12 must-see things to do in the Haut-Languedoc Natural Park

Rivière dans le Haut-Languedoc

Would you like to visit the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc? Discover the 12 must-see things to do in this exceptional regional park!

Created in 1973, the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Languedoc is one of France’s 53 regional nature parks. A visit to the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc is a must. It is nationally recognized for its exceptional heritage and landscape values. This inhabited rural territory straddles the departments of Tarn and Hérault, in theOccitanie region.

A destination for nature and sustainable tourism, this exceptional park offers a wide range of activities for visitors. Between the Lacaune mountains, the Orb valley, the Montagne Noire or the villages of Saint-Chinian or Bédarieux, you can discover magnificent cultural sites or enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities! So what’s there to do in the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc? Here’s the answer with our 12 must-sees.

1. Les Gorges d’Héric

Vue sur les Gorges d'Héric

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Veillon

Located near Mons-La-Trivalle in the Hérault department, these spectacular gorges were carved out by the Héric river in the Caroux-Espinouse massif. Whether you’re a hiker, a climber or simply a lover of magnificent scenery, this is the place for you.

You can go for a walk, climb a few rocks or go for a swim in summer. Please note that swimming is not supervised! You can also visit the charming hamlet of Héric, with its small stone houses with slate roofs, typical of the region. These gorges are one of the most remarkable places to visit in the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc.

2. The village of Olargues

Le village d'Olargues et sa rivière dans le Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc

Photo credit: Shutterstock – PAUL ATKINSON

If you’re visiting the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc, this village, one of the prettiest in the country, is a must on your itinerary. Picturesque, Olargues is an ancient fortified hilltop village set against the backdrop of the Caroux massif.

Situated on a rocky knoll, its summit is home to an old medieval castle that has been converted into a bell tower. From here, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the region!

3. The Saint-Ferréol Basin

Le Bassin de Saint Ferreol

Photo credit: Flickr – jcatt2705

Located in the Montagne Noire, this dam lake is partly in the commune of Saint-Ferréol. It is the main water supply reservoir for the Canal du Midi. This large basin is an ideal summer spot for swimming and water sports, such as windsurfing and paddle-boarding.

There’s also a museum, built close to the dam, where you can learn more about the history of the construction of the Canal du Midi.

4. Roquebrun

Visiter le Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc : Vue aérienne sur le village méditerranéen de Roquebrun

Photo credit: Shutterstock – sbedaux

Roquebrun is another must-visit village in the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc. Its exceptional microclimate is conducive to the development of magnificent Mediterranean gardens. You’ll find orange, lemon and other citrus trees bursting with fruit, even in the dead of winter!

Charming and picturesque, the village is also known for its historical and architectural heritage. You’ll be able to admire its authentic cottages, as well as the river Orb and the bridge that has spanned it since 1870. Roquebrun is also the ideal starting point for discovering the park or for white-water activities such as canoeing and kayaking.

5. Les Gorges de Colombières

Les Gorges de Colombières, Haut-Languedoc

Photo credit: Facebook – Le Caroux

The Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc, with its many rivers and streams, has no shortage of spectacular gorges! The Gorges de Colombières are one of the most beautiful and unmissable.

Located in the north-west of the Hérault department, they offer a varied and much wilder landscape than the Gorges d’Héric. There’s plenty of hiking to be done here. Along the way, you’ll admire some superb waterfalls. If you’re visiting the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc, don’t miss this natural gem of the region!

6. Lac de Vesoles

Lac de Vensoles dans le Par Naturel du Haut-Languedoc

Photo credit: Flickr – clémence bic

Located in the north-west of the Hérault department, this lake is also one of the must-sees in the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc. It’s renowned for its wild beauty and incredible panoramas. The surrounding forest, heather and moorland are reflected in the lake’s deep blue waters.

This peaceful, harmonious landscape is already worth the detour! Further on, from the dam, a path through the rocks takes you to Saut de Vesoles. From here, you can enjoy breathtaking views over the Jaur valley! The stream that flows into the void, and the lush surrounding mountains, present a breathtaking backdrop.

7. Gorges de La Cesse

Visiter les Gorges de La Cesse dans le Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Carlos Bruzos Valin

In the Causses, you can discover one of the must-see places in the Haut-Languedoc Natural Park. Shaped by the waters, the limestone plateau and gorges here present incredible karstic scenery and relief, typical of the region.

