GETTING THERE: ACCESS
Beziers Cap d'Agde Airport. (45kms from Lozere)
Ryanair flies into Beziers Cap d'Agde Airport from Bristol, London Luton, UK and Dusseldorf Weeze, Germany. Airborne flies into Beziers from Odense, Denmark.
Montpellier Airport (56kms from Lozere)
Ryanair flies into Montpellier Airport from Bristol, and London Stansted, Brussels, Frankfurt. Sterling flies into Montpellier from Copenhagen, Denmark. Air France flies into Montpellier from Ajaccio, Lyon, Nantes, Paris, Rennes. Easyjet flies into Montpellier from London Gatwick. Transavia flies into Montpellier from Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Iberia flies into Montpellier from Madrid.
SNCF Beziers and Montpellier have connections to TGV trains to all over Europe.
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Lodeve - Market Town
(Market day - Saturday Morning)
Lodeve, just north of the red hills that surround the unusual landscape of Lac de Salagou, and now under the spindley but magnificent road construction of the autoroute that jumps across space at the viaduct at Millau, is a delightful town to explore.
A place of habitation since 4000 BC, Lodeve (Luteva) became under the Romans, Forum Neronis. The local population were converted to Christian religion by St Flour, its first bishop about 323 AD. At the centre of southern France it was fought over and held by the Visigoths, the Franks, the Ostrogoths, the Arabs, over the next 500 years and thence under the Carolingians, to become in the 9th century a separate countship, under the rule of its Bishops. It suffered from various wars of religion, culminating in 1573, when it was over run, and ruined. Like most of France, at the time of the Revolution the power of the bishopric was destroyed.
Wool and the wool industry has been at the crux of the town, which over the years benifitted from the numerous factories that were created over time. It was especially beneficial that Cardinal Fleury, who came from Lodeve, became Louis XV's prime minister, as he gave Lodeve the monopoly of creating cloth for the French army (with a workforce of up to 4000 in the 18th century). The demise of the wool industry was in the 1960's, though you can visit Atelier National de Tissage de Tapis, where you can see old style carpet weaving, in one of Colbert's magnificent 17th century mansions.
In the 1960's bauxite (for uranium) was mined in large open cast mines near Lodeve - employing at one time 800 persons. The mines are now closed.
Lodeve: Cathedrale St-Fulcrane
One of the more restrained interiors in this area, the church owes much to the upheavals, and destructions of the revolution.
The former diocese of Lodeve, probably founded around the end of the fourth century, was abolished during the French Revolution and its territory was then attached to the diocese of Montpellier.
The cathedral, benifited from the wealth created by the wool industry, particularly in the Middle Ages. The nave at 58 metres in length, and 25 metre high is impressive; and the Cloister dating from the 10th century is a welcome aside to the main church. For uniqueness - the biggest bell in the tower weighs 2000 kilograms; there is even a gift from Queen Victoria to Napolean III - a crystal chandelier dating from 1860; a magnificent organ constructed by organ builder Jean-François L'Épine built between 1752 and 1754, which is considered to one of the most beautiful in Languedoc France
Lodeve: Pont de Montifort
This lovely Gothic arch bridge was built in the fourteenth century over the Soulondre to connect the Tines neighborhood to the city. This district area had tanneries, gardens, baths and mills. The bridge was also used by the pilgrims of Saint Jacques de Compostela going to Toulouse.
Lodeve: Musée Fleury
The museum is housed in the Fleury family mansion, a nationally knonw and major family of Lodeve. Cardinal André Hercule de Fleury was prime minister to Louis XV. The mansion (hôtel) was built in the sixteenth and seventeenth century and is a beautiful and impressive building.
The museum exhibits 2 main topics: archeology, paleontology and history on one side and fine arts on the other. The museum hosts major exhibitions of local and international artists.
Lodeve: Hôtel Dardé
Built into a nineteenth century Halle (1819) the Hotel Darde has become a museum of the works of local sculptor Paul Dardé - whose War Memorial of 1919, in the Bishop's gardens, surrounded by chestnut trees, consists of a group of five women and 2 children in front of a tomb, symbolizing the pain after the loss of a father during the First World War (1914 to 1918). Inside the Hotel you will find 3 major works by Dardé including a large fireplace with statues telling the stories of Perrault, a copy of his sculpture "Prehistoric Man", and "Le Christ aux outrages"
L'Atelier national du tapis de Lodève
Visit the Atelier to see at first hand how carpets were created for the great homes of Paris - now made for the French equivalent of the National Trust - Gobelins.
Voix de la Mediterranée Poetry Festival
With international stars such as Jane Birkin, and Césaria Evora (2009); as wellas poets from around the world, recitals under the trees; book and poetry markets; music and theatre in the streets - the annual festival is the place to visit if poetry is in your soul and spirit. More information on Voix de la Mediterranée at Lodeve
St-Michel de Grandmont Priory
Well worth the drive out of Lodeve, the Priory is a place of mystery and spiritual light. Built in 1128 as a Convent of the Grandmontine Order of Hermits, and like most resonant sites, sits surrounded by hillsides deep in spiritual history. Dolmens and menhirs abound on the edge of the hill, that has grand views towards Lodeve.
Dolmens, and Menhirs
The severe but soul expanding 13th century church with barrel vault; and a simple small cloister with decorated capitals.
Several dolmens overlooking the Herault and Lergue plains. Aligned revealing here and there, megaliths, a sacrificial altar or table, and Visigothic tombs, dating back 4000 years.
Two dolmens of note include located east of the priory (Dolmen Belvedere) and in the west (Coste-Rouge) with its rounded entrance has a location looking towards to lake at Salagou.
The park - including lake, with deer, swans, ducks, goats, with stupendous views as far as Sete!
Lerab Ling, Traditional Tibetan Buddhist Temple.Just 15 kms from Lozere, situated on the remote Larzac plateau, founded in 1991 by Sogyal Rinpoche, Lerab Ling is Rigpa’s main retreat centre and has become a living centre for the transmission of the authentic tradition of Buddhist teachings in Europe.
The temple can only be visited on Sunday afternoons; on other days only the visitors center can be visited. More information on Lerab Ling, near Lozere.
View Lodeve, Herault, Languedoc in a larger map
Restaurant entre terre et mer
4, avenue Paul Teisserenc
Le Petit Sommelier
Place de la République, 34700 Lodève
Hôtel Restaurant Croix Blanche
6, Avenue Fumel
Le Temps de Vivre
04 67 44 03 78
Millau Viaduct just north of Lodève