St Antoine House and locality
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Bizanet : Narbonne : Cathar Castles : Carcassonne : Fontfroide Abbey

Nature : Beaches


Beaches
La Franqui Leucate
La Franqui and Leucate

The Languedoc-Roussillon coastline consists of 200 kilometres of sandy beaches, dotted with a few rocky outcrops here and there, notably the massif of la Clape in the Aude and the jagged coastline of the Vermillion coast in the Pyrenées Orientales.

At the foot of the massif of la Clape, seaside resorts, fine, sandy beaches and pools attract both nature lovers and wind-surfing enthusiasts. At one time, the river Aude flowed into the lagoons around Narbonne - these have now become the pools of Bages and Sigean.

Seaside resorts within 45 minutes of Saint-Antoine include:
Saint-Pierre la Mer - with 8km of fine sand
Narbonne Beach - remarkable 5km beach of fine sand
Gruissan Beach - 1300 raised chalets on the edge of the fine sandy beach
Port la Nouvelle - 15km of fine sand
Leucate Beach - sheltered from the wind by the imposing cliff which dominates the beach
La Franqui - one of the first resorts in the region; the meeting place of waterskiing enthusiasts

Less than 60 minutes from Saint-Antoine:
The Vermillion Coast - named in the 19th century because of the colour of the schist rocks at sunrise and sunset. Dotted with villages, the coast is also famous for its underwater beauty.
Collioure - southern port which became the city of Fauvism at the beginning of the 20th century; seaside resort and pleasure port; centre for diving, sailing and windsurfing
Port Vendres - seaside resort and busiest fishing port in the region
Banyuls sur Mer - seaside resort and pleasure port at the foot of the Albères massif Cerbère; seaside resort and last pleasure port before the Spanish border.

Nature

bupleurum parasol pine phlomis

Saint-Antoine is situated on the edge of the Narbonne Mediterranean Regional National Park, the 41st natural park of France. From the coastal lagoons of the Mediterranean to the steep massif of the Corbières, this park offers a unique diversity of landscapes and an extraordinarily rich flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy the open spaces on foot or by bicycle on over 200km of paths.

A few kilometres to the north-west is the national park of the Haut-Languedoc - with the gorges of Héric and the massifs of Caroux and Espinouse (the view of them from Saint-Antoine is magnificent).

The massifs of the Black Mountain, to the north of Saint-Antoine, where the Pic de Nore culminates at 1210m, bear the springs whose water was used by Paul Riquet to feed the Canal du Midi. This area, crossed by ancient pathways and pilgrims' paths is home to many activities: rambling, horse riding, hang gliding, mountain biking and various water sports.

Between Narbonne and the Mediterranean rises a massif 17km long and 7km wide - la Clape ("pile of rocks" in Occitain). This former island in Roman times is famous for its high limestone cliffs, its canyons and valleys covered in garrigue, pine trees and kermes oak. The azure blue of the sky and the sea, the reddish ochre of the earth and the green and yellow of the vegetation are features which attracted Toulouse-Lautrec who came to paint here.

The Gouffre de l'Oeil Doux, a protected site and an astonishing natural curiosity it is a good base for walks and bicycle rides.

20 minutes from Saint-Antoine is Bages, a small, picturesque, fishing village on the edge of one of the best preserved lagoons on the Mediterranean coast. Bages is surrounded by garrigue - olive, fig and almond trees, broom, gorse, lavender and rosemary. In this exceptional setting, egrets mingle with pink flamingoes. In spring they are joined by sheldrakes, herons and sometimes storks. A walk along the edge of the lagoon allows you to penetrate into the heart of the lagoon vegetation (reeds, glasswort...) and see the village from an unique angle.

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@ LesCorbières.com December 2004