The Hérault is one of France's favourite destinations because of its many places of interest. One of these is the Bois des Aresquiers, a natural site where you can discover unspoilt nature and original landscapes on a walk. Located in the commune of Vic-la-Gardiole, this wildlife paradise is just 4.7 km from the Altéa campsite in Hérault.
A green setting in the middle of the water
The Bois des Aresquiers is a large protected area in the Hérault department, located between the Etang d'Ingril in Frontignan and the Etang de Vic, 20km from Montpellier. This must-see site in the Occitanie region is just an hour and a half from neighbouring Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
The Bois des Aresquiers attracts visitors with its unique mosaic of landscapes. To the east, near Vic-la-Gardiole, you have the verdant pine forest (holm oaks, kermes oaks, Aleppo pines, maritime pines). To the west, towards Frontignan, you'll find salt meadows and steppes, home to some unique and endangered species (sarsaparilla, glaucous helleborine, Corbières ophrys, dwarf saladelle, etc.).
This 179-hectare reservoir of life is the perfect place for birdwatching in France. Through binoculars, you can admire cuckoos, warblers, storks, pink flamingos and little egrets, to name but a few species that are uncommon in France: little terns, sultana ptarmigan, red-necked grebe, etc.
The Aresquiers woods: a great walk for all the family
The Bois des Aresquiers is a well-known hiking trail in France. You can reach it from Montpellier, in the direction of Saint-Jean-de-Védas (D612). After passing Mireval, take the D114 to Vic-la-Gardiole and the Aresquiers beach.
The 9km walk starts at the edge of the Ingril lake, just opposite the Vic-la-Gardiole lake. You walk along the edge of the pond, then into the forest before emerging into the Frontignan salt marsh. Walk around the salt works before taking another path back to the starting point.
This is an easy route, with a signposted path accessible on foot, by bike and on horseback. You can use a pushchair if you follow the main hiking trail. A word of advice: the date of your holiday in the Hérault should not coincide with the rainy season, to avoid mud and wet areas.
You can complete your walk as far as the Etang de Thau in Frontignan, or even continue on to Mont Saint-Clair. Note that the distance between Aresquiers and Mont Saint-Clair is around 16 km, or a 3? hour walk. A more unusual hike is along the dunes leading to Frontignan, starting from Vic-la-Gardiole.
Farniente, swimming and water sports
The pleasures of water are omnipresent in this southern part of France. At the Vic-la-Gardiole campsite, you can take advantage of the large aquatic area (swimming pool, paddling pool, solarium) where you can enjoy a unique activity: a diving baptism. All you have to do is book a date for your stay near the Bois des Aresquiers.
The water of the ponds invites you to kayak, surf, windsurf, take a boat trip and enjoy other water sports. The Aresquiers beach, a wild beach on this Hérault coastline, is ideal for lazing around. A section of this beach is one of France's naturist beaches. There's also the beach at Angoulême, a hamlet in the Hérault with turquoise waters.
You can take a drive to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. This capital of the Camargue is accessible via the D62, which runs through the Etang de l'Or, the Etang de Ponant and the Etang de Marette. Another route, the A9, passes through Montpellier, before taking the D979 through Saint-Laurent-d'Aigouze.
You can set off in the opposite direction, leading to the seaside resort of Cap d'Agde. The latter is just 45 minutes from the Vic-la-Gardiole campsite and 50 minutes from the Bois des Aresquiers.