While Agde is one of France’s oldest towns, it features some of the most progressive views of any city in the country. Just south of the medieval city center lies Cap d’Agde, a seaside resort where public nudity is commonplace. Experience old and new Europe in one trip, all amid the beautiful countryside of the south of France.
Settled by the ancient Greeks in the 6th century B.C., Agde has long been a bustling port. This is due to its location on the Hérault River, close to the Mediterranean Sea. For insight into the area’s past, visit the Musee de l'Ephebe and see ancient artifacts, including the Youth of Agde. This bronze statue was found at the bottom of the Hérault River and is attributed to the ancient Greeks.
Agde Town is nicknamed the Black Pearl of the Mediterranean due to its high levels of volcanic rock. The 12th-century Agde Cathedral in the city center was constructed out of black basalt from local quarries. Take a short boat trip to Fort Brescou. The 16th-century stronghold occupies a small island that sits on a submerged dormant volcano.
Less than 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) outside of Agde Town is the naturist resort village of Cap d’Agde. Visiting here can be a liberating experience, since public nudity is legal. Swim, sunbathe and take part in watersports in the nude on Plage Naturiste (Naturist Beach). You can also shop, drink in cafés and walk the streets completely naked. If you would rather keep your clothes on, there are many non-naturist beaches close to Agde town.
The area has plenty of attractions to keep the whole family entertained. Swoop down the water slides at Aqualand, take a boat cruise along the Canal du Midi and see numerous bird species at the wetlands of Bagnas National Nature Reserve.
Reach Agde by flying into Montpellier and then make the journey to Agde via bus or rental car, a trip that will take just under an hour. One of the best times to visit is in June when the weather is pleasant and the peak summer crowds have yet to arrive.