The second largest lake in France, the Étang de Thau is a beautiful and diverse basin in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in Southern France. The basin is composed of several lagoons, and connects to important rivers and cities.
Connecting to important places like the Canal du Rhone, Bordeaux, Sète, and the Mediterranean, the Étang de Thau is dotted with harbors, villages, and beautiful landscapes.
The northern part of the basin is mostly occupied by fishing villages. These villages not only produce delicious fish, but also a large supply of fresh shellfish, especially oysters. Because of the high quality of the water in the basin, the product doesn’t have to be processed, and can be eaten as soon as it is caught.
The east of the Étang de Thau, in contrast to the north, is a mostly industrial area. The economy is not neatly separated, however, meaning that all the regions of the basin contribute to the production of seafood, as well as to tourism and industry.
Another reason why the Étang de Thau is considered so highly important to the country is its rich fauna and flora. The Étang is home to several species — from bird to fish to plants — that are not found in many places in Europe. The prime example of this is the beautiful pink flamingos that are found in few places outside of the region.
We’ll be visiting Étang de Thau on Ralph Grizzle’s June 17, 2015 barge cruise in the south of France.