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Marseillan - an ancient fishing port

Marseillan is an ancient fishing port that lies on the shores of the inland sea or lagoon of the Étang de Thau, in the Hérault department of Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France. Founded in 6 BC, by the ancient Greeks, the town today is a lively yet beautiful destination with all the benefits of its great location on the Med.

Paradise on earth

The local name for Marseillan is "Paradis sur Terre", which translates to paradise on earth. There is everything here, from shops, cafés and restaurants to a multitude of sporting activities, glorious countryside and the ever seductive Mediterranean Sea. Then there are vineyards, olive trees and a wonderful climate with mild winters and summer temperatures regularly in the thirties. No wonder Marseillan earned this nickname!

Down town in Marseillan

The town of Marseillan is undoubtedly a popular tourist destination in the summer, but it retains many original features and is packed with history. There are signs of its Greek and Roman origins, in the stone work, gargoyles and old architectural features. The tiny narrow streets wind their way under the powerful southern sun, and the colourful shutters of the town all add to the heady Mediterranean ambience. There are Roman ruins, lovely old churches, a Belle Epoque theatre and a covered market square, as well as countless more recent features that all make for a good life in the sun.

Town of two parts

Marseillan is a town of two parts. There is the old village and fishing port on the Étang, and there is the beach town Marseillan Plage (Marseillan Plage Property Guide), that lies on the other side of the strip of land separating the Étang from the Med. So, whatever your mood for the day, you have a choice of destination to suit. Spend a day in the charming, ancient streets of the old town, watch the oyster harvest coming in from the Étang, or pop down to the glorious sandy beach, swim in the warm blue waters of the Med, and soak up the bustling atmosphere of the seaside resort.

Superb seafood

The oysters and mussels that thrive in the waters of the Étang de Thau are legendary in the region. The environmental centre situated on the "basin" (lagoon) ensures that water purity is excellent at all times, and conditions optimal for the farming of top quality shellfish. Marseillan has a great selection of restaurants, with all manner of cuisines available, including pizzerias and traditional French gourmet fare, but the seafood is the local speciality without a doubt.

Sports on offer in Marseillan

Sailing is just one of the many sporting activities on offer here in Marseillan. There are sailing schools where you can learn to handle a dinghy like the professionals, or you could try your hand at water skiing, jet skiing, windsurfing or even kite surfing! Inland there are still more activities to keep you busy, with horse-riding, hiking, cycling and tennis all close at hand.

How to get there

Getting to Marseillan is really a piece of cake, as the area is well supplied with accessible airports offering direct flights from the UK with a variety of airlines and departure points. Fly to Montpellier (GB Airways, Ryanair), Perpignan (Ryanair, bmibaby, flybe), Toulouse (British Airways, easyJet, bmi, Jet2) or Carcassonne (Ryanair). There's another option too, with the TGV running into both Montpellier and Toulouse.

Property prices and availability in and around Marseillan

Property on the Med is always on the pricey side, but Marseillan represents an opportunity to own a piece of highly desirable Mediterranean real estate for a lot less than you might imagine, especially if you are thinking of the kind of prices you may have seen on the neighbouring Riviera. Studios and small apartments are infinitely affordable, with prices starting from 66,000 Euros at the time of writing, so the dream may not be unattainable at all. Of course, if you have a little more to spare, Marseillan also offers some gorgeous luxurious properties as well, with superb villas and even an authentic wine grower's house up for grabs.

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Marseillan AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Marseillan?

Marseillan is located in the central south of France, on the Mediterranean coast. It lies in the south-west of the Hérault department.

Marseillan Property Map


Languedoc-Roussillon Guide

Languedoc-Roussillon Property Map


Hérault Guide

  Hérault Map

Population: 6,199

Access: By air: Fly to Montpellier, Perpignan, Toulouse or Carcassonne with a choice of airlines including budget airline Ryanair. By rail: The TGV runs into Toulouse and Montpellier, so train travel is an excellent way to reach Marseillan.

Economy: The economy includes tourism, fishing, trade and wine production.

Interesting fact: The buildings of Marseillan have no foundations, as they are built on the shores of the Étang, where the water table lies only a metre below the surface of the earth. Many have, however, stood for centuries, so there is no need to worry!

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