After running down the Cévennes through the Séranne mountains, the Hérault River has sculpted untamed gorges which are a sight for sore eyes from the Pont du Diable. The "Devil's Bridge" is the oldest Roman bridge in France and rumoured to be heavily weighed down. Walk over the bridge then cross the new Passerelle des Anges (Angel's Bridge) designed by the architect Rudy Ricciotti, for unobstructed views.
Both the educational trail and the Maison du Grand Site will teach you more about this protected site and its inhabitants from the otters to the Corsican pine trees.
Head to the Hérault Bastides and Gorges, #GrandSiteOccitanie, with history, nature, sport, heritage, there is something for everyone! Highline world champion Salomé tells us her top tips.
Park at the Pont du Diable car park. Free shuttle buses take you to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Clamouse Cave and Saint-Jean-de-Fos in high season.
Admire every stone in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, listed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France and a major stage on the Arles trail. The village's pretty lanes unfurl along the Verdus: Roman arches, Renaissance lintels, fountains, Saint-Laurent Church, ruins torn from the Château du Géant, a little square shaded by a 100 year old plane tree...
Your heart will soar when you see Gellone Abbey, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of the Santiago de Compostela routes. Visit the pre-Roman crypt and its ultra-modern museum.
Come in September and treat your ears to timeless music concerts as part of the Amis de Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert's musical season.
Saint-Jean-de-Fos is keeping a 600 year old ceramic tradition alive in the heart of the Hérault Valley. Wander through this lovely medieval village whose houses are decorated with glazed pottery. Visit the workshops and be sure not to miss the huge pottery market here in August.
You can even make your very own masterpiece at Argileum: this interactive museum tells the story of local potters in a real 19th century studio.
Experience the "Languedoc Cœur d’Hérault" destination (approved by Vignobles et Découvertes) with a stop at the wine centre at the Maison du Grand Site. Wash down a few AOC Lucques du Languedoc olives with AOC Terrasses du Larzac, IGP St-Guilhem-le-Désert or IGP Vicomté d’Aumelas wine.
Head straight for Saint-Étienne d’Issensac Chapel: it oozes romance from its presbytery, Gothic bridge and grounds overlooking the Hérault!
Aniane is home to an abbey and its grounds designed by the artist Kinya Maruyama, penitents chapel and astronomy observatory. Gignac houses Notre-Dame de Grâce Church and its staggering way of the cross. Pick the road up at Castellas de Montpeyroux, a fortified 13th century structure.
Don't miss the medieval circulade in Puéchabon, Roman church in Saint-Martin-de-Londres or megaliths in Causse-de-la-Selle. Or the fascinating medieval town of Brissac!
Take the family on an unforgettable adventure to Spéléopark at Clamouse Cave surrounded by aragonite crystals and sparkling organ-shaped shards.
Try canyoning or tubing, catch trout and pike or take a dip at the Pont du Diable's lifeguarded beach. The Cœur d'Hérault by bike's loops and bike Hérault Valley FFC mountain bike area's paths are yours for the taking. Whether you're a novice or expert, climb one of the 70 canyon routes from Joncas to Montpeyroux.
Hike among the vineyards and olive orchards or on the sporty trails on Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert's peaks: the Fenestrettes (10km/3 hr) trail gives you sweeping views of the Cirque de l’Infernet and Gellone Valley.
Well worth the visit
The Ravin des Arcs is a canyon dug out by the Lamalou, a tribtuary of the Hérault. A 3 hr walk will introduce you to its rimstones, giant cauldrons and rocky arches which Bonelli's eagle soars over.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Gorges de l’Hérault are 30 mins from Montpellier and 2.5 hrs from Toulouse, Marseille and Lyon.
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