Water infiltrates and circulates underground, before rising again through caves, faults and streams. The region is also home to the impressive Ponts naturels de Minerve, emblematic monuments of the Natural Park. These wonders are all waiting to be discovered on delightful, sporty hikes!

8. The Cathar city of Minerve

La cité cathare de Minerve

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Mikhail Yuryev

Minerve, neighbor to the Gorges de la Cesse, is a sublime village. The historic capital of the Minervois region, the town stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Gorges de la Cesse and du Brian. Preserved, picturesque and charming, Minerve’s walls and alleyways are a reminder of the Cathar era.

You can visit its ramparts, barbican, medieval church and viaduct bridge. This Cathar town is an ideal starting point for exploring the Gorges de La Cesse. Don’t miss it if you’re visiting the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc!

9. Table d’Orientation du Caroux

Visiter le Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc : Panorama depuis le Mont Caroux

Photo credit: Shutterstock – damien calmel

Mont Caroux is famous for its spectacular views. Comprising a plateau culminating at 1,091 m, it is bounded to the west by the Héric gorges, to the east by the Colombières gorges and to the south by the Orb valley.

Nestled in the center of the Park, the mountain is home to an unmissable viewpoint: the Table d’orientation du Caroux. From here, you can enjoy an exceptional view of the Hérault plain, the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees!

10. Mauroul waterfalls hike

Vue sur le village de Mauroul

Photo credit: Flickr – Nick Ayres

For a peaceful family hike, take a trip to the Mauroul waterfalls, another must-see in the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc. This pleasant trail starts in the hamlet of the same name. Along the way, you’ll discover four beautiful waterfalls and a ferruginous spring.

This refreshing hike will also allow you to admire the superb « Marmite du Sanglier ». Some twelve meters high, its damp walls are covered with lush vegetation, creating an enchanting backdrop!

11. La Fileuse de Verre cave

Les Grotte de la Devèze, Haut-Languedoc

Photo credit : flickr – REGIS GLOBETROTTER

The Devèze cave, nicknamed the Palais de la Fileuse de verre, is located in Courniou in the Hérault department. If you’re visiting the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc, you won’t want to miss this unique site.

Water has sculpted superb stalactites, stalagmites and aragonite flowers in this grotto. Its nickname derives from the beauty, finesse and variety of forms it shelters. The site is also home to the world’s first museum of speleology, another must-see.

12. The vineyards of the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc

Grappe de raisin des vignobles du Haut-Languedoc

Photo credit: Shutterstock – barmalini

Located in the heart of the Occitanie region, the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc is home to many vineyards. So make the most of your visit to discover the local wines! Whether you like red, white or rosé wines, you’re bound to find something to your liking along the way.

For powerful reds, typical of the Languedoc region, try the AOP appellations of Minervois or Saint-Chinian. For white wines, turn to the upper Orb valley, between Prémian and Colombières. As you taste our wines, you’ll discover exceptional terroirs, passionate producers and a wild, mountainous backdrop.

How to get to the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc?

The Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc is accessible by car, bus, train or plane. So you’ll have no trouble getting there.

  • By plane, you can land atMontpellier Airport or Toulouse-Blagnac International Airport. To help you find the best flight, you can use a flight comparator.
  • Take the bus to Béziers from Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille or Montpellier. Once there, you can use the Hérault Transport bus network to visit the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc.
  • By car, from Toulouse, take the N126 towards Castres, Mazamet and Saint-Pons-de-Thomières. From Montpellier, follow the A9 freeway towards Barcelona, then take exit 36 for Castres-Mazamet. From Clermont-Ferrand, take the A75 towards Montpellier-Béziers, then exit at Castres-Mazamet.
  • You can also take the train from Toulouse to Gare de Castres or from all over France to Gare de Béziers.

Where to stay in the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc?

If you’re planning a visit to the Parc Naturel du Haut-Languedoc, you’re bound to wonder which town to stay in. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of options. You can opt for the beautiful medieval village of Olargues, the nearby town of Castres or any other village in the park.

When it comes to accommodation, you can choose between a hotel room or a bed and breakfast. Use a hotel comparator to find the one that suits you best. For more atypical or personal accommodation, you can also opt for an Airbnb apartment.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Occitanie, France