Etang de Thau

Max. Length 21 km
Max. Width 8 km
Surface Area 7.012 ha
Average Depth 4m
Surface Elevation 0 m

Located in Languedoc-Roussillon in Southern France, just a stone's throw from the Mediterranean, the Thau Bassin (or Etang) is the largest in Languedoc. This expanse of brackish water is separated from the sea by a narrow stretch of sand and offers ideal conditions for shellfish farming. It stretches from Mont Saint Clair near Sète to the Cap d'Agde. Situated in a very sought-after region, it is also a place of interest where many leisure activities are available.

Thau Bassin is foremost a privileged environment for many fauna and flora species; sea lettuces, molluscs, gulls and pink flamingos especially. It is actively preserved and the quality of water is carefully controlled. The wilder area is the ‘Angle’ ,the tip at the north of the Balaruc peninsula where the lake is fed by a freshwater source.

Etang de Thau Activities

Etang de Thau is highly appreciated by fishermen who can fish fine catches of different species: bass, bream, eels, urchins, crabs, prawns, mussels, clams, oysters... Free diving caught shellfish is also prevalent. It is particularly suitable for shellfish farming and provides a significant input for the local fishing industry.

As a tourist area, the Thau Bassin has many water activities. Lake sailing is one of the favourite local hobbies. Do not worry if you are only beginner as several schools provide lessons. More active sports are also on offer such as windsurfing, water skiing and canoeing amongst others.

The Thau Bassin is also economically important and has several ports:

Fishing harbours
  • Sète: le Barrou, la Pointe Courte
  • Bouzigues
  • Mèze: le Mourre Blanc
  • Marseillan
  • Sète: le Barrou, la Corniche
  • Balaruc-les-Bains
  • Bouzigues
  • Mèze
  • Marseillan

Etang de Thau Tourism and Culture

The Thau Bassin is bordered by several charming communes and fishing villages. There are so many places of interest for you to discover and benefit from a lively cultural life within a preserved environment. Some are listed below.

  • Bouzigues: bordering the Thau pond, this fishing village is very typical of the Mediterranean area. The nice promenade is really worth the detour and the local produce is wonderful. Traditions have their pride of place and its narrow alleyways retain a bygone charm. This picturesque port is famous for its delightful oysters and mussels.

  • Thau Lake Museum: dedicated to the Thau Pond, this museum has been created to promote this noteworthy natural spot but also to pass on ancestral local traditions and know-how. It outlines the life of a fishermen and makes you discover shellfish farming in a playful but educational way.

  • Sète: between Thau Lake and the Mediterranean Sea, it is nicknamed ‘Venice of the Languedoc’. This southern coastal town boasts a gorgeous seafront promenade, lovely beaches and canals but also stunning food delights and a very typical cultural identity. This charming town clearly has lots to offer and is not to pass by!

  • Balaruc-les-Bains: the second biggest spa resort in France, Balaruc les Bains has deeply rooted traditions of a relaxed way of life. The tambourine game - a mix of table tennis and traditional Basque sport - and lake jousting are examples of local activities. The preserved green environment also boasts beautiful gardens.