Mèze (fr. Mèze, in occitan Mesa) is a commune in the Hérault department in southern France.
Lake de Thau or basin de Thau is the largest of a string of lagoons (étangs) that stretch along the French coast from the Rhône River to the foothills of the Pyrenees and the border to Spain in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Although it has a high salinity, it is considered the second largest lake in France. It is about 21 km long and 8 km wide, with an area of 7,012 hectares (27.07 sq mi). The mean depth of the lagoon is 4.5 m, but in the central navigation channel it can be 10 m deep.
Mèze belongs to the urban community of Sète Agglopôle Méditerranée. Its inhabitants are called the Mézois.
Like Agde, the Phoenicians founded it in the sixth century BC. The city knew many occupations: Greek, Roman, taken by the troops of Simon de Monfort, management by the bishop of Agde, until the French Revolution.
Being agricultural and fishing, the Mézoise economy reopened around the sixth century to maritime trade.
Today it is the oldest town in the Thau basin and has even discovered a passion for palaeontology: following the discovery of dinosaur egg fossils, excavations continue. Despite this wealth of heritage, Mèze remains a dynamic modern city: it constitutes a stronghold for shellfish farming and oyster farming and develops an important sporting and cultural life. It also has its Ecosite environmental research centre (pond protection, lagoon station, water purification, etc.).
Tourism and interesting places
- Old village center
- Port Mèze: both a working fishing harbor and a port for recreational boating
- Lagunage ecological site
- Dinosaur paleontology museum
- Eglise Saint Hilaire
- La Chapelle des Pénitents (12th century)
- Le château de Girard (end of 17th century)
- Remains of city walls
- St-Jean-de-la-Garrigue, former parish church, built in romanesque style
Gastronomy and restaurants
Like many French regions, the cities of the Thau basin have a local cuisine. The proximity of the lake and the Mediterranean coast favours the cuisine based on seashells and marine products. For many of them, they are specialties known as Sétoises but whose production is in fact extended to the entire basin (or even beyond). For example:
The tielle, a pie made from a bread dough and stuffed with octopus and squid decorated with a spicy tomato sauce (there are several artisanal tielleries in the town of Mèze).
Mussels with brasucade are cooked on the grill, then sprinkled at the end of cooking with white wine marinated with herbs typical of southern France (bay leaf sauce, rosemary, thyme, savoury, tarragon, etc.).
Macaronade (composed of pasta with tomato sauce, sausage, beef, and different Provençal herbs depending on the recipes).
Mèze beef, the history of beef (Buòu in Occitan) from Mèze dates to 59 C.E.
Best restaurants are located in the Old Town.
Shopping in Mèze is not a priority on the tourist program. Best shopping is available in the nearest Perpignan.
How to get to?
Shortest distance by car:
From Menton (tolls): 4 h 7 min (384 km) via A8
From Monaco (tolls): 3 h 59 min (376 km) via A8
From Beaulieu-sur-Mer (tolls): 4 h 6 min (363 km) via A8
From Villefranche-sur-Mer (tolls): 4 h 4 min (361 km) via A8
From Nice (tolls): 3 h 50 min (354 km) via A8
From Cagnes-sur-Mer (tolls): 3 h 32 min (342 km) via A8
From Antibes (tolls): 3 h 35 min (340 km) via A8
From Cannes (tolls): 3 h 29 min (327 km) via A8
From Mandelieu-La Napoule (tolls): 3 h 11 min (318 km) via A8
From Fréjus (tolls): 3 h 4 min (296 km) via A8
From Saint-Raphaël (tolls): 3 h 11 min (298 km) via A8
From Sainte-Maxime (tolls): 3 h 10 min (299 km) via A8
From Saint-Tropez (tolls): 3 h 31 min (300 km) via A8
From Cavalaire-sur-Mer (tolls): 3 h 41 min (306 km) via A8
From Toulon (tolls): 2 h 44 min (261 km) via A9
From Aix-en-Provence (tolls): 2 h 4 min (185 km) via A54 and A9
From Nîmes (tolls): 1 h 6 min (84.2 km) via A9
From Marseille (tolls): 2 h 12 min (197 km) via A9
From Avignon (tolls): 1 h 24 min (124 km) via A9
From Montpellier (tolls): 39 min (35.9 km) via A9
From Sète: 22 min (19.1 km) via D600 and D613
From Agde: 26 min (21.9 km) via D51
From Pézenas: 22 min (18.8 km) via D613
From Béziers (tolls): 44 min (43.5 km) via A75 and D613
From Perpignan (tolls): 1 h 26 min (140 km) via A9
From Argelès-sur-Mer (tolls): 1 h 47 min (167 km) via A9
From Collioure (tolls): 1 h 52 min (175 km) via A9
From Narbonne (tolls): 56 min (79.8 km) via A9
From La Baule-Escoublac (tolls): 8 h 12 min (887 km) via A62
From Saint-Nazaire (tolls): 8 h 8 min (873 km) via A62
From Nantes (tolls): 7 h 22 min (809 km) via A62
From Saumur (tolls): 6 h 36 min (722 km) via A71 and A75
From Les Sables-d’Olonne (tolls): 7 h 22 min (797 km) via A62
From Cognac (tolls): 5 h 34 min (584 km) via A62 and A61
From Angoulême (tolls): 5 h 32 min (582 km) via A62 and A61
From Eauze (tolls): 3 h 50 min (356 km) via A61
From La Rochelle (tolls): 5 h 58 min (646 km) via A62
From Rochefort (tolls): 5 h 38 min (618 km) via A62
From Saintes (tolls): 5 h 20 min (582 km) via A62 and A61
From Arcachon (tolls): 4 h 49 min (520 km) via A62 and A61
From Royan (tolls): 5 h 42 min (585 km) via A62 and A61
From Biarritz (tolls): 4 h 54 min (528 km) via A64 and A61
From Saint-Jean-de-Luz (tolls): 4 h 56 min (534 km) via A64 and A61
From Bayonne (tolls): 4 h 44 min (516 km) via A64 and A61
From Dax (tolls): 4 h 45 min (495 km) via A64 and A61
From Lourdes (tolls): 3 h 47 min (394 km) via A64 and A61
From Pau (tolls): 4 h (411 km) via A64 and A61
From Périgueux (tolls): 4 h 44 min (502 km) via A20 and A61
From Bordeaux (tolls): 4 h 29 min (468 km) via A62 and A61
From Toulouse (tolls): 2 h 19 min (227 km) via A61 and A9
From Carcassonne (tolls): 1 h 28 min (135 km) via A61 and A9
From Andorra (tolls): 4 h 5 min (316 km) via A61
Area: 34.6 sq. km
Population: 11 600
Time: Central European UTC +1
Coordinates: 43°25′40″N 3°36′21″E