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Prefecture building in Montpellier
Flag of Hérault
Coat of arms of Hérault
Coat of arms
Location of Hérault in France
Location of Hérault in France
Coordinates: 43°21′N 3°13′E / 43.350°N 3.217°E / 43.350; 3.217Coordinates: 43°21′N 3°13′E / 43.350°N 3.217°E / 43.350; 3.217
 • President of the General CouncilKléber Mesquida (PS)
 • Total6,224 km2 (2,403 sq mi)
 • Total1,132,481
 • Density180/km2 (470/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number34
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Hérault (French: [eʁo];[1] Occitan: Erau [eˈɾaw]) is a department in Southern France named after the Hérault. A part of the Occitanie region, it had a population of 1,132,481 in 2016.


Hérault is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from part of the former province of Languedoc.

At the beginning of the 20th century, viticulture in the wine-growing region was devastated by a slump in sales combined with disease affecting the vines. Thousands of small scale producers revolted. This revolt was suppressed very harshly by the government of Georges Clemenceau.

The catastrophic frost of the winter of 1956 damaged the olive trees, and the olive-growing regions did not recover until the late 1980s. Many of the olive-industry co-ops closed.

During the second half of the twentieth century the Montpellier basin saw some of the most rapid population growth in France.[2]


Hérault is part of the region of Occitanie and is surrounded by the departments of Aude, Tarn, Aveyron, Gard, and the Mediterranean (Gulf of Lion) on the south. The department is geographically very diverse, with beaches in the south, the Cévennes mountains in the north, and agricultural land in between. To define the Hérault, one often tends to compare its territory to an open amphitheater facing the sea. The geography of the Hérault is marked by the diversity of its geology and its landscapes. These range from the southern foothills of the Massif Central, to the Mediterranean Sea, through the areas of garrigue and the low plain of Languedoc wine. The Hérault is bathed by a Mediterranean climate.

The minimum altitude is at sea level and the highest point of the department is at an altitude of 1181m in one of the peaks of Espinouse. The average altitude is about 227m.

View of the Orb River in Roquebrun

The department of Hérault is crossed by several coastal rivers that originated in the southern foothills of the Massif Central to jump into the Mediterranean Sea after a course of general north-south orientation relatively short and high altitude. the main ones are from east to west the Vidourle, which marks the limit with the Gard department, the Lesz which crosses notably Montpellier, the Hérault, which gave its name to the department, and the Orb which waters Béziers.To the west, the Aude Valley, a 224 km river from the Pyrenees, whose course is oriented west-east, forms the limit with the department of the same name. These rivers as well as their tributaries are characterized by their regime, called "cévénol", marked by sudden variations of flow causing sudden and important floods. All along the coast of Herault successive lagoon, some of which have a large area, the largest of which is the Étang de Thau with an area of about 7,500 hectares.

The hinterland of the lowlands of Bas-Languedoc is gradually hilly. It is the territory of the vineyard, olive groves, orchards and scrubland. Olive growing and viticulture symbolize an important part of the Mediterranean heritage and lifestyle.

The area of Hérault near the town of Lodève is the geographical antipode point of Chatham Island off the east coast of New Zealand.

The most populated municipality is Montpellier with 277,639 inhabitants in 2015. The least populated municipality is Romiguières with 27 inhabitants in 2015.


The vast majority of the department can be characterized by a Mediterranean climate. However, the mountainous areas of the northwest have an oceanic influence. Some sectors of northern Herault can for their part know a temperate continental influence.

The average temperature of the summer months is close to the maximum French average. Nevertheless, the sea protects the coastal areas from the extremes of heat waves in summer, but also frosts in winter. They range from about 27 degrees Celsius on the seashore to 32 degrees Celsius inland. Mean minimum temperatures are also very varied, ranging from about 19 degrees Celsius on the coast to 15 degrees Celsius in the interior.



The historical language is Occitan.

Totem animals and local festivals[edit]

Foal of Pézenas
Montpellier's FISE in 2013

International Festival of Extreme Sports (FISE)

  • Sète festivals : Sète's Jazz Festival, Documentary Photo Festival "Imagesingulieres", Poetry Festival "Vivid Voice of the Mediterranean in the Mediterranean"


The Canal du Midi has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.



