What to do when the sun's not out in Languedoc
With over 300 days of sunshine a year - Languedoc is one of the sunniest regions in all of France. But even in summer, there are days when the clouds roll in, and going to the beach or climbing the walls of some Cathar castle just aren't a great option. So for those few cloudy or rainy days, we've compiled a list of what we feel is the best indoor activities in the region.
Nature-wise, Languedoc's caves (grottes) are a spectacular way to get away from the grey outside. There are also two superb aquariums in the area - both ideal for children, as they're lots of fun and very educational. And in Montpellier, the 'Serre Amazonienne' offers an enclosed Amazonian Rainforest glasshouse - filled with exotic animals and plants.
Bowling is always a great rainy-day outing, and it's pretty popular in Languedoc. If you're interested in wine, the Terra Vinea's subterranean wine theme park is worth a punt.
Some of the Languedoc's cinemas show English-language films in 'Version Orginal' - i.e. not dubbed into French - so they're a good bet on a wet day. As are Montpellier's two indoor malls - should you fancy a spot of shopping.
Simply click any of the headings below to open up each section to read more on each option.
|1 - 9: Natural Wonders
What better way to spend a wet day than 100 meters underground…...discover a world of fossilised halls with fine sparkling white crystallations of calcite and aragonite.
Grotte de Clamouse - in the heart of the Gorges de l’Hérault
Tel: 04 67 57 71 05
Timings: From February to November (check website for times)
Prices: Adults €8.70, Children 4 - 14 years €5.50, Under-4’s free
Other: Snacks available
Grotte de Demoiselles - situated in La Haute vallée de l’Hérault
Tel: 04 67 73 70 02
Timings: Open all year (check website for times)
Prices: Adults 8.90€, Children 12 - 17 € 6.60; 6 - 11 €5; 3 - 5 €1; Under- 3’s free
Other: Brasserie - Bar
Grotte de Trabuc - in the heart of the Cévennes
Tel: 04 66 85 03 28
Timings: Open February to November (check website for times)
Prices: Adults €8.40, Children €5.30
Grotte Cocalière - in the Cévennes mountains
Tel: 04 66 24 34 74
Timings: March to September (check website for times)
Prices: Adults €8.00, Children 6-12 years €8.00
Other: snack bar
Grotte de Labeil - caves just north of Lodève
Tel: 04 67 96 49 47
Timings: open March to October (check website for times)
Pricing: Adults €7.60, Children 5 - 12 € 3.80
Grotte de l'Aven Armand - in the Lozère
Tel: 04 66 45 61 31
Timings: March to November (check website for times)
Pricing: Adults €8.80; Children 5 - 15 €6.00; 15 - 20 €7.20
Other: Snack bar,
equiped for handicapped people
AQUARIUMS & ZOOs:
Why not spend half a day visiting either one of these aquariums, with 100’s of different species of fish to dazzel you plus 25 different types of sharks. At the same time you can educate the kids with lots of interactive exhibits.
Mare Nostrum Aquarium, Montpellier
The biggest and best in the south of France - a real treat for the whole family.
Tel: 04 67 13 05 50
Timings: May to Sept (check websites for times)
Prices: Adults €12.50, Children 3 - 12 €9; under 3’s free ; 2 adults + 2 children 36€
Seaquarium, Le Grau du Roi
Tel: 04 66 51 57 57
Timings: Open all year ( check website for times)
Pricing: Adults €11.30; 5 - 15 € 8.30; under 5’s free; 2 adults + 2 children €35
'Serre Amaxzonienne' - Amazonian Rainforest at Montpellier Zoo
Tel: 04 67 54 45 23
Timings: Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am - 7pm
Pricing: Adults €6; 6 - 12 € 2.50; 12 - 25 €3
10 - 13: Museums / Galleries
Musée Fabre, Montpellier
Tel: 04 67 14 83 00
Timings: open Tuesday - Sunday check website for times
Pricing: Full rate €6; under 6’s free; family rate 2 adults+ 2 children €12
The Fabre museum is located right in downtown Montpellier, just a few minutes' walk from the Place de la Comédie and convenient tramway stops. The museum exhibits a large collection of paintings and sculpture from the 15th to the 18th centuries - including works by Brueghel, Rubens, Courbet, Dufy - and a whole gallery devoted to the local artist Pierre Soulages.
Ceret Museum of Modern Art - in Ceret, near the Spanish border
Tel: 04 68 87 27 76
Timings: see website for opening times varies throughout the year
Pricing: Adults €8; under 12’s free
A small but popular museum that showcases works by Picasso (including his famous 'bowl' series), Chagall, Matiss and some impressionists.
The Dali Museum - (Teatre-Museu Dali) just south of the border in Figures, Spain
Tel: +34 972 677 500
Timings: open every day (check website for times and bank holidays)
Pricing: Adults and children over 9 €11; under 9’s free; see website for further reductions
Once a theatre in Dali's home town of Figures, it was re-built after being bombed in the Spanish civil war by Dali to house the largest and most diverse collection of his works in the world. The museum itself is as much a work of art as its contents - crowned with giant eggs, and filled with odd mechanical devises, strange furniture and 3-D collages.
