The 16 must-do things to do in Gruissan

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Elia Tabuenca García
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Summary
  • 1. The village and the port
  • 2. Barbarossa Tower
  • 3. Pirat'Parc
  • 4. Notre-Dame-des-Auzils Chapel and its marine cemetery
  • 5. The cottage district
  • 6. The salt marsh of the island of Saint-Martin and its ecomuseum
  • 7. The church of Gruissan
  • 8. The Eco-Station
  • 9. Board sports
  • 10. The Little Red Train
  • 11. The Balneoludic Park
  • 12. Beaches
  • 13. The Ponds
  • 14. The Clape Massif
  • 15. Summer events
  • 16. Culinary specialities
  • How do I get to Gruissan?
  • Where to stay in Gruissan?

Visiting Gruissan: what are the best things to do and see in this pretty little seaside resort in the South of France?

Situated in the Occitanie region, in the department of Aude, Gruissan is a small fishing village, full of tradition, where it is good to stroll in all seasons. Only a few kilometres from Narbonne, in the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional de la Narbonnaise in the Mediterranean, the Gruissan coastline is one of the least urbanised in France. However, Gruissan is much more dynamic in the summer, as it is also a charming seaside resort, with a "Blue Flag" label. This charming village, between sea and ponds, far away from the big tourist resorts of the Mediterranean, is just waiting for you. You wonder what to do in Gruissan? We tell you everything here!


Also read :
The 21 must-do things to do in Occitania
14 Cathar castles to visit in Occitania
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1. The village and the port

Are you coming to visit Gruissan? Know that it is the only port village in circulation in Occitania. That's, moreover, what makes it so charming! In fact, its typical alleys form circles around the Tower which proudly sits on top of its rock and dominates the ponds. Stroll through its typical Mediterranean-coloured alleyways, then head towards the port to enjoy an ice cream while watching the boats from the harbour master's office. In the evening, a little trip to the Casino le Pheobus guarantees you a pleasant moment.

2. Barbarossa Tower

The tower was erected in the 13th century to protect Gruissan from maritime invasions. Perched at an altitude of 35 m, it watches over the village it overlooks, with the pond and the Clape massif as a backdrop. A magnificent 360° viewpoint!

3. Pirat'Parc

If you are travelling with your family and are looking for something to do in Gruissan with children, you can opt for an afternoon at Pirat'Parc. Sensational rides, Ferris wheel, ghost train, 6D cinema, but also shows and catering service... Here, everything is done to spend a pleasant time with your whole tribe!

4. Notre-Dame-des-Auzils Chapel and its marine cemetery

The chapel Notre Dame des Auzils is a pilgrimage site for the fishermen of Gruissan and is not to be missed if you come to visit Gruissan. It is located on the heights, in the Massif de la Clape. Inside, you will find a beautiful collection of model ships, marine ex-voto's and modern stained glass windows.


You can reach it by a sacred path called "Allée des Naufragés" (Path of the Shipwrecked). Along the way, cenotaphs (graves without bodies) are erected in memory of the Gruissan sailors who disappeared at sea.

5. The cottage district

If there is something unique not to be missed if you come to visit Gruissan, it is this district, which brings together 1300 chalets on stilts, built in a checkerboard pattern. These small cabins were made famous by Jean-Jacques Beineix's film 37.2° le matin. It is truly a unique place in France, offering a friendly atmosphere.

6. The salt marsh of the island of Saint-Martin and its ecomuseum

Wondering what to do in Gruissan? On the edge of the village of Gruissan and over 400 hectares, the salt marshes stretch out. This is where the white gold of the region is extracted: Gruissan sea salt. The beauty of the area is not only appreciated by tourists and locals alike. Thousands of migratory birds find refuge here throughout the seasons.

The paid visit promises you a magical moment. During this unique moment, you will be able to watch the flower of salt being harvested. This ancestral know-how will be explained to you in detail at the Ecomuseum of Saltworks, through an exhibition of old tools, accessories and other stories and photos of sauniers.

7. The church of Gruissan

You can't visit Gruissan without passing by the church. It is located in the centre of the village, just at the foot of the Barberousse Tower. Dating from the 13th century, it is one of the oldest buildings in the village. Come back without a noise in the middle of its stone walls, and enjoy the atmosphere of the place.


8. The Eco-Station

To move along the coast and visit Gruissan in the most environmentally friendly way, go to the Eco-station of Gruissan. A pioneer in the field, this eco-station was opened in 2014 and offers a global service around a zero CO2 emission park: electric cars, electric bicycles, bicycles, gyropods, shuttles, make your choice! Take advantage of your visit to test these means of locomotion!

