The Vignes et Vallees
Between sea and mountains
The valleys in the Hérault, who has given their name to the department; arises at the source on the mountain Aigoual between the Cévennes. The valleys crosses a complete range splendid and diversified landscapes. Beginning at the solid rocks who are totaly covert with oak trees, further the valley will crosses protected vintages and olive-trees afterwards you will find the garrigues and meet the mediteranee sea. The valley has sometimes very narrow picturesque rock formations. In alternation with complete larger and smaller impressive passages. In the Hérault many tourists enjoy the savage and preserved nature by sunbathing or canoeing or kayaking. During the excursion on the river you must certainly do not forget to visit to the picturesque villages.
Minerve start in wildly garrigues of Pardailhan, a panorama on the large plain of the Languedoc, which will extend vintages of St. Chinian. Narrow lanes, shadowed town squares will delight the visitor who discoverd these preserved villages, Olargues, Vieussan and Roquebrun, the most beautiful villages of the mediteranee and the park.
Situated between the Mediterranean Sea and a mountain ridge, Saint-Chinian is nestling in the green valley of the Vernazobres. In the south, this valley is dominated by a chain of rocks; in the north by the Cevennes foothills. Entering the valley via the Fontjun pass, you will be amazed by the panoramic view: the mountains of la Grage and the headlands of the Caroux.
Saint-Chinian, provincial capital, used to be an industrial village. It was founded in the year 780 by religious people who ensured the prosperity of the village by reclaiming the valley of the Vernazobres and cultivating vineyards. Saint-Chinian represented the market of the Haut-Pays (high lands), where the shepherds brought the wool of their sheeps, which was spun in factories that now have disappeared.
The quality of its microclimate and the diversity of its territory have made it possible for Saint-Chinian to develop a range of famous A.O.C. wines. In the north, the vineyards are clinging to the schists which they disputed the forests and the wild boars, producing rich and fruity wines. In the south, they stretch out on argilla-calcareaous soil and a mosaic of small territories, offering characteristic wines of good body.
Sightseeing and activities
Wonderful walks will take you to the chapel of the Notre Dame of Nazareth, situated on the Corne rocks in Pierre-Morte and in the valley of the Malibert. During your walks you may admire the Capitelles, stone shelters who used to harbour shepherds. You will also appreciate the beauty of the organ of the 18th century, which has been classified a historical monument, as well as the many recitals given during summer.
In addition to walking, you can make horse-rides or poney-rides, play tennis or boule, go fishing, or enjoy the various mountain bike tracks. The semi-olympic, heated swimming pool is open 7 days a week as from the 1st of June and contains water of 27 degrees Celsius.
Source: leguide montpellier.com