Lounging around the pool with your friends at your luxury chateau in Languedoc is all well and good, but even serious R&R can get boring after a little while. Make sure you and your group have something to look forward to by checking out our suggestions for fantastic activities and day trips you can get up to in the region, whether you want to challenge yourselves a bit more or keep on with that chilled-out vibe, there’s something to appeal to every taste with our pick of the best things to do in Languedoc.
1. Cycle along the canal with Relax Bike Tours
A self-guided bike tour along the Canal du Midi works well with a group: the relatively flat towpath means you don’t need Bradley Wiggins-style quads to ride, the overhanging trees provide shade from the hot sun and the peaceful environment seems to encourage a slow, easy pace of travel. With pale green water and borders of orderly trees, the canal path is lovely to look at too. Relax Bike Tours can deliver and collect the bikes from anywhere between Toulouse and Sète, so you can ditch them at a destination of your choosing and get a taxi back to the villa instead if needs be. Stock up on calorie-heavy French goodies, like croissants, cheese and baguettes to ensure you don’t fall famished by the canal-side.
Book: firstname.lastname@example.org / Call (+33) 06 38 12 32 82
Location: 70 Allees Paul Riquet, 34500 Beziers, France
2. Cruise the canal with La Compagnie des Bateaux du Midi
Embarking on a cruise along the Canal du Midi may be the lazy man’s (or woman’s) choice for exploring, but taking the easy option while on holiday is just fine by us. La Compagnie des Les Bateaux du Midi can facilitate a low-effort day trip for you and your friends. Set off on a cruise from Béziers and stay parked in place on the deck as the boat drifts past some of the UNESCO-listed waterways must-see sights, including the picturesque Orb Aqueduct and the Malpas Tunnel, an excavated tunnel that allows the canal to pass through a hill. You won’t have to lift a finger at lunch either; a meal will be served on board as you drift down the waterway.
Book: Call 04 67 36 51 24 or email email@example.com
Location: 14 rue des Ecluses 34500 Beziers France
3. Go underground at Grotte de la Salamandre
Up until 2012, this gigantic underground cave – about the size of a football stadium – was inaccessible to the public. That is, until the powers that be had tunnels drilled, allowing visitors to enter on foot. Once you get inside the main chamber, you’ll realize just how indebted we are to those excavators. Inside is a staggering collection of stalactites, stalagmites and glittering crystals, all lit up with atmospheric lights that emphasise the unusual textures and shapes. Feeling brave? Round up the most daring among your friends and family for the ultimate show-stopping entrance to the cave. You can abseil down the natural entrance alongside your nearest and dearest – your feet dangling over the cavernous chamber below.
Book: No need to book just turn up!
Location: 30430 Méjannes-le-Clap, France
4. Stroll through La Bambouseraie
It’s difficult to do La Bambouseraie justice with words; suffice to say that walking through these bamboo gardens is a visual thrill. You won’t be able to resist snapping photos of the long, straight stalks, which cast snippets of graphic, striped light-and-shadow patterns onto their surrounds. Bamboo aside, the rest of the grounds – among them an outstanding Japanese Garden and a fascinating bamboo-built Laotian village – are equally attractive. Pack picnic provisions for the group and make a day out of a visit here. During mid-week and shoulder season, visitor numbers fall and La Bambouseraie is pure bliss.
Book: Online at www.bambouseraie.com
Location: 552 rue de Montsauve, 30140 Générargues – France
5. Ride in a 4×4 with Camargue Autrement
Would-be cowboys among your group will love this 4×4 safari excursion, which brings passengers into the wilds of the Camargue delta, an area hyped as France’s ‘Wild West’. Contrasting with the striking Pyrenees peaks, the Camargue is an altogether flatter pastiche made up of red salt lagoons, rice paddies and reed-choked marshes. Wildlife is the main reason for coming here. Photogenic flocks of brilliantly pink flamingos gather in Camargue to feed, while herds of still semi-wild white horses and distinctive black-horned bulls (raised to be fighting bulls) also roam the region.
Book: Online at www.camargue-autrement.com
Location: Port Royal, 30240 Le-Grau-du-Roi
6. Sail the seas with Navivolie
Rally together your crew and hoist the sails for an adventure on the high seas. On a tour with Navivoile, you’ll travel by catamaran from Canet port down south along the astoundingly beautiful coast to the idyllic bay of Paulilles. Kick back and relax en route as you take in the stunning coastal views. Stop for a spot of swimming and make use of the snorkelling masks kept on board the vessel. On-board lunch is a fresh and tasty affair with the likes of sausages, shrimp and salad as well as sangria to put a stop to those post-swimming hunger pangs.
Book: Call + 33 (0) 6 23 20 69 76
Location: 159, Rue Berthelot, 11210
7. Traverse the Tarn with Canoe Blanc
The Tarn River Gorge may just be one of the most spectacular places in the South of France. Rising up from the gorge’s deep corridor of crystalline water are seriously steep rock walls that reach heights of up to 500 metres. Several pretty villages and towns, some of which appear to tumble down the cliff edges, are interspersed along the river’s banks. You can drive along the gorge, but with views like these, keeping your eyes fixed on the twisting hairpin roads is all but impossible. We think it’s better to rent a canoe from Canoe Blanc instead and travel by river, stopping wherever and whenever you want to swim, eat or just gawp at the extraordinary views.
Book: Call 04 66 48 51 14
Location 48210 La Malène, France
Tempted by one of our fantastic villas so you can indulge in these exciting activities? Our helpful and friendly concierge team is on hand to answer any questions and make sure you’ve got the accommodation to suit you. Need a bit more inspiration? Check out our blogs on the best day trips for grown-ups in the South of France and our 10 best luxury villas in Languedoc.