Occitanie is one of the most beautiful regions of France. With its mountains, its canyons, its villages in height, its heritage and the numerous climbing sites of Occitanie.
The diversity of the 12 departments of Occitanie makes it a dream destination:
- Tarn and Garonne
- Haute Garonne
- Pyrénées Orientales
The great particularity of the Occitanie region for climbing is to be able to climb all year long by traveling from department to department.
To all climbing enthusiasts, here is a selection of the most beautiful climbing sites in Occitanie.
This article is also available in French :
The most beautiful climbing sites in Hérault
Hérault is a vast department nestled between the sea and the mountains. It is a perfect compromise between modernity and tradition, frenzy and tranquility. It is a place to explore at least once in a lifetime:
- Cirque of Navacelles
- The Salagou
- The caves of Clamouse and Demoiselles
- Oppidum of Ensérune …
Hérault is THE tourist destination for the French during the summer months. Its geographical position offers a great variety of landscapes, between the coastline in the south and the more rugged relief in the north. This rugged relief offers us magnificent climbing sites near Montpellier which are very famous.
The Priory block site in Hérault, Occitanie
The Priory is a large block site in the region. Nearly 300 sandstone passages are grouped near Lodeve in Hérault. There is something for all tastes and styles even if it is true that we see few large bins. It is still not found a lot of easy blocks but rather many blocks in the 6 ( The Face ( 6a ) is deemed very nice) . Blockers extreme are not forgotten with blocks in the 7 and 8 as Sharmasutra (7a +) , Comma ( 7b) while the flat Trav Dave (8a) who found his name during a visit Dave Graham. This spot is therefore definitely worth including through blockers Lodève who occupied the site since about 2004 and have developed a guidebook .
The blocks are spread over about 3 areas (one is an old quarry ), but in the forest you can find many more isolated blocks. Most of the rocks do not exceed 4 meters high but few quite difficult blocks can reach 6 meters. To give you an idea of the site , look at these few videos Zebloc or Lodevebloc . Nearby you will also find the block site Salces also designed by blockers Lodèvebloc , smaller but no less interesting.
If you have some time , please visit the Priory of St. Michel de Grammont where you can also see dolmens. You can also visit the lake of Salagou, true geological curiosity by the color of his land.
To get to The Priory block site
Starting from Montpellier , take the A750 and the A75 towards Millau. Leave the motorway at the exit Lodeve . Continue straight without going into the heart of the village, then turn right towards Soumont . After a few bends you drive straight to the next two junctions until you reach a left turn inside which stands a large electricity pylon . Park your car next to it and cross the road . You will soon find the first blocks on your right and then continue your way to get to the second sector . The last sector is below.
Climbing in Claret in Hérault
In the climbing site Claret, in Occitanie, the Embruscalles cliff is a south-facing limestone rock. This site was mainly equipped by Hugues Beauzile (135 routes on his own) and he was helped by Pierre Rouzo, who is also a big constructor in the region (especially at Saint-Bauzille-de-Montmel).
It is located 30 kilometres north of Montpellier, the spot includes 187 channels according to the guidebook. The average level of the area is high. In fact, you can find some cliff schools in level 5-6a but the majority are situated in the level 7a-7b+ and going up to level 9a. You can climb the famous routes there, like Guere wear (level 8c) and Biotop (level 8b+). The routes are well bolted but attached enough, they require good physical shape and are continuous. The routes are between 25 and 40 metres. A 70 metre rope is required.
Find 2 beautiful climbing experiences in Claret :
- Manon BEREND shares with us her climbing trip in Claret :
- Pascal LUU-VAN shares his climbing experience at the Claret cliff:
From a tourist point of view, Claret has a lovely artistic glass museum on « Chemin des verriers » which is definitely worth a visit. Whilst heading down to Lauret, you can also taste mediterranean cuisine if you stop at the Auberge du Cedre. If you are more interested in sport activities, go to Saint-Bauzille-de-Putois where you can have a fun day canoeing on the Herault.
To get to the climbing cliff of Claret
Claret is a village located 30 kilometres (40 minutes) north of Montpellier. From Monpellier, head for the faculty of arts in the north of the city, folloz the D17 by Prades-le-Lez and continue on the D17 for 25 km. After Les Rives, turn left onto the D107, the direction for Claret for 2.5 km.
Cross Claret village and then Embruscalles. Look hard for the parking area.
The climbing site of Saint-Bauzille-de-Montmel in Hérault
St Bau is a large south-facing limestone cliff just 20 kilometres north of Montpellier in Herault, above the Saint-Bauzille-de-Montmel village. The site is not far from the L`Hortus mountains, only about 10 km away. Many cliff schools were re-equipped a few years ago, and new areas have been developed, mostly by Pierre Rouzo, a well-known local constructor.
The rock is good, with vertical or overhanging rocks, involving route techniques with small catches. And the routes are no longer than 30 metres, therefore a 70 metre rope will be good everywhere. The routes are bolted, so just bring the carabiners and straps (10-12 should be good). The wall is acccessible to beginners (15 routes ranging from level 3 to 5a+) up to the most experienced (level 8b max with « First Festival of Science Fiction in St-Bau) but most of the cliffs are level 6-7a. In total , there are 209 routes listed in the exporer`s guidebook.
