Autignac is a sleepy, yet authentic working village, surrounded by vineyards and rolling countryside with views onto the Haut Languedoc mountains. The village has all the shops for your basic requirements, including a bakery, butchers, chemist, post office, grocery and café bar. The latter also serves great value lunches where you will mingle with local professionals and artisans alike.
There is also a small twice weekly market in the village (in the area behind the café-bar). When the market is in town, you will hear announcements advertising the wares that are available at the market on that day via a public intercom. Whilst not massive, it is still worth taking in, if only to see the cheese stall. Be prepared for a long wait, the cheese man is not to be rushed and takes a particular delight in wrapping his wares.
The village has several areas for petanque where you can hone your skills or watch the experts.
The main charm of the village is to simply stroll around the maze of streets and to wonder at some of the beautiful properties to be seen there (not least the one that faces our house). Depending on the time of year, you will take in beautiful tree-lined streets, the smell of burning vine wood, and watch local wine producers going about their business. If you stroll around the village in the evening, you will be taking in ink-black skies to a backdrop of virtual silence. If the night-life of Benidorm is your thing, then I suspect Autignac is not for you.
We will not go through every town, but some of our favourites include;
Pezenas – (20 mins to the East) Pezenas was the home of Moliere and an artists haven, it is a beautiful old town with cobbled streets and great boutiques/craft shops and restaurants. If possible, you should take in the weekly market which takes place every Saturday. The food stalls in particular are excellent and you will find it hard to resist the stalls selling olive nuts, cold meats, cheeses and wild honey etc. After the market, you should stop off for lunch in one of the many restaurants nestling in the beautiful ancient streets that run parallel to the main street.
Beziers – (15 mins to the South) This is a historical city which is good for shopping, sightseeing and has many bars, restaurants and pavement cafes. There is a flower market on Fridays.
Roquebrun – (20 mins to the West) This town is approximately 20 minutes away, and well worth seeing for its stunning setting on a hillside, overlooking the winding River Orb. If you approach the town from the south, there are some stunning vantage points for the obligatory photo shoot. At the top of the village there is a Mediterranean garden.
Magalas – (5 mins to the South) This is the one of the nearest villages to Autignac, and whilst it has a pretty square, its main attraction is it’s lively café-bar (Excalibur). It is never dull here, and despite appearances, is a great eatery. This is a good venue for sporting events on the wide screen, if you like a bit of atmosphere with your sport. The main charm is the mix of life that you will undoubtedly see, from toddlers to grannies, but all in a convivial and warm atmosphere. For those that wish to imbibe, there is a taxi service from Magalas as well.
The roads around Autignac are relatively traffic free, encouraging you to explore the countryside.
30 minutes to the north-east is Lake Salagou, where you can kayak, jet ski, sail or paddleboat. Also 15 minutes to the west and just south of Roquebrun, is a canoeing centre with white water facilities.
The Mediterranean sea is under 30 minutes from Autignac. Here you will find Aqualand which is open in the summer months.
Autignac is one of the seven communes that make up the Faugeres wine appellation. There are a number of wine producing chateaus in Autignac where you can purchase wine directly.
Valras plage provides continuous length of soft sand, safe for children to play and includes many playground areas. The beach front has many restaurants providing fresh seafood as well as regional dishes and some children's specials.
Serignan is also a beautiful sandy beach and a little quieter than Valras, with only a few places to eat. There are also pony rides/trekking available nearby.