When planning a holiday, it’s almost impossible to choose a place that suits everybody. Perhaps you like to be active and do sports, whilst someone else prefers to visit museums and immerse themself in culture, or work on their tan and relax on the beach with a book. La Grande Motte in southern France provides a solution to this conflict. We’ll show you how in the Tours in this Collection.
La Grande Motte is a young town that was established in the 1960s from almost nothing. The area was once a barren swampland with a few sand dunes and practically no economic activity. The town which you see today was the brainchild of architect Jean Balladur who designed it together with his students. His utopian vision has created a place which is more than just a town, but a work of art. You can read more about the cultural development of the area whilst relaxing on the beach.
La Grande Motte’s surroundings are just as impressive as the town itself. The lagoon-like landscapes are home to diverse flora and fauna and wildlife. You can explore the inland waters, known as "étangs", headlands, and peninsulas via a network of cycling and hiking trails which lead through the wild-life rich protected habitats.
As well as fantastic nature, the region has a far-reaching history that stretches back to the Middle Ages and even earlier. You can learn about this rich past at the typical southern French towns and villages close to La Grande Motte.
In this Collection, you will find 10 circular cycle routes ranging from leisurely afternoon city rides to challenging 37-mile (60-km) adventures to the city of Montpellier, which enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year. We’ve included some half-day Tours to wild beaches and romantic villages, too. The routes are almost entirely flat so the longer Tours are very manageable provided you give yourself enough time. Bear in mind that the surfaces can be a bit bumpy in places, but this shouldn’t be a problem on a standard touring bike.
All of the routes start and end in La Grande Motte, so it’s worth using the town as your basecamp. There’s plenty of accommodation available in the area. For your rides, make sure you bring enough water and sun protection as it can get very hot in the south of France. Although you will find numerous opportunities to familiarise yourself with southern French cuisine in the quaint villages en route, it’s worth taking a few emergency snacks with you. Don’t forget that most restaurants in France are closed during the afternoon from around 2 or 3pm to 6 or 7pm.
We recommend driving to La Grande Motte in your own car as there’s no train station. The only way to travel to the town with public transport is via Montpellier. There are buses to La Grande Motte from Montpellier, but from our experience, they don’t allow you to travel with your bike. Holiday accommodation in La Grande Motte usually includes car parking.
The second, somewhat longer tour within La Grande Motte takes you through the western “Quartier du Levant”. Fittingly, you start at “Point Zéro”, the zero point of La Grande Motte. Everything started here a little more than 50 years ago with the laying of the foundation stone of the city, apart from that the place is exactly at sea level.The path first leads you north through the shady “Promenade des Vents” before turning west into the city center. Again and again you will encounter those strict and straightforward building shapes that are so typical of this district.You leave the city center behind and take a detour to the residential areas north of Avenue Maréchal Leclerc. At the far end of La Grande Motte, turn into the restricted traffic area within the local golf course. A bicycle helmet would also be advisable here, as a flying golf ball could occasionally cross your path.
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This easy to moderate tour takes you to the neighboring town of Le Grau du Roi. It is located a few kilometers southeast of La Grande Motte and offers great attractions, such as the Seaquarium, where you can admire the local underwater world without diving goggles. If you are curious and would like to explore this magical world yourself, you can get in touch with it a little further south on the Plage de l'Espiguette.This bike excursion is particularly suitable for families with children who are already a bit bike-tested and have mastered smaller tours. Since the terrain is completely flat, the almost 30 kilometers fly by. France's streets can be tricky in places - especially for children. Most of the time, the route leads along cycle paths or nature trails, but a little experience in road traffic is still advisable.
This somewhat more demanding tour takes you over 50 kilometers to the northern regions of La Grande Motte and across the plains and fields along the department border back to your starting point. It's best to plan a whole day for it. You visit the pretty town of Lunel and go to the archaeological site "Ambrussum" on a journey into a historical era before our era.You start in La Grande Motte at the "Point Zéro" and drive for a short distance on the busy feeder road to the "Canal du Rhône à Sète". At the eastern end of the "Etang de l'Or" you branch off from it to the "Canal de Lunel", which leads you to the center of the southern French town of Lunel. Here you can put together your own cultural day program between the museum, botanical garden and a mysterious old prison tower and strengthen yourself for the onward journey.
This challenging day tour takes you to the southwest of La Grande Motte. In addition to Palavas-les-Flots and Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone, you will also visit the small town of Vic-la-Gardiole on the “Étang de Vic” on this tour and thus all five large salt lakes between La Grande Motte and Frontignan. If you want, you can combine this large round with the other smaller tours that lead in the same direction.You start again at the western end of La Grande Motte and turn off at Palavas-les-Flots between the salt lakes towards Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone. The route now leads you to the "Etang de Vic", where you can explore the landscape around the salt pans of Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone. Afterwards you can have a nice lunch break in Vic-la-Gardiole and get new energy for the rest of the day in one of the restaurants in the center.
This demanding tour takes you far into the eastern cliffs behind La Grande Motte. Incidentally, it can be excellently combined with the tour to Aigues-Mortes, since you drive roughly the same route. With its almost 70 kilometers, the tour is challenging, but with enough time in the back it is quite feasible because the terrain is flat throughout. If you are unsure whether the entire distance is too long for you with a normal bike or if you want to combine the tour with that to Aigues-Mortes, consider whether you should not rent an e-bike - so you have the time definitely on your side.You start at "Point Zéro" and drive via Le Grau-du-Roi to Aigues-Mortes. The tour now continues eastwards, through wineries, fields and pastures. You make a small detour to the "Domaine de Sylvéréal", a larger farm that also offers guided tours. You can also taste delicious, regional products here.