About La Grande Motte beaches
One of the main resorts of the Languedoc region, La Grande Motte is a thriving summer seaside resort that was purpose built in the mid-1960s. The resort is characterised by its distinctive pyramidal buildings, inspired by the pyramids of Mexico. Created by architect Jean Balladur, they were a real sensation at the time because of their bold design, and they have remained popular: the 16-storey Grande Pyramide, built in 1974, still dominates the skyline. The action centres around the 1,450 berths marina. The resort can get packed in summer, but with over 300 days of sunshine a year, it is a pleasant destination year-round and a popular one for business tourism too.
La Grande Motte boasts some of the best beaches in the Languedoc region. With public toilets and showers, first aid and lifeguards on duty, they are ideal for families with children of all ages. There are also a few private beaches offering sunbeds, parasols and either a bar or a restaurant or both. Watersports on offer include windsurfing, jet-skiing, water-skiing, diving, sea-kayaking and paragliding.
Beyond the beach:
Once you’re done sunning yourself on the beach, there are 30 tennis courts, a sailing school and several swimming pools in La Grande Motte. Horse riding is also available. Nearby Carnon has a harbour with 950 berths, a diving centre, a swimming pool, a big sandy beach and many walking paths if you fancy going for a stroll. Aigues Mortes (9km/6 miles to the east) and Le Grau du Roi (6km/4 miles southeast) are also well worth exploring.
There are plenty of facilities and entertainment for children at La Grande Motte. There is a play area with trampolines and bouncy castles and a go-karting track (Point Zéro), several merry-go-rounds, as well as two mini-golf courses (Point Zéro and Motte du Couchant) and quad bikes (domaine du Petit Chaumont). The Parc de Loisirs Nautiques Le Grand Bleu (La Plaine des Jeux, 195 rue Saint Louis) offers water slides, a wave pool, waterfalls, Jacuzzi, sauna and a lot more. Four-wheel safaris in nearby Camargue are also popular with children of all ages. Last, but not least, there is a carnival on the last Friday in August with free face-painting for children, floats, food and dancing.
Some 20km (12.5 miles) to the east lies the Camargue, the area in the Rhone delta famed for its flamingos, bulls and wild horses, as well as its salt pans and rice paddies. A flat but beautiful land of marshes and lagoons, it is home to over 400 species of birds and a big population of mosquitoes too. Make sure you visit Aigues Mortes, a medieval fortress-town built in the 13th century, and Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, a gypsy pilgrimage site.
Spend an afternoon on one of Europe’s best golf courses, Le Golf (avenue du Golf). Built by celebrated American course-architect Robert Trent Jones, it is the first of its kind in Europe and probably the only one where you’ll see flamingos as you tee off. Those not feeling too energetic can treat themselves to an energising treatment or a relaxing massage at the Institut de Thalassothérapie (Point Zéro).