The Haribo Museum of Sweets - Uzès, Gard
Timings: open Feb - Dec except Mondays
Prices: Adults 6€ children 5 to 15 €3; under 5's free
Definately one for the children, however parents don’t dispair there are some lovely cultural things to see whilst you are in this area!
|14 - 17: Sport / Games
Bowling, Swimming & Ice skating - in the 'Espace Liberté' in Narbonne
Tel: 04 68 42 17 89
Timings: Swimming open every day (check website for opening times); Bowling open every day (check website for times); Ice skating (Patinoire) open every day (check website for times)
Pricing: Swimming: Adults and children over 14 €4.75; 2- 13 €2.80. Bowling: prices from €3.25, hire of shoes €1.50.
adults and children over 14 €4.15; children 3 - 13 €3.40, hire of boots €2.20
All under one roof, what better way than to spend a rainy day and you wont even have to take a pack lunch as there is a café restaurant on site.
For the more energetic amongst you why not have a go at bowling. Great fun for all ages from children to grand parents and for as long or short a time as you like. In the height of the season or week-ends it might be worth booking a lane before you go to avoid any dissapointment when you get there.
Bowling in Montpellier
Tel: 04 67 65 80 08
Timings: open every day from 2pm (see website for closing times)
Prices: Monday - Friday 2pm - 8pm from €3.50 per person ( see website for other times and prices)
Extreme Bowling, Béziers
Tel: 04 67 39 12 70 Perpignan 0468 67 54 09
Timings: open every day at 2pm
Prices: Hire of shoes obligitory €1.50 (socks needed for hygene reasons); prices start from €4 per person
INDOOR TENNIS (+ Squash & badminton)
A superb tennis centre, with 8 indoor courts and 24 exterior courts (with floodlighting). There are also 2 squash courts and 2 badminton courts. The centre has a snack bar and small pool, and plenty of parking.
Indoor Tennis Centre, Cap d'Agde
Site: Click here to visit their website
Address: Avenue de la vigne,
34300 CAP D'AGDE
Tel: 04 67 01 03 60
Timings: Open all year round - Monday to Sunday, 9am - 8pm.
Prices: Between €14 and €20 depending on the time of year and the type of court. You can also buy a card for 10 or 20 hours, which brings down the hourly price quite a bit.
|17 - 18: Wine Exhibits
Terra Vinea - Underground wine exhibit - a regional centre for the histiory of wine and for Mediterranean culture. Restaurant with choice of menu’s,
wine tasting with a difference.
Tel: 04 68 48 64 90
Timings: Open every day except Christmas and New Year’s day
Pricing: Adults €8.50; kids 10 to 14 €3.50; 6 to 9 €1.00
Noilly Prat Factory - Marseillan. Find out how this tipple is made and stored.
Tel: 04 67 77 20 15
Timings: Guided tours Mar - Nov (check website for times)
Pricing: Adults €3.50; children 12 - 18 €2; under 12’s free; family rate €7
And not forgetting of course there is always wine tasting and if you visit our Languedoc Wine Tasting page it will give you some ideas of places to go. Nearly all wine domains are open for you to go in and have a ‘Degustation’ at any time.
|19 - 27: Cinemas (Films in English)
What better way to escape the rain than to watch a good film. Although most English-language films are dubbed into French in Languedoc, some are shown in 'Version Originale - or 'VO'' - with French subtitles. Below is a list of those cinemas in the area that show 'VO' films regularly:
Cinema le Colisee - Carcassonne: Cinema with five screens showing the latest English language film releases. At 10 Boulevard Omer Sarraut in Carcassonne (11).
Tel: 04 68 25 08 09
Cinema Castillet - Perpignan: At 1 bd Wilson in Perpignan (66).
Tel: 08 92 89 28 92
Le Moliere - Pézenas: The cinema offers English speaking movies every month. Impasse Pillement in Pezenas (34).
Tel: 04 67 90 76 41
Les Cinemas Luteva - Lodève: On bd Joseph-Maury in Lodève (34).
Tel: 0892 892 892
Le Semaphore - Nimes: Cinema with three screens showing recent English language films. At 25 Rue Porte-de-France in Nimes (30).
Tel: 04 66 67 83 11
Cinema Trianon - Mende: On bd Lucien-Arnault in Mende.
Tel: 0892 892 892
Cinema Celleneuve - Montpellier: Place Pierre Renaude
Tel: 04 67 75 41 90
Cinema Centre - Montpellier: 5, rue de Verdun
Tel:04 67 58 58 10
Cinema Capitole - Montpellier: 5, rue de Verdun
Tel:04 67 58 58 10
28 - 29: Shopping Malls
Odysseum, Montpellier: Located just outside the centre of Montpellier, accessible by car or tram, Odysseum combines attractions such as the Mare Nostrum Aquarium (see above), a Planaterium, an ice skating rink, bowling alleys, restaurants and of course an enormous shopping mall - filled with major brands such as H & M, Desidual, Zara Home, Apple and many more.
Polygone Centre, Montpellier: Montpellier's older shopping mall (the Odysseum is brand new) is located right in the centre of the city, just off the Place de Comédie. It combines lots of shops (Habitat, Galleries Lafayette, Gap etc...) with a number of restaurants.