Le Cap d'Agde

CAPital resort

Ideally placed between the river Herault, the Canal du Midi and the Mediterranean, Agde was founded by the Phoceans shortly after Marseille. The "black pearl of the Mediterranean" drew most of its resources from the sea, a vocation inspiring its economy and its historical heritage.

In the 1970s, Agde seized the opportunity of the development of seaside tourism to create the Cap d’Agde resort, which can accommodate 175,000 visitors while its port is home to 4,200 boats and yachts.

It is now France’s largest summer resort, a position emphasised by its slogan: "CAPital resort".

Its architecture now belongs to history as one of its ports, Port St Martin has recently been labelled a 20th century heritage site. The label rewards the vision of architect Jean Le Couteur, who conceived an evolving and ever-changing architecture, which keeps growing today. An innovative aquatic centre opened in 2011 while the international golf course and the docks are being enlarged. The Leisure Island site is also being redesigned by famous architect Jean Nouvel. Le Cap d’Agde keeps going forward to remain a capital tourist spot.

Central Port - © Alex699
Two previous stages
Seaside resort on the commune of Agde in Herault (34)
Population: 23,000 (Agde)Specialties : rosé wine, fish, anchovy, bourride (fsh soup).
Economy : tourism.
Nickname : The black pearl (Agde)
Sport : RC Olympique agathois (football)
Celebrities : Pierre Barthes (tennis player), Laeticia Hallyday, Claude Terrisse (corsair)
Festivals : International chess meeting. Hérault du cinéma.

Timeline

  • 580 BC

    Phoceans settle on a tocky cape they name Agathe Tychea, Good Fortune. A counter develops. Colonised by Marseille, Agede becomes France’s second Greek city.
  • 506

    Council of Agde. Agde is occupied by Visigoths.
  • 1120

    Construction of the cathedral.
  • 1286

    Agde is destroyed by the Aragonese army.
  • 1348-1372

    Plague epidemic.
  • 1586-1680

    Construction of the Brescou fort and harbour projects by cardinal Richelieu (1632).
  • 1601

    First jousting tournament in the honour of Henry II of Montmorency.
  • 1681

    Completion of the Canal du Midi.
  • 1939

    Establishment of the Agde camp, in which are detained Spanish Republicans, later soldiers and Jews.
  • 1963

    Govenrment plan to develop tourism in Languedoc-Roussillon.
  • 1964

    Discovery of the Agde Ephebe, a statue representing Alexander the Great.
  • 1969

    The construction of Cap d’Agde starts in Port Saint-Martin. The first buildings are inaugurated on July 1, 1970.
  • 1976

    Completion of the third phase of the Cap d’Agde works.
  • 1989

    Construction of the Rochelongue area, with a walway inspired by Barcelona’s Ramblas.
  • 1993

    Organisation of the Mediterranean Games.
  • 2001

    Two bronze statues from the Roman period are discovered. The Ephebe Museum holds the richest collection of local ancient bronzes in France.
Ephebos - © Pierre Arnaud
Two previous stages
Seaside resort on the commune of Agde in Herault (34)
Population: 23,000 (Agde)Specialties : rosé wine, fish, anchovy, bourride (fsh soup).
Economy : tourism.
Nickname : The black pearl (Agde)
Sport : RC Olympique agathois (football)
Celebrities : Pierre Barthes (tennis player), Laeticia Hallyday, Claude Terrisse (corsair)
Festivals : International chess meeting. Hérault du cinéma.

Le Cap d'Agde and cycling

The last time the Tour de France visited Cap d’Agde goes back to 2009, with a stage which finished in Perpignan. As is often the case, Thomas Voeckler quickly joined the daily breakaway group. But for the first time in his career on the Tour, the Alsatian rider confirmed the try and won at the end of the day on the finish line. This delighted the manager of his team, Jean-René Bernaudeau, who was celebrating his birthday that day. Eleven years before, the town hosted a finish stage, where the belgian Tom Steels outsprinted the other riders.
Agde was also the start of a stage to Ax-3 Domaines in 2005, won by Austria’s Georg Totschnig.

