Marseillan is located in the department of Hérault, in the Languedoc Roussillon region. This coastal city boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in France. With an average temperature of 24 °C in the summer and more than 300 sunny days a year, Marseillan is the perfect place to spend a holiday or to settle permanently.
The city can be accessed along the A9 “La Languedocienne”, taking the exit 33 from Sete or 34 from Agde/Bessan. The airports of Beziers and Montpellier are respectively 20 and 50 kilometres away and are both serviced by low-cost airlines to the UK. Sete’s is 16 km away, Agde’s only 7. There is also the train station “Les Onglous”, 2 km away from Marseillan.
The history of the area goes back to the 6th century BC, with the first settlements of immigrants for the Greek city of Phocaea. The Romans also chose this place to settle around the 2nd century BC. Because of its location by the sea and near the Spanish borders, this Mediterranean village has been , through many wars, commercial alliances or religious changes throughout the centuries, which Marseillan still remembers with its numerous historical buildings.
Built during the 17th century, Saint Jean-Baptiste Church was built on the ruins of an 11th century church, from which remain the cheviot, the towers with Roman tiles, large cut stones and bell towers. From the gothic church only the choir and the apse are left. This church remained one of the wealthiest in the region until the 7th century. Unfortunately, the church suffered from pillages and fires, and stayed closed from 1791 to 1822. The modern church has a square tower bell which was finished in 1839. The organ, restored in 1982, is on the list of French historical monuments.
Once an 18th century mansion, the city hall was bought in 1919 to become the current city hall. It boasts a collection of amphorae, bullions and swords dating from the 5th century BC.
The city’s market square was, in the 12th century, the beating heart of local life. In 1310 Consuls decided to cover it with a wooden structure, which was rebuilt in stone in the 17th century. Its neo-Romanesque arches are one of the city’s greatest sites.
Being a coastal city, Marseillan offers a wide variety of activities, such as sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, kite surfing, and of course sunbathing and swimming. The city’s beaches are cleaned under careful watch every day. Many activities such as volley-ball or football games are regularly organised.
Marseillan’s traditions come to the fore during its festivities. The “capelet”, Marseillan’s oldest tradition occurs each summer in the city’s harbour. Its origins are centuries old but the game remains the same: the participants have to walk on a slippery mast and get the 2 hats in the very end of the mast. Acrobatics and plunges come with traditional music on the oboe and drums. In the summer, jousts on boats are also very popular. Each fighter has to push the other one in the water with the help of a long pole.
Thanks to its link with the sea and the “Bassin de Thau”, the largest string of lakes in Languedoc, Marseillan enjoys a wide variety of fish, especially bream, bass or mullet. The Thau lakes have also been a natural reserve for shellfish. Nowadays, many oysters and mussels farms are installed. New farming techniques and the local people’s special enthusiasm will allow you to taste some of the freshest seafood on the coast. A permanent exhibition is displayed in the city’s tourism office.
Since the foundation of the city, vineyards have always been of the most important markets for the local economy. Nowadays, traditional varieties such as “Terret Bourret” have been combined with improving ones, such as Sauvignon or Chardonnay, and produce high-quality white wines. Marseillan has a wine-growers’ cooperative which was created in 1934. It has always adapted itself to economical changes. In 1982, the cooperative invested in new production schemes and worked on its wines’ quality. Efforts have paid off: each year, its “Henri de Richemer” range is awarded at Paris’s general agricultural show. The city is also the place of birth of Noilly Prat, France’s most famous vermouth. Created in 1813, this fortified wine’s recipe is still kept a secret. Some varieties are only available in Marseillan, and won’t be sold anywhere else in the world.
This is a wonderful area to enjoy, whether as a holiday or on a more permanent basis. Do you want to be at the heart of things in town or do you prefer something away from it all? How big a property do you require? What sort of budget? Discuss all these things with a good local bi-lingual estate agent such as one linked to Sextant properties. We will not only be able to answer your questions and point you in the right direction, but we will also accompany you on viewings. So, once that delicious meal has been digested why not contact them soon.