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La Grande Motte – a Coastal Gem

With the International Multihull Show, La Grande Motte approaching fast, we thought we would take a look at this French seaside town close to Montpellier and what makes it such an interesting place to visit.

la grande motte beach dog

La Grande Motte is a picturesque seaside town nestled on the Mediterranean coast of southern France that boasts a rich history, interesting architecture and plenty for visitors to enjoy. Formerly marshland, it has been transformed into a modern holiday destination and is popular with the sailing community.

It’s the home base for Outremer and Gunboat, and offers something for every traveller, whether it’s admiring its unique buildings, relaxing over lunch of moules, or simply taking in the Mediterranean sun.

History and Location

Located in the Occitania region, La Grande Motte lies between Montpellier and Nîmes, making it a handy stop for travellers exploring the south of France. Despite its modern appearance, the area has an interesting history dating back to ancient times when it was primarily marshland.

In the 1960s, the French architect Jean Balladur helped to transform the area into a modern resort town. His vision came to fruition, and La Grande Motte is now a famous example of avant-garde architecture and urban planning.

The Weather in April, What to Wear

April in La Grande Motte, when the Catamaran Show takes place, brings milder temperatures and blossoming flora. With an average temperature ranging from 11°C to 19°C (52°F to 66°F), April offers pleasant weather for outdoor activities.

You can expect sunny days with occasional showers, so it’s advisable to pack layers and waterproof attire for the boat show. But pack some shorts and t-shirts as well! It can be warm in the sun during the day. Make sure you have something warmer for the evenings.

Top Things to Do

Explore the Architecture
One of the most interesting aspects of La Grande Motte is its distinctive architecture made famous by its futuristic buildings and geometric shapes: the pyramids. Take a stroll along the promenade or rent a bicycle to soak in the works of Jean Balladur, including the iconic pyramids and sail-like shapes. This is a working town, the home base of Outremer and Gunboat, so there is plenty going on.

Relax on the Beaches
With its long sandy beaches lapped by the Mediterranean Sea, La Grande Motte is a great spot for sunbathing if the weather is playing ball, swimming, or enjoying water sports such as sailing and windsurfing. You might need a wetsuit in April though, unless it’s a quick dip. Plage du Couchant and Plage du Ponant are popular for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts alike.

Visit the Port
This is where you’ll spend most of your time at the show, and a walk around the extended port to check out the yachts is worth the effort. You’ll see a lot of Outremers here of course, and if you are lucky a Gunboat or two. And there are always plenty of Lagoons, Fountaine-Pajots and Catanas tied up. The pace of life is less hectic in April, but there are still plenty of shops and waterfront restaurants to explore.

Discover the Area’s Natural Beauty
It’s also worth exploring beyond the town to discover the natural beauty of the Camargue region. There are some good walks and horseback riding trips through the salt marshes and lagoons to the south-east of La Grande Motte. The area is home to diverse flora and fauna including flamingos and wild horses.

things to do camargue

Not far from La Grande-Motte in the heart of the Camargue, is Aigues-Mortes, a medieval city. The town has a long history linked to the crusades and templars and in the 17th century it was the most powerful port on the Mediterranean coast.

Developed under Louis IX to develop maritime trade, the city protected the kingdom of France from invaders from the East. Walk to the Constance tower, visit the Notre-Dame-des-Sablons church, explore the Place Saint-Louis or check out the chapel of the brotherhood of the Pénitents Gris.

Where to Eat

For a no-frills, delicious lunch or dinner in La Grande Motte, order the local mussels at “Le Roi de la Moule” or Chez Tetel. Near the marina, this restaurant specializes in fresh seafood dishes, with moules marinières (mussels in white wine sauce) being the signature dish. Pair your meal with a crisp glass of local white wine and enjoy the flavours of the Mediterranean.

In addition to “Le Rio de Moules,” other great restaurants in La Grande Motte include:

– Le Marin’Sol. Close to the port, this is the most popular restaurant with the Yacht Show crowd (it’s pretty close to the Outremer yard), so book early. Good pizza and lamb and a buzzy atmosphere, especially on show days.
343 Avenue Robert Fages, 34280 La Grande-Motte, FR. Reservations: 04 99 62 76 32

– Le Flow – lounge bar to chill out in that serves tapas an delicious desserts

– Le Bistrot du Port: A cozy bistro located in the heart of the marina, known for its seafood stews, fresh salads, and desserts.

la grande motte beach view


La Grande Motte is not a well-known destination to travellers, but that’s all part of the appeal. With the pyramids, the flamingos and its natural beauty, this French town offers visitors a unique coastal experience with history, culture, and good food. Get off the beaten track and have an explore while you are at the boat show!