Thomas Voeckler won his first Tour stage in Perpignan after breaking away in a ride from Cap d’Agde - © Presse Sports
Two previous stages
Seaside resort on the commune of Agde in Herault (34)
Population: 23,000 (Agde)Specialties : rosé wine, fish, anchovy, bourride (fsh soup).
Economy : tourism.
Nickname : The black pearl (Agde)
Sport : RC Olympique agathois (football)
Celebrities : Pierre Barthes (tennis player), Laeticia Hallyday, Claude Terrisse (corsair)
Festivals : International chess meeting. Hérault du cinéma.

What to see

Museum of the Ephebe

Found in the Heraul river in 1964, the Ephebe has become the symbol of Agde’s past. Inspired by known portraits of Alexandre the Great, the 2,300-year-old bronze statue of the Hellenistic period is the masterpiece ot the museum, dedicated to underwater archaeology and which holds a rare collection of ancient amphoras and bronzes.

St Etienne cathedral

A fortified Rmanresque church from the 12rh century, the cathedral is an imposing and severe monument of basalt in a style rather uncommon in Languedoc. The tower, a 35-meters keep, dates from the 14th century.
It became a cathedral in 1453 and the marble altar dates from the 18th century. The bishops of Agde as well as corsair Claude Terrisse were buried in the cathedral.

Laurens Castle

Agde was enriched, towards the end of the 19th century, by an intriguing monument built on an island between the Geraul river and the Canal du Midi: Castle Laurens. The strong personality of its owner, Emmanuel Laurens, and the secrecy in which the castle was held made it a fascinating place for the locals. It cannot yet be visited but can be discovered on the town’s website: chateau-laurens.ville-agde.fr

Laurens castle - © LUEphebos - © Pierre ArnaudQuai de la Marine - © Ville du Cap d’AgdeCanal du Midi - © Ville du Cap d’Agde
Two previous stages
Seaside resort on the commune of Agde in Herault (34)
Population: 23,000 (Agde)Specialties : rosé wine, fish, anchovy, bourride (fsh soup).
Economy : tourism.
Nickname : The black pearl (Agde)
Sport : RC Olympique agathois (football)
Celebrities : Pierre Barthes (tennis player), Laeticia Hallyday, Claude Terrisse (corsair)
Festivals : International chess meeting. Hérault du cinéma.

A volcanic resort

The typical couleur of Agde historical buildings is evidence of its volcanic past. The cap d’Agde village is partly built on the Mont St Martin, one of three hils which once were volcanoes. Agde’s volcanic complex is the furthermost point of a chain of volcanoes starting up North from Cezallier, Cantal, Aubrac, Causses, Escandorgue down to the seaside.
Agde’s volcanic area spreads over 1.5 kilometres and includes three "Strombolian cones", Mont St Loup (112 metres), Petit Pioch, partly dug by a quarry, and Mont St Martin. Several basalt flows crossed the territory of the commune to end up in the sea. Volcanic activity ceased 750,000 years ago. The first eruption took place at sea and formed the cliff on the beach of La Conque, known for its black sand. A basalt flow is quite visible on the beach.

Grande-Conque beach and its basaltic rock - © Alex 699
Two previous stages
Seaside resort on the commune of Agde in Herault (34)
Population: 23,000 (Agde)Specialties : rosé wine, fish, anchovy, bourride (fsh soup).
Economy : tourism.
Nickname : The black pearl (Agde)
Sport : RC Olympique agathois (football)
Celebrities : Pierre Barthes (tennis player), Laeticia Hallyday, Claude Terrisse (corsair)
Festivals : International chess meeting. Hérault du cinéma.

Jersey wearers after the stage 5

Classifications after the stage 5

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