As strange as it may sound, I try to avoid going to the beach during the summer months. Too busy and too hot; I prefer going to the river. But with my brother and his family visiting, we simply had to go to one of the Mediterranean beaches. Our go-to beach is in Vendres, next to Port Chichoulet. This chilled-out beach is a little piece of paradise and perfect for spending a few relaxing hours on the coast. Even during the high season!
First, we headed to Valras Plage, as my brother and sister in law have small children. The beach at Valras is perfect for kids because it has some cool playground equipment, and the water level stays low for quite a few meters out into the water. Unfortunately, the beach was simply too crowded; we couldn’t even park our cars! So, I suggested going a bit further south instead, to neighbouring Vendres. We always go to the beach left of Port Chichoulet. With a lifeguard post, this beach isn’t that remote. It even had a green flag flying, which meant that it was safe to go into the water.
Of course, we weren’t alone, but the beach of Port Chichoulet is so wide that we still could see a lot of sand between all the towels. I’m always a bit worried about how busy the beach will be when we try to park the car, which is quite impossible even at Port Chichoulet. However, people tend to sit near the water, and because it only has one beach restaurant/bar, Chichoulet Plage, the beach itself feels rather isolated. I even spotted quite a big fish in the crystal clear water! Ok, I confess, we did arrive towards the end of the afternoon, but still.
The Aude river links Vendres’ marina to the Mediterranean Sea. This means that you’re in the Hérault department if you stay on the left side of the river (facing the sea) and then, when you cross the natural border of the river, you enter the Aude department. The marina isn’t only for pleasure crafts, Vendres also serves as fishing port and shellfish farm. So, no matter which department you’re in, at the port you can always enjoy some fresh, local seafood and shellfish.
The name ‘Chichoulet’ comes from the little bird that nestles on these lands along the Mediterranean coastline. The port and the beach have been awarded a Blue Flag, a European award for cleanliness and safety. The port is also the starting point of a little 5.5 kilometres walk through the dunes of Vendres. Here, you might even spot the Chichoulet in real life. In the end, we had such a great time at the beach, and I wondered why we don’t go more often. Even in summer, or any time of the year, really!