The Bonelli eagles (an endangered specie) nest here in the spring, so some areas are prohibited and monitored throughout the year. If you want to visit a bit of the region, feel free to go and visit Pic Saint-Loup and its entire surrounding area to discover the amazing walks, the very good local wines and also a wide range of other activities.
To go to the climbing cliff of Saint-Bauzille-de-Montmel
30 minutes from Montpellier.
From Montpellier, exit the north-east end of the city and follow the D21 (the Castelnau-le-lez direction) until you cross Montaud and arrive in Saint-Bauzille-de-Montmel. Once you have entered the village, follow the direction of the Temple and take the rue du Clos des Dames, park your car near the small water tower. Then walk on the path for a few minutes.
Climbing in Hérault : site of Thaurac in Occitanie
The Thaurac is a vast limestone plateau south of the Cevennes and its National Park, and 40 kilometers north of Montpellier. Overlooking the village of Saint Bauzille de Putois , this rock is bordered by the Hérault which originates in the heart of the massif of Aigoual . The cliff faces south on one side and to the west along the Hérault and facing the Rock of Agonès . Overall, the rock is of very good quality even if it sometimes takes a little more attention in some areas.
The site is so big that you can find all the climbing styles. Indeed, the topo lists 610 tracks spread over 35 sectors. So we have a wide range of choices in ways that can range from 4 to 8b + but still a majority of routes in 6. There are also more than a hundred major routes up to 120 meters high but rather mostly rinds .
Some roads can be made artificial . On the other side of the river, on the rock of Agonès , there are some areas equipped with two reserved for the adventure playground . The main features and advantages of the massive Thaurac are its size and diversity.
However, when one is in Thaurac , we must pay attention to one thing: Rue . This plant with small yellow flowers that are found regularly Thaurac and a strong odor of the climber is the enemy because it can cause blisters on contact transforming later brownish tasks in some people. One tip: precaution, do not approach .
The via ferrata of Thaurac
To vary a little, beautiful via ferrata cross a large part of the west face . The tray is also full of Thaurac caves and sinkholes that have regularly served in the past to hide resistants.
If you manage to find the cave of the sun , you can make a big pendulum reminder followed by a rise by a small via ferrata. If you want to relax, there is of course the famous Demoiselles cave in which you can enter the famous cathedral. It allows to discover the underworld as many as ease of access . If it is too hot, many bases canoeing , some with label Qualité Hérault are present around Saint-Bauzille-de-Putois for you down the throats of Herault. There is also the possibility to perform paragliding since Thaurac plateau.
To order the Thaurac topo
To get to the climbing cliff of Thaurac
Montpellier, take the D986 towards Ganges until Saint-Bauzille-de-Putois. Follow the signs « Cave of ladies » and park in the parking lot just below the cave. On the right there is a path that leads to the first cliffs.
Discover other climbing sites around Montpellier by following the article below:
Aveyron and climbing
Aveyron is a department known for its authenticity. Its long flowery meadows, its large peaceful lakes and its immense hilly landscapes will give you a complete change of scenery. It is also the ideal place for all outdoor sports lovers!
The Dourbie – climbing site in Aveyron, Occitanie
The Dourbie gorges form with the Tarn gorges (which it is a tributory) and those of Jonte (also a Tarn tributary) a trio of absolutely fabulous climbing sites. They are actually situated in Aveyron but at the limits of Lqnguedoc-Roussillon. The climbable routes over Douribe are distributed between two sites: le Boffi and Cantobre. These limestone walls qre south-facing and slightly westerly for Boffi, allowing you to have a beautiful view of Millau and its famous viaduc. The latter was almost totally equipped from 1999 onwards, the equipment there is therefore very good.
There are nearly 200 routes ranging from 4 up to 9b with many slopes. The Boffi character also provides magnificent caves. Please note, some routes can be up to metres. In Cantoubre, more than 80 routes await you on an overhanging cliff with fine holes. The level there is very high. You can find some routes which are level 5-6 but the vast majority of the routes are in the seventh or eigth grade and some 9 are available. The length of track does not exceed 30 metres. Both sites are famous for hosting Petzl Roc Trip, which has allowed the developement of their equipment. A guidebook is available in all stores.
Regarding other activities to do in the area, you can try the via ferrata du boffi. If you want to leave the harness? you can go canoeing on the Dourbie or even in the Tarn gorges, but also hiking and biking on the plateau for example or even paragliding. If you have the time, make the most of it and go and see Montpellier-le-vieux chaos.
To go to the climbing site of The Dourbie
From Montpellier, join Millau on the A75. Leave Millau towards the east towards the Dourbie gorges. To go to Boffi, after having passed the Cureplat bridge, at the roundabout take the Montpellier-le-Vieux direction or Longuiers on the D110. Then, go up the black mesa. A few miles further, take the road on the right indicating a climbing site. Park your car at the second panel. Continue walking along the path, a path descends at the foot of the cliffs.
If you would prefer to go to Cantobre, take the gorges road (D991) towards Nant. At Cantobre, park in the parking provided for this purpose just before the bridge over the Dourbie, then cross it by foot. Then take the small road left and continue your way until you cross that river Trevezel 200 meters above. From there, join the cliffs in sight.
To be well equipped for your climbing trip, check out the equipment needed for climbing in the article below: