St Pierre La Mer (11560)
St Pierre la Mer and St Pierre sur Mer are one in the same village, but like its double name it has a split personality to match. During the winter season, the town is closed up tight like the bivalves that it is famous for: oysters and mussels. We have 50O permanent residents that brave the cold sea winds in of December-- last year we even had snow! There is only one little casino outpost of a grocery store and half the time the shelves are bare since there is no demand. A vehicle is necessary since the bus system is not running and to get supplies you have to take one of the two roads out to get to either Narbonne in the south or Beziers in the North.
As its name suggests it is on the Mediterranean sea with 8km of fine sandy beaches. Nestled in the La Clape region which is limestone cliffs and state protected garrigue lands interspersed with wineries. You have to drive 17 km through La Clape to get to St Pierre la Mer and its little neighbour Narbonne-Plage. In this drive you will see wilderness of wild thyme and rosemary, scrubland, olive trees and pines that are in their native habitat along the windy, twisty and quite dangerous roads. Along the way are many long stretches of grapes, soon to be Languedoc wines. The area is famous for its wine production and many vineyards offer wine tasting, and the opportunity to buy wine either en vrac (in your own container), by the bottle or the case. Château de l'Hospitalet is one of our favorites and they also have a museum and a little auberge with six rooms by the pool and have a fabulous restaurant.
During the summer St Pierre La Mer becomes a thriving beach resort town of more than 100,000 people! And we don’t have a single hotel; only second homes and camping facilities. You will see German, Dutch and Belgian license plates as often as French ones. Many French people have a summer home by the sea and this is one of their favorite towns that they have chosen and wisely since we get 300+ days of sunshine a year. The town swells with vendors selling regional products and produce which can be found at the farmer’s market in the city square, each day from 9am to 1pm. Also restaurants, bars, shops and discos open their doors for the summer months.
Traces of the ramparts are still visible here and there in the village (old doors, defence towers, look-out towers and there are plenty of tourist activities besides the beach: there’s a marina and sailing school, windsurfing, jet skiing, and bike hire. You can also take a guided walk or horseback tour of the surrounding countryside. You can hike in the garrigue between the limestone rocks and grapevines and you might stumble apon the mysterious l’Oeil Doux, a Cliffside watering hole from the centurys ago. It is rumoured to be more than 50 meters deep and only the brave dive into it from the cliffs! On the outshirts of town there is a children’s fun center with games and four wheelers and bumper cars. A circus usually sets up its tent here for the summer. It is really windy and para-sailing and wind surfing schools are in this area as well. The tourism office is next to the center square with the market and has load more information on what to do in the area.