Throughout France, nature reserves, natural areas for all, are accessible for the public to admire the fauna and flora. They have three inseparable missions: protecting natural environments, as well as animal and plant species and geological heritage, managing sites and raising public awareness. Here we are lucky to have two reserves. Nature observations and outings are organised regularly, don’t miss them!
The Bagnas National Nature Reserve
Located at the western end of the Thau Lagoon, this exceptional mosaic of Mediterranean environments includes beaches and dunes, dry and salt meadows, coastal grasslands, temporary swamps, lagoons, reed beds, small tamarisk woods and cultivated areas of vineyards and pastures. Uniting sea and land, the Bagnas Reserve is a site of high biological value and offers a staging and nesting place for more than 240 species of breeding or migratory birds that can be observed throughout the year.
Offered by the Reserve in early spring, the “Edible Plants of Bagnas” excursion allows you to discover and recognize the wild edible plants of the different habitats in the Reserve: shoots, wild salads and flowers. You can even taste them!
Where should you go?
Domaine du Grand Clavelet – Road from Sète àtoAgde – Tel.: 04 67 01 60 23 – https://www.adena-bagnas.fr
Open all year round, Monday to Friday from 9 am to 12 noon and from 2 pm to 5 pm
La Grande Maïre
Limited on the North by the Canal du Midi and to the South by sandy beaches, this Reserve covers more than 400 ha and offers a multitude of natural habitats. From the dunes, through the sansouïre (vegetation dominated by glasswort), to the salt meadows, the landscapes are very diversified.
Over the last ten years, a reed bed has formed in the middle of the site.
This site, remarkable for its rich fauna and flora, is classified as a high-value ecological zone, and protected under the Habitat Directive, part of the Natura 2000 network.
And to discover all this, at your own pace and according to your whims, three trails marked by arrows are offered from Portiragnes-Plage and from Portiragnes Village.
The three trails are the red (11 km), the yellow (9 km) and the blue (2 km). On each trail, explanatory panels help us to understand what is around us.
This nature reserve will remind you of Camargue. There are many varieties of migratory birds, such as flamingos and gray herons, as well as herds of Camargue horses and bulls. Yes, there are! The excursion organised on Wednesdays is a must-see if you want to understand the wonders of this fascinating area.
Where should you go?
Portiragnes Tourism Office – Tel. 04 67 90 92 51
Take the time for a nature break, pay attention and you will see how soothing nature is!
These natural areas are sensitive and some actions will contribute to their protection:
- put your litter in the places provided for it,
- respect the limits of private properties,
- do not disturb the animals and nesting birds,
- avoid picking the plants,
- the dunes are fragile; do not trample on them,
- watch out for fire! Be especially vigilant during the summer and on windy days.