La Grande Motte

La Grande Motte is a seaside resort built on a greenfield site on what were desolate dunes during the 1960s and 1970s. It is located to the west of the unique Camargue National Park and its protected lagoons that were formed by the Rhone River Delta. A couple miles to the northwest is the city of Montpellier, and the city of Nimes is located about 30 miles to the northeast. Spending a few days on a La Grand Motte beach is very popular for people after they have spent a week cruising south on the Rhone River from Chalon sur Saone to Arles, which is located just north of the Camargue.

La Grande Motte is superbly located to explore the surrounding area. Many important attractions can be visited on day excursions. For the Camargue, a truly unique habitat, you may want to book guided tours to learn the most about the flamingo refuge, and the legendary Camargue ponies and bulls. Head to Montpellier to stroll through its historic old town or venture to Nimes with its incredible Roman ruins (including the well-preserved amphitheater and famous Pont du Gard aqueduct), beautiful formal gardens and fountains, and the grand Gothic cathedral.

The La Grand Motte beach experience encompasses fourteen different beaches, all with showers, toilets, and other facilities to serve the beachgoers. There is a windsurfing beach, designated areas for jet skis, and a beach where dogs are welcome to romp. There are some stretches of sand that can be reserved for private functions, and every La Grand Motte beach has lounge chairs, umbrellas, and other beach paraphernalia for rent. There are parks and woodlands to stroll or cycle through, three golf courses, a tennis center, sailing center, rowing center, equestrian center, and pool complex. There is a casino and a thalassa therapy spa.

This is a purpose built resort characterized by homogenous architecture. While there are a variety of La Grand Motte hotels and other accommodations to choose from, you can expect a certain standard whether you have booked budget camping sites, self-catering residences, or a full holiday resort. Virtually all the traditional La Grand Motte hotels are three-star properties with similar services and facilities. There are only two two-star properties, and there are several holiday centers or clubs that are operated as timeshares. You will also find some villas and other holiday rentals that are excellent for families and small groups.

Some people don't stay in La Grand Motte hotels at all. There are a number of camping resorts that offer swimming pools, children's programs, laundry facilities, markets, and Internet service. Accommodation can be in fully equipped self-catering mobile homes or on tent sites with electricity and water service. The resort boasts a good sized marina that can berth nearly 1,500 boats, and many people either come here by boat (and sleep on them) or bring boats with them for cruises and fishing.

All La Grande Motte accommodations provide access to all the activities and public facilities that have been created here.

Image: Vick The Viking (flickr)

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