Climbing Pic St Loup

We are constantly surprised by the beauty surrounding Montpellier. When most people think of the South of France, they think of maybe beaches, cities, yachts, that kind of thing. But the best thing about France isn’t its beaches, or its cities, as great as many of those cities might be. It’s the mixture of immensely beautiful nature and old villages which are scattered between the beautiful nature.

pic st loup

Just north of Montpellier is the Languedoc-Roussillon’s most popular wine-growing region, which centres around Pic St Loup, Montpellier’s “local mountain.” This is one of our favourite areas near where we live and one of the loveliest places to go walking and get lost.

pic st loup montpellier

One sunny weekend we decided to rent a car, drive ourselves over to the village of Cazevielle, from where we heard you could walk up to the top of Pic St Loup – the big pointy one.

Pic St Loup

Once parked in Cazevielle we looked around for signs. There were none. Luckily there was a couple who looked like they knew what they were doing so we followed them and began the pleasant walk up.

Everything was going well until we discovered that it was becoming a bit harder than expected.  But we kept going and soon found that we’d become that couple that looked like they knew what we were doing, and we were being followed. It was only when we stopped and started looking up at the kind of rockface that would probably require more equipment than… well, any equipment really that we questioned whether we’d missed something.

So we turned back and took a different turn.  Those following us didn’t follow us again.   We’d deceived them once already, albeit accidentally. This route, which also seemed exceedingly difficult, did eventually get us to the top.  I couldn’t help thinking as I was clambering up and grabbing onto trees, that there must be another way. Nobody on tripadvisor mentioned that this was hard.

At least I was better dressed for climbing a mountain than last time. pic climb

At the top though I was grateful that we’d decided to keep climbing (and hope the poor couple that had originally followed us found another route up too) because the view up there is absolutely worth every graze and bramble in the hair.

Jono on the edge At the top is a steep drop, a chapel, a giant cross, and a little shop, which was in fact just two people playing cards with an ice box full of coke.

giant cross

After several moments enjoying the view, staring at the plaque dedicated to the guy who died climbing it and trying to identify different points on the map at the top, we decided to head down.

Following a couple of others down we found the route down surprisingly easy and it was only when we got back to the point where we’d started dragging ourselves up rocks that we found that we’d decided, accidentally to take the hardest walking route. Further down we found a family sitting there with an exasperated child asking in French, how much further. The woman, who must have heard us speaking in English asked us, in English, how far it was. We said about half an hour to 45 minutes. She turned around and told her son, in French, ten minutes more. Oh the joys of bilingual lying.

Down at the bottom the area around Pic St Loup is made up of wineries and plenty of tiny villages, many of them medieval with amazing old buildings, some of them more active than others.  We were still at that point where we assumed there’d be a restaurant in every village but after a couple of stops in sleepy (read: actually sleeping) villages we found that there was nothing, not a smidgen of life, except cats.  anna cat

jono and cat

Jono’s post on hiking pic st loup

Coming next: The wine tour of Pic St Loup

21 Responses to Climbing Pic St Loup

  1. This happened to me this weekend – we unknowingly took the hardest route up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh haha, but I think yours was a little more intense than ours!

    • anna says:

      You know I’ve never done any hiking in Edinburgh, but I just bought my first pair of proper hiking shoes (I know – unbelievable considering the amount of walking we do) and I’d really love to go do Arthur’s Seat!

  2. Bill Facker says:

    Love the subtle “Do Not Climb the Cross” message .. clear and concise! I envy your day .. right down to the kitty fellowship. Aloha

    • anna says:

      The animals in France are one of my favourite things – apart from when they leave presents, that’s not fun. And yes, that cross was quite inviting ;)

  3. Jenna says:

    Wow! That view looks absolutely stunning – funny enough I’ve never been as interested in visiting Paris, Cannes, or Nice, as I have heading to the wine region or the countryside. You’ve confirmed my initial thinking :)

    • anna says:

      They’ve all got their plus points! But the countryside of Provence and the Languedoc is definitely more special, in my opinion :)

  4. miss b says:

    This part of France has been on my list for quite some time and those views show just how much this area has to offer. Stunning photos!
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

  5. Lulu says:

    Beautiful. The Tour de France helicopter filmed this and it looked stunning

    • anna says:

      Oh yes it would have done! We caught the TDF further up in Provence and it was loads of fun. So much of France left to explore!

  6. Jamie Gunter says:

    This is so beautiful! I loved Nice but it was so busy. This area just looks so calm and serene. Thanks for sharing :)

    • anna says:

      You’re welcome Jamie – it is very serene but the areas just outside of Nice are beautiful and serene too, and loads of beautiful little villages. I think it just takes getting out of the city.

  7. Miho says:

    that is simply one stunning view! i’d love to make it there soon x

  8. It’s so beautiful up there! What a lovely day for a hike, too! We haven’t been getting many of those in London lately.

    We did a little hiking in Austria this week, but it was FREEZING! My fingers even stopped being able to press the shutter button on my camera!

    • anna says:

      Haha I hate that! It’s a constant battle of gloves vs camera. Ooh Austria would be beautiful though right now I imagine. Snowy peaks and sunshine is what I’m imagining!

  9. […] beautiful are these mountains in the South of France? I would love to go hiking […]

  10. That´s great that you enjoyed the Pic Saint Loup´s wonderful view. :) i found it quite hard too when I went to the top 2 years ago. La jolie vue doit se mériter, pfiou!!!

  11. Erica says:

    What a beautiful view! At least you got an authentic experience scrambling up it :)

  12. Sara Louise says:

    It’s breathtaking! I have a feeling your photos going forward are going to make me homesick ;)

  13. Anwar says:

    I love the bilingual lying heh. I’ve seen that happen in many places even here in the US. What a lovely climb and perhaps you have a better story having taken the more difficult route.

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