Lunas, Herault (34650)
The picturesque village of Lunas is situated on the borders of the National Park of the High Languedoc between the small towns of Lodeve and Bedarieux, 50km west of Montpellier. The first documented mention of Lunas is in 909 but there is evidence of continous occupation from as early as the Neolithic period in the area. Lunas is a staging post on the Pilgrim Way to Saint Iago de Compostella and the Mairie, keen to welcome pilgrims, is in the process of providing hostel-type accommodation.
The village has a population of approximately 250 people, swelling to double that size in summer as the main industry now is tourism. It wasn't always so of course; at one time it was a thriving village with lots of small industries, including a tannery and caves where Roquefort cheese was produced.
It's a watery little place with a couple of streams and numerous springs feeding the River Gravezon, making it delightfully fresh in the height of summer when the villages on the plains stretching to the sea are sweltering It is overlooked by a mass of rock called the Redondel which was the site of the original fortress, a Protestant refuge destroyed in the 17th century. Since then, the chateau has been re-built at the foot of the rock and is now a thriving restaurant. In the 19th century villagers erected a statue of the Virgin as the Queen of Heaven high on the rock – a watchful protective presence.
At the foot of the rock and below the Chateau flows the Gravezon with the village arranged on both sides of the river and very peaceful it is too sitting beside the river beneath the 100 year old plane trees.
But don't let this peaceful scene deceive you – the commune is forward-thinking and has erected a leisure centre with outdoor swimming pools, pony rides, games and a cafe which is open during the months of July and August on the outskirts of the village. Lunas also has a good general store, bakery, Post Office, internet cafe, bar and several restaurants. In addition, it has worked hard to keep the school, encouraging children from surrounding hamlets to attend and offering subsidised accommodation to families with school-age children.
It has a lively social scene organised mainly by Les Amis de Lunas. Several times during the summer months they arrange al fresco meals to which the whole village is invited, there are coach trips to various places of interest and the usual noisy weekend fete with French rock bands. The whole village takes part in the Easter Carnival and turns out for the Vide Grenier which fills the narrow medieval streets.
The village is encircled by the mass of the Escandorgue mountain range and the hills of the High Languedoc, making it wonderful walking country. There is also riding, fishing, swimming, climbing and hunting. The coast is an hour away for days on the beach, Lake Salagou 40 minutes away and if you go north you can explore the mountains of the Cevennes, and the wonderful Millau Bridge. Come and look us up – you won't regret it.