Just six kilometres south of Montpelier lies Palavas-les-Flots, a seaside town with some very fine seafood restaurants lining the canalised section of the River Lez that runs through the centre of the town just before it enters the sea. This has the effect of splitting the town into two sections, a Left Bank and a Right Bank, the names by which they are known.
See Palavas by Chair Lift- Mari Nicholson
In the centre of the town is the distinctive ‘lighthouse of the Mediterranean’ with its popular revolving restaurant: next to this stands the church of Saint Pierre with its attractive garden. There are few other sights to detain one in this seaside resort – it is a place for relaxation and enjoyment of the watersports and the facilities on hand. What is a charming sight, though, is the canalised section of the town on which the fishing fleet makes a fine picture on a sunny day as they get ready to set sail. And again, on their return, photographers line up to photograph the fishermen who sell the fish directly from the decks of their boats to customers from the nearby flats and even from towns beyond.
The restaurants that line the canal are a magnet for visitors from Montpelier, especially at weekends, and you should be prepared to wait a while for a table and again for the meal to be served once you have chosen a restaurant. The favourite meal is mussels , served n every imaginable style, and always in the traditional big, blue enamel pots beloved of French restaurants. They can be recommended.
Those who enjoy the fun of local markets should visit on the mornings of Monday, Wednesday and Friday when there is a market in the town.
The seafront is a short distance from the town centre and has a wide sandy beach, not what one would call a ‘golden beach’ but nevertheless, sandy and clean. It is seven kilometres long and with this massive stretch of seaside comes all the water-related sports activities you could wish for – kayaking, jet-skis, windsurfing, paragliding, swimming, snorkelling and diving. Most of the equipment can be hired from concessions on and around the beach.
The sprawl of apartment buildings that is a backdrop to the beach either side of the centre is not especially handsome but the little harbour is attractive and from the small concrete pier are some good views of the town and across the bay to La Grande Motte. And as I said, the good stretch of sandy beach is an ideal spot for families and couples to enjoy the facilities on offer.
Just outside Palavas, a short walk away, there are natural ponds that are home to an interesting selection of wildlife. What attracts most people to the area, however, are the flocks of flamingoes that live here and that make a visit to the ponds something rather special.
How to Get to Palavas-les-Flots from Montpelier
By Tram or Bus, but the tram is so quick and fun to ride that I recommend them. Purchase tickets before boarding, multi-lingual ticket machines at each tram stop. A day pass is recommended if you plan to use the tram much. Be sure to validate your ticket in the machines, being found without a valid ticket means an on-the-spot fine of around 30 euros. Not speaking French is not accepted as an excuse.
One-way tickets cost €1.40 round-trip €2.50. A 24-hour bus and tram ticket is €3.80. Line 28 runs to the beach at Palavas les Flots.
The “Navette des Plages” bus runs non-stop to the “Face a la Plage” beach, between Palavas les Flots and La Grande Motte. Bus 131 runs to Palavas-les-Flots.