The agricultural area used in the department is 185,048 hectares, or nearly 30% of the department. Viticulture is important with 85,525 hectares, other arable land is used for orchards (olives, chestnuts, walnuts, plums, apples) with 3,400 hectares, artificial grasslands with 7,090 hectares, vegetable cultivation with 3,788 hectares , the cultivation of cereals with 20,095 hectares, fallows with 4,991 hectares.


Vineyard in Adissan

The vineyard is very old and dates from before the founding of Gallia Narbonensis. The Hérault is today the second French wine department behind the Gironde, representing 14% of the total area of the department. The department has both a favorable climate, excellent exposure, a wide variety of soils and a wide range of grape varieties: all the assets are there to produce generous wines, sometimes robust, with a wide aromatic palette


In the Hérault, shellfish farming represents 8,300 tons of oysters (10% of the national production) and 5,900 tons of mussels a year. The Étang de Thau is a Mecca for growing mussels and oysters in the Mediterranean. Bouzigues oyster farming is practiced on suspended breeding tables and generally in permanent immersion.


Composition of the departmental council[edit]

The President of the General Council is Kléber Mesquida of the Socialist Party.

Party Representative
Majority (36 representatives)
FG 2
PS 16
DVG 15
Opposition (14 representatives)
LR 4
FN 6
President of the General Council
Kléber Mesquida (PS)

Current National Assembly Representatives[edit]

Constituency Member[3] Party
Hérault's 1st constituency Patricia Mirallès La République En Marche!
Hérault's 2nd constituency Muriel Ressiguier La France Insoumise
Hérault's 3rd constituency Coralie Dubost La République En Marche!
Hérault's 4th constituency Jean-François Eliaou La République En Marche!
Hérault's 5th constituency Philippe Huppé La République En Marche!
Hérault's 6th constituency Emmanuelle Ménard National Rally
Hérault's 7th constituency Christophe Euzet La République En Marche!
Hérault's 8th constituency Nicolas Démoulin La République En Marche!
Hérault's 9th constituency Patrick Vignal La République En Marche!

List of successive presidents[edit]

Departmental council's building of Hérault department
Election Member Party
1961 Jean Bène SFIO
1973 PS
1979 Gérard Saumade PS
1998 André Vézinhet PS
2015 Kléber Mesquida PS


The inhabitants of the department are called Héraultais.


BLMA's team in 2015
Montpellier Handball's team in 2016
Match between Montpellier Water-Polo and VK Jug in 2012


Club League
Barracudas de Montpellier D1


Club League
EuroCup Women
EuroLeague Women

Beach soccer[edit]

Club League
Grande Motte Pyramide Beach Soccer French Beach Football Championship
Montpellier Hérault Beach Soccer French Beach Football Championship


Club League
AS Béziers Ligue 2
Montpellier HSC Ligue 1
Montpellier HSC (Women) Division 1 Féminine
FC Sète 34 N2


Club League
Montpellier Handball Division 1
EHF Champions League


Club League
Béziers Volley (Women) Ligue AF
Arago de Sète Ligue AM
Montpellier Volley Université Club Ligue AM


Club League
Rugby olympique agathois Fédérale 1
AS Béziers Hérault Pro D2
Montpellier Hérault Rugby Top 14
European Rugby Champions Cup
Montpellier Hérault Rugby (Women) Top 8

Water polo[edit]

Club League
Montpellier Water-Polo Pro A

Specific sports[edit]

There are several specific sports in the Hérault: the Tamburello (85% of French players) and the Water jousting.


Popular tourist attractions[edit]

Part of Cap d'Agde is a major nudist resort.

Cruising along the Canal du Midi and walking or cycling along the tow paths is a popular holiday option.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hérault - Deutsch-Übersetzung - Langenscheidt Französisch-Deutsch Wörterbuch" (in German and French). Langenscheidt. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  2. ^ Hoad, Phil (2017-03-13). "Montpellier in the spotlight: development mania in France's fastest-growing city". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  3. ^ http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/

External links[edit]