyone due to the diversity of its terrain and geography, with mountains in the north, the Mediterranean and beaches in the south and agricultural land in between, some of which is given over to olive tree plantations and vineyards.
Part of Cap d'Agde, the best beach area, is a major nudist resort where nudity is technically mandatory.
What to see in Hérault
Montpellier has not yet really been discovered by tourists from outside of France. With broad boulevards lined with shady plane trees and a very large pedestrian, car-free central square, it is an easy city to move around with plenty of shops, restaurants, parks and area with beautiful views. As a university city it has a lively atmosphere
Béziers is probably known for two things in particular, wine and bullfighting. Béziers is elevated and overlooks the great plain of the Hérault. Once a year there is a four day festival celebrating both the wine and the bullfighting. Béziers is well located for visiting the mountain region of lovely picturesque stone villages and mountain streams.
The old town is bordered on three sides by the river Orb and a canal. As Béziers is not included in many tours it is not advertised as a tourist attraction so is generally a peaceful place to stay.
Lying north-west of Montpellier, Lodève is probably best known for its cathedral, parts of which date from the 6th century. The Lergue river runs through it and it is only 8km from the man made lake Salagou which is the perfect place for a summer swim and also offers dingy sailing and windsurfing - walkers, fishermen and cyclists are also catered for.
Roquebrun has an excellent location on the banks of the river Orb with the mountains rising behind. There is a gentle weir with a lovely bridge which crosses the river here. People swim here in summer and there are lovely outdoor cafes and restaurants.
How to get to Hérault
Holiday accommodation in the Hérault is well serviced by air and road. As the department is so diverse with many different areas to explore, it is advisable to have a car if you wish to explore.
Hérault is served by two airports, the main international airport in Montpellier and a smaller one in Béziers, mainly for domestic flights but now opening up to some international flights.
Well served by the E15, E80 (A9) and the E11 (A75).
The TGV rail system runs to Montpellier.