Stage town for the first time.

Town in the Aude department (11)

Population: 5,100

Specialities: eel bourride, Mediterranean fish and seafood, Aude wines (La Clape, Minervois, Corbières). Oysters from Gruissan and Leucate.

Personalities: Didier Cordoniou (mayor, former rugby union international), Pierre Richard (actor, winegrower in Gruissan), René Bénésis (rugby union).

Sport: Aviron gruissanais (rugby union, Fédérale 1). Gruissan FC (football). Competitions: beach rugby in summer. A stage in the Vuelta in 2017. Tour de France sailing race. Kite surfing challenge.

Economy: seaside tourism, agriculture. The wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and catering sectors account for 48 pc of the total number of establishments in the commune (406 of the 845 businesses located in Gruissan).

Festivals: les Festejades (May) / Fête de la Saint-Pierre (29 June) / Fête des vendanges (September) / Rencontres autour de la BD (April).

Labels: Ville fleurie (3) / Pavillon bleu / classified tourist resort / Zéro Phyto label.



Although the Tour de France has never made a stop in Gruissan, it has already visited the immediate vicinity of the Aude seaside resort, notably during its visits to Narbonne and Narbonne-Plage, which have generally favoured sprinters. On the other hand, local races such as the now defunct Grand Prix du Midi Libre and the current Route d'Occitanie have held stages in Gruissan, with Dutchman Marijn Van Den Berg winning the latter race in 2023. Gruissan also hosted the Vuelta at its start in Nimes in 2017, when Yves Lampaert raised his arms in front of Matteo Trentin. In the early 2000s, the Tour Mediterranean and the women's Tour de l'Aude also paid visits to Gruissan. Gruissan has a number of facilities for cyclists, and its mayor since 2001 has been a former rugby union international, Didier Codorniou, who has been selected 32 times for the French national team.


  • The old Gruissan

The heart of the village of Gruissan dates back to the 11th century and is built in the circulade style typical of the Languedoc region. This configuration allowed buildings to be constructed around a church or a fortified castle. This layout makes Gruissan a unique maritime town in the Occitanie region. Take a stroll through the atypical old town and discover the Mediterranean way of life. At the heart of the village are numerous bars, restaurants and boutiques.  

  • Festejades

Every year in May, the Festejades bring together 50,000 people to take to the streets of Gruissan for three days of festivities. At the heart of Occitan culture, this friendly festival is representative of the warm atmosphere that reigns in the region. Combining the discovery of local flavours and music, this event is an opportunity to discover the traditions of the region dressed in a marinière (striped jersey), the official dress code of the festejaïres. The batucadas get the ball rolling in the late afternoon. Dozens of bodegas have concocted dishes to savour. In the evening, it's time for the concerts, with bands from some of the biggest festivals.  

  • The beaches

Gruissan is famous for its many and varied beaches. Plage de Mateille is a natural site listed by the Conservatoire du Littoral. It is flanked by a seaside lake devoted to windsurfing and sand yachting. This wild beach stretches over 1.2 km of sand and has a nautical base where windsurfing is practised. Vieille Nouvelle (or plage des Salins) is a wild beach that is rarely visited, except by kite-surfers, as it becomes the windiest spot in the area during the tramontana winds. Plage du Grazel, inside the port, is an artificial beach in the centre of the town. Plage des Ayguades is a sandy beach stretching for 1.5 km. Campsites and seasonal accommodation are located all along this sandy beach.  

  • Chalets de Gruissan

The wooden chalets on stilts originally built on the beach itself are a special feature of Gruissan. They were made famous by Jean-Jacques Beineix's film 37°2 le matin (Betty Blue), based on Philippe Djian's novel of the same name. 

  • Castle ruins and Barbarossa Tower

Construction: 10th to 12th centuries.

Style: medieval.

History: the tower is one of the last vestiges of a castle built in the late 10th century to watch over the area around the port of Narbonne and protect the city from Saracen pirate raids. Built on a steep, rocky hill, the castle was extended in the 13th century by the Archbishop of Narbonne, Guillaume de Broa. In the 17th century, Richelieu ordered the destruction of the building, which was subsequently abandoned.

Characteristics: the site of the tower offers a fairly spectacular panorama, from which you can admire the whole village as well as the coast, the lake, the salt marshes and the port of Gruissan. The cylindrical keep, dating from the late 13th and early 14th centuries, is built of humpbacked stone.

Listed as: Historical Monument since 1948.  

  • Church of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption

Construction: 14th to 19th centuries.

Style: Gothic and Baroque. The church of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption was originally a fortified church, as evidenced by the fact that several loopholes have been preserved in their original size, while others have been enlarged to let in more light.

Characteristics: the four-bay nave is surmounted by an exposed roof frame supported by massive arches, while the choir is rib-vaulted, as is the side chapel. This chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was created in the mid-19th century on the site of the church's former entrance porch. The high altar, installed in 1787, is topped by a particularly imposing baldachin made up of six pink marble columns from Caunes-Minervois. The church tower is a former watchtower of the fortified village.

Special feature: it houses a painting by Jacques Gamelin, painted in 1797, depicting Saint Peter, the patron saint of fishermen. The painting was commissioned by the municipality to commemorate thirty-two fishermen from Gruissan who perished in a terrible accident.


  • Eel bourride

This is a typical dish of the fishermen of Bages and Gruissan. In the land of the ponds, bourride is cooked with a heel of ham and potatoes, topped with a parsley and olive oil sauce. With a glass of AOP Corbières or Fitou white wine, it's a real treat. And if there's room, you can finish with a pine nut tart, another local speciality: with a base of pure butter puff pastry, almond pastry cream, meringue, icing sugar and pine nuts.

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