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La Grande Motte - sun, sea and fun

There is nowhere better than La Grande Motte if it is sun, sea and fun that you seek. This town is a purpose-built resort which is located on the Mediterranean coast in the south of France, between the great cities of Marseille and Montpellier. It is often referred to as the principal town of the New Riviera, so jet set is it in feel and style. Its stunningly designed modern buildings soar into the bright skies and sparkle in the sunshine, inviting shoppers to seek out the poshest designer boutiques, while its smart marina and safe sandy beaches make a perfect haven for families, water sports fans and sun worshippers alike.

That Riviera feeling!

OK, it isn't actually on the Riviera... in truth that lies a little to the east along the coast, but La Grande Motte really does encapsulate that Riviera feeling. Stylish in the extreme, it offers all the benefits of the Riviera, with great shopping, dining, sports and sunshine. It lacks for nothing, as long as you aren't hoping to find history, crumbling old town walls and quiet shady squares, as for that you need to look a little further... well, just up the road anyway, where there are plenty of old towns and villages answering this description. La Grande Motte is an altogether more modern beast, but definitely one of the best of its kind.

Stunning architecture

La Grande Motte is renowned for its stunning modern architecture, especially its pyramid buildings designed by Jean Balladur who took his inspiration from the glorious pyramids of Mexico. The most outstanding building of all is the Grande Pyramide, a sixteen story giant that dominates the blue Mediterranean skies that sit shimmering above La Grande Motte. The resort was constructed in the mid 1960s and was intended to be an alternative to the Spanish resorts and also to attract new tourism to southern France. In these aims it has been extremely successful, and is indeed deserving of the title of the New Riviera.

Sports and leisure

The superb beaches and the state of the art marina speak for themselves in terms of the sporting opportunities offered by La Grande Motte. All the fun of the Med is here, from sunbathing and building sandcastles to yacht racing and jet skiing. Then if you happen to want a change or a new challenge, how about horse-riding, golf, tennis, hiking, cycling, go-karting and trampolining?

Wine tasting on offer

If all this activity has made you yearn for a more restful pursuit perhaps you might like to undertake a little wine tasting at one of the excellent wine caves in the area, as the Hérault is one of the Languedoc's best known wine producing regions.

Under the lights and a thousand stars...

Needless to say, the town is well equipped with night life, and whether your taste runs to lively bars, nightclubs and dancing or more to the quiet elegance of a great restaurant, there will be something here for you. Kids will be happy with takeaway pizza, perhaps, or one of the many other fast food options available.

Out and about

If you do happen to get bored with the swish modern delights of La Grande Motte you can easily find another world close by. A world of Cathar castles and wild garrigue lands, a world of pretty villages and glossy vineyards, these are all just a few short kilometres away. Visit the Cathar city of Béziers or the fairy tale city of Carcassonne, see the wild white horses of the Camargue, or "screw your colours to the sticking point" and white water raft down the rushing waters of the inland gorges of the National Park of the Haute Languedoc. Bored? You won't be...

How to get there

There are several airports near La Grande Motte which have direct flights from the UK. These include Montpellier, Carcassonne and Marseille. Montpellier is served by easyJet and Ryanair; Carcassonne by Ryanair; and Marseille by British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Aer Lingus and bmibaby. Rail travel is also a good option, as you can take the Eurostar from England to Paris, then change to a TGV and travel in comfort and with haste to Montpellier, Marseille or Toulouse. The A9 "auto route of the sun" is the delightfully named one for drivers to take, leaving at the exit for Lunel if travelling from the north or east, or exit Montpellier East if travelling from the west.

Property prices and availability in and around La Grande Motte

It's the New Riviera and whilst prices may not be as high as on the original Riviera, it still isn't a cheap part of France for property. It is fabulous, however, and very desirable. Rental values are high too, and this is a good way to recoup some money if the initial purchase price has left you reeling a little.

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La Grande Motte AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS La Grande Motte?

La Grande Motte is located in the central south of France, on the Mediterranean coast. It lies in the very south-east of the Hérault department, right next to the border with the Gard.

La Grande Motte Property Map


Languedoc-Roussillon Guide

Languedoc-Roussillon Property Map


Hérault Guide

  Hérault Map

Population: 8,202

Access: By air: Fly to Montpellier, Perpignan or Carcassonne. By rail: The TGV runs into Toulouse and Montpellier, so train travel is simple with just a change at Paris. By road: The town can be found from the A9 motorway.

Economy: Tourism is the driving force of the economy.

Interesting fact: The resort is famous for its "pyramidal buildings", an innovative design by Jean Balladur, inspired by Mexico's pyramids.


Sextant France
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