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La Grande-Motte

Travel Guide Europe France La Grande-Motte

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Introduction

La Grande Motte is a summer resort on the Mediterranean Coast, located in the Languedoc region in the south of France. It's located between Montpellier and Marseille. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, it comes as no surprise that this is a popular year round destination, especially for families. During winter it's popular with older visitors, many of whom have a second home here.

La Grande-Motte is quite popular with the families, as the beaches are safe and clean and there are plenty of activities to keep the children busy and enterntained. There is a play area with trampolines, bouncy castles, merry-go-round, go-karting tracks, water slides, wave pools and even mini-golf courses for children. Four wheel safaris in the nearby region of Camargue are quite popular too. Every year on the last Friday in August there is a carnival with free face painting for children and other activities.

The town was built in the 70's with the sole purpose of becoming a seaside resort, and stemming the flow of tourists towards Spain. The entire city was drawn by the architect Jean Balladur, and the inspiration drawn from the Téotihuacan site in Mexico is quite clear when viewing the pyramid shaped buildings that characterize the resort town.

In 2009, the finish of stage 3 of the Tour de France was in La Grande Motte.

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Sights and Activities

  • Beaches, the reason most come to La Grande Motte. Safe and family friendly, you'll find all the conveniences you need nearby.
  • Watersports, including windsurfing, water-skiing, diving and paragliding, amongst others
  • Espace Grand Bleu, an aquatic centre with giant slide, wave pool, rubber ring river, sauna, hammam, jacuzzis, etc.
  • Panoramic aquarium
  • Camargue, 20 km to the east of La Grande Motte is part of the Rhone delta and know for rice paddies, flamingos, bulls and wild horses. Check the Parc Nacional de Camargue official website (also in English) for more information).

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Events and Festivals

  • Water sports festival (May)
  • Fireworks festival (July)
  • Scènes d'Eté festival (July and August)
  • Summer Carnival (August)

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Weather

La Grande Motte has an enjoyable temperate climate, with an average temperature of 23 °C between April and October. Hottest time is between June and early September when highs normally are around 30 degrees Celcius on most days, with warm night and plenty of sunshine. Winters last from December to February but it's usually mild with 10 to 12 degrees Celcius during they day and rarely frost at night due to its immediate coastal location.

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Getting There

By Plane

Fly into Montpellier Méditerranée Airport (MPL), 17km away. From here you can either hire a car or take a taxi. There are quite a few (lowcost) airlines serving [[Montpellier including Air France to Paris, Lyon and Corsica, Ryanair to Brussels, London-Stansted, Bristol and Frankfurt-Hahn, Easyjet to London and Transavia to Amsterdam.
Alternatively you can fly into Nimes - Arles - Camargue international airport, which is 53km away and hire a care from there. Royal Air Maroc flies from Casablanca while Ryanair serves London, Liverpool and Brussels.

By Train

Take the train (High speed TGV or normal services) to arrive at Montpellier railway station. From the station take the tramway (Line 1) to the station "Odysseum" and from there a regular coach (Line 106) provides return shuttle service to and from La Grande-Motte (Travel time approximately 45 minutes)

By Car

La Grande Motte is located approximately 750km from Paris, 300 from Lyon and 160 from Marseille. Drive towards Montpellier along the A9 and follow the N313. Then switch to the N113 towards La Grande Motte.

By Bus

Regular coach service is available on the route Montpellier-Carnon-La Grande-Motte. The timetable and other details can be found on the Herault Transport website.

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Getting Around

It is easy to explore La Grande Motte by foot as distances are small. If you want to visit some of the other towns or villages nearby, there's buses to most including Montpellier, Nîmes and Aigues Mortes. To venture further afield, hiring a car is probably your best alternative, although taxis are also available.

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Eat

All the usual suspects of a popular resort town can be found, from pizzerias to seafood restaurants. Around the marina and Le Grand Travers there are also a number of beach restaurants.

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Drink

La Grande Motte is not known for a particularly outrageous nightlife, but there are plenty of bars and clubs. There is a also a casino for those wishing to try their luck.

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Post

La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter.
Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

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This is version 10. Last edited at 9:59 on Dec 8, 10 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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