9. Board sports

If there is indeed a spot for the amateurs of sliding sports and sensation, it is here! Every year, competitions attracting the biggest names take place in Gruissan. But even without being a champion, if you're looking for something to do in Gruissan, you can enjoy the ideal conditions to learn kite surfing or windsurfing. Otherwise, kayaking on the pond, catamaran or paddle are offered by many rental companies during the high season.

10. The Little Red Train

In July and August, take the little red train to visit Gruissan. For 5€, enjoy a one hour commented tour through the village, the salt marshes and the chalets. A fun activity in the middle of beautiful landscapes, which will please young and old alike.

11. The Balneoludic Park

Ideal for a family day out, there is something for everyone: the children will have fun in the middle of the lagoons, water geysers and other slides in the aquatic area, while the adults will relax in the wellness area for a treatment or a massage.

12. Beaches

Still wondering what to do in Gruissan? Why not sunbathe on one of the 5 beaches in the town? The Mateille beach is flat and very extensive and in its continuation you will find the Ayguades beach, ideal for families because of its shallow waters.

The beach of the Chalets is of course a must, where you will find a beach volleyball court and sailing school. As for the Grazel beach, it is the closest to the city centre and the marina. Finally, if you're looking for peace and quiet, opt for the Plage Vieille Nouvelle, also called the "beach of the salt marshes". It is without doubt the wildest beach in Gruissan.

13. The Ponds

An exceptional natural heritage, the ponds of Gruissan are a must to discover, but also to protect and preserve. Classified " Natura 2000 ", their fauna and flora are absolutely incredible.
The commune has five of them:

  • The pond of Campignol,
  • The pond of Gruissan,
  • But also Mateille's pond,
  • The pond of the Grazel,
  • And the pond of Ayrolle.

14. The Clape Massif

A few minutes from the village, the massif of La Clape is a true haven of preserved peace. You will find there magnificent footpaths and mountain bike circuits, in the heart of an exceptional nature.

Organised mountain bike rides as well as guided rides on electric scooters by the pond are also available, to visit Gruissan in an original way.

15. Summer events

When spring arrives, Gruissan comes alive and offers activities that will delight young and old alike. Among the most famous, the Kite Challenge followed by the Wind Challenge in May, snow sports competitions bringing together world champions and friends in an incredible atmosphere.

A must-see if you come to visit Gruissan at the end of May is the festejades. This is 3 days of festivities in the town, punctuated by the sound of bandas bands. A festive and warm atmosphere, full of tradition and conviviality.

You can also attend the comic book meetings in April, the Saint Peter's Day (traditional fishermen's festival) at the end of June or the Pilgrimage to Notre Dame des Auzils, on Easter and Pentecost Mondays and on 15 August.

16. Culinary specialities

You can't visit Gruissan without tasting the local specialities. You won't be able to resist a good seafood platter, the mussel brasucade, the sardinade, the Bourride d'Anguilles or the pine nut tart! And of course, a hint of Gruissan fleur de sel to liven things up, all accompanied by a glass of local wine from the Coteaux du littoral audois.

How do I get to Gruissan?

You feel like visiting Gruissan and you wonder how to get there?

  • The simplest way is by road, in particular so that you can then move around as you please. All you have to do is take the motorway in the direction of Narbonne. At the "Narbonne Est" junction, take the direction "Les plages".
  • If you decide to come by train, you will arrive at the Narbonne TGV station, located about 15 kilometres away. To get to Gruissan, you can take line 8 of the Citibus network which connects Gruissan and Narbonne.
  • Finally, if you travel by plane, the nearest airport is Béziers airport, located 50 km away. Don't hesitate to go to a flight comparator such as Skyscanner, to help you find the best prices.

Where to stay in Gruissan?

If you choose to visit Gruissan, especially during the summer period, you will surely not be alone. So don't forget to book your accommodation in advance, especially with the help of this hotel comparator, which lists the cheapest rates according to your departure dates.

Summer in the south of France often rhymes with camping, for the amateurs. The commune of Gruissan has 5 of them, from the simplest to the 4* campsite. Pitch in a tent or small room in a mobile home, you just have to make your choice.

In high season, you will also find a good number of small gîtes, some holiday villages, or standard hotels, from 40€ per night.

Finally, one of the best solutions to stay in Gruissan is the Airbnb. Some even offer nights on board a sailing boat! Or maybe you will be lucky enough to find a room to rent in one of the famous chalets on stilts?

Airbnb Gruissan : the best Airbnb rentals in Gruissan
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