If you’re up for getting some fresh air in the area of Montpellier, I suggest heading to La Maison de la Nature in Lattes. This ‘House of Nature’ is a good starting point for several easy walks in the protected natural site around the Méjean lagoon. Beautiful landscapes and a rich array of biodiversity will accompany you along your way.
Étang de Méjean
When visiting the Maison de la Nature, keep in mind that you have to park your car at the designated parking lot. This is 600 meters from the actual starting point, so remember to add 1.2 kilometres to the hike of your choice. There are several options, from a 2.5 kilometres discovery trail to a hike around the entire Étang de Méjean in 15 kilometres. You can even take your bike or horse, as the site at the lagoon is also connected to Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone and its cathedral, Palavas-les-Flots, Carnon and Pérols.
I started with the short discovery trail, called the ‘Sentier Grains de Méjean’. So, walking the extra bit from the parking lot to the Maison de la Nature didn’t bother me at all. This trail is also accessible for wheelchairs (who can park closer to the Maison de la Nature) and the visually impaired. You can even download an app on your smartphone that explains the trail in sign language.
After taking a look at the observatory post, I hopped on the boardwalk, which covers most of the 2.5 kilometres of the Sentier Grains de Méjean. One tip, the path closes (in that they actually lock the gate) in the evenings and on Mondays. So before you go, make sure that it is still open by the time you get back, as it is a circular walk that takes about 1.5 hours to complete. The opening hours are clearly visible at the site.
Through a mosaic of landscapes, I walked from the typical coastal wetlands to the Étang de Méjean. Loads of flamingos enjoyed the sun, however, they were too far out to take a good picture of them. Same for the five storks that majestically circled over my head. I did manage to capture a couple of Camargue horses, though. And, if you look closely, you can even spot the white egret sitting on one’s back. From the lagoon, I continued the walk on an ordinary path, to be followed by boardwalks again. These wooden footpaths brought me back to the start of the trail. While the serene lagoons, with waving reeds along the sides, kept me in a zen state of mind for a little while longer.