La Salvetat and its region

A significant stage of the pilgrims’ Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostela, a vantage point for reaching the Mediterranean Sea and a haven of coolness at a 700 meter elevation, La Salvetat-sur-Agoût is a welcoming medieval town perched in the Herault mountains and very close to the Tarn area.

Your holiday in the heart of rural France

Set in an outstanding natural environment of beech and fir trees and a lake laid out in unspoilt landscape, La Salvetat is also renowned for its naturally sparkling mineral water which, as the phrase goes, ‘ bottles the sun’. These and other assets make La Salvetat a sought-after resort, located in the very centre of the Haut-Languedoc Regional Natural Park.

Stretching over the southern foothills of the Massif Central and harmoniously marking the Mediterranean watershed from green and pastoral mountains to sunny vineyards lined by fields of olive trees, the Park offers an amazing variety of landscapes. Mountains, gorges and plains shaped by wind and water, lakes and rivers, forests, scrubland and vineyards create a natural mosaic which will delight nature-lovers as well as outdoor and sports enthusiasts who can enjoy a variety of land and water-based adventures including hiking, pony-trekking and road or mountain-cycling.

If you are interested in cultural, historical or gastronomic heritage, (including associations with the history and legends of the Cathars), you need look no further than this region, which still awaits discovery by many British and other European visitors.

La Salvetat photo album

Throughout the seasons

Though summer is the best season to enjoy the water-based activities and the numerous cultural events of the area (festivals, themed organized walks, etc.), autumn is also very attractive for walkers, especially given that through September and October, vineyards and chestnut cultivation are celebrated in the towns and villages of Saint-Pons, Olargues, Roquebrun, Berlou, La Caunette…

When cherries are ripe, a visit to Héric gorges is ideal, and when the plateau is covered with snow, cross-country skiing trails are open at Col de Picotalen but the hills between the residence and the lake also offer fantastic sledge runs. In the evening by the fireplace, enjoy cooked meat from the village and a raclette with the Tomme des monts de Lacaune cheese.

Exploring off the beaten path

Whether you’re on foot, a mountain bike or a horse, a multitude of trails and paths will enable you to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area in complete freedom. The paths to escape are numerous and are described in brochures available at the Tourist Office.

  • Hiking with a donkey. The donkey can either carry your bags or a child, which enables you to walk for longer or simply enjoy the beauty of the landscapes without getting too tired.
  • Horse-riding on tracks through the countryside. Several riding schools offer rides for all levels and adapted to what you really want, whether on your own or in groups, for one hour or a whole week.
  • Riding down the mountains at full speed on a mountain-bike. The forests of the Salvetat plateau offer more than 300 kms of trails and 11 loops of every level, open all year long.
  • Hanging from the trees in the high rope courses at the Bouldouïres beach.

Enjoying water-based activities

  • Canoeing, swimming, pedal-boating, water-skiing. The Raviège dam forms a 410 hectare lake where all water-based activities are possible. A beach was recetently laid out at the Gua des Brasses hamlet, 0.5 km away from the site. It is equipped with facilities, a swimming area (monitored), a paddling pool, floating pontoons. The outdoor activities centre at the Bouldouïres beach (2.5 km) provides sailing boat and stand up paddle rentals, swimming area (monitored in July and August).
  • Trout fishing. The numerous rivers of the area where trout and pike abound are sought-after spots for the amateur or seasoned fishing enthusiast. The easily-accessible fishing circuits at the heart of the attractive flowered village of Fraïsse-sur-Agout – and the incredible catches they offer, will delight children. Fishing-licence holders can access the flea fishing circuit. For younger or less experienced anglers, the village fish farm will give you the opportunity of both a great time and a delicious meal. It is located at “pré des Uguettes”.
  • Scrambling in the canyons where the earth has been sculpted by water and wind, cutting through the Caroux and l’Espinousse mountains and forming deep gorges: an ideal environment for climbing enthusiasts

Photo album

Exploring mountains and gorges

  • Visit the natural bridges at Minerve
  • Hike up the Héric gorges
  • Dive into the deep waters of the Devèze caves
  • Become a cave-explorer. The cave at Pont-de-Ratz, 124 meter deep, is one of the biggest caves in Herault
  • Climb up the Caroux and l’Espinousse mountains. The gorges and cliffs cut into the Haut-Languedoc plateau form excellent sites to learn or improve rock-climbing skills.

Discovering local heritage and traditions

  • Visit the Saint-Etienne-de-Cavall Chapel and the 11th century bridge, stroll along the village lanes at La Salvetat (guided tours during peak season).
  • Wandering around and discovering the local heritage and environment. The Environmental Initiatives Permanent Centre (CPIE) schedules walks in the Carroux mountain to watch the famous Mediterranean mouflons (wild sheep). The CPIE also organizes ornithological, mycological and botanical tours as well as heritage-orientated walks and story walks. The Centre arranges theme walks with professional guides, aimed at discovering the Haut-Languedoc landscapes, fauna and flora.
  • Discovering the region’s historical traditions. Several museums within the Park are dedicated to local history, to the agricultural and pastoral life, to handcraft and local produce, to the history and symbolism of the standing stone statues. The Maison de Payrac at Nages displays local produce and offers recreational and educational activities on a farm which has been preserved in its 19th-century form.

Sampling local gourmet produce

  • Within the Haut-Languedoc park, almost 1,500 producers are proud to offer you their varied and famous produce: cooked or salted meats, vegetables, honey, fruit and cheese from fish, cattle and poultry farms. Many produce are “AOC” certified: the recognition of a true identity.
    The farmers’ market at La Salvetat is held on Thursday and Sunday mornings.
  • Touring the vineyards/wineries. The town of Minerve and its outstanding site will both charm you and offer you the opportunity of enjoying its excellent AOC Minervois wines, as well as the famous “muscat” from Saint-Jean-de-Minervois. The vineyards of Roquebrun and Berlou also produce a wide range of AOC Saint-Chinian red and pink wines and Coteaux-du-Languedoc white wines.
  • Foraging around the forest floor. The surroundings of the residence offer delightful surprises to cep and chestnut- pickers. Festivals are dedicated to the chestnut every year in October, at Saint-Pons de Thomières and Olargues. Autumn holidaymakers, don’t forget your baskets, picking is a must- do !

Source: Michelin, “La France Sauvage – Séjours en pleine nature”.
Photo credit © Réseau Touristique MLCPL