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Canal du Rhône à Sète
Coat of arms of Palavas-les-Flots
Coat of arms
Palavas-les-Flots is located in France
Coordinates: 43°31′49″N 3°55′53″E / 43.5303°N 3.9314°E / 43.5303; 3.9314Coordinates: 43°31′49″N 3°55′53″E / 43.5303°N 3.9314°E / 43.5303; 3.9314
Country France
Region Occitanie
Department Hérault
Arrondissement Montpellier
Canton Lattes
Intercommunality Pays de l'Or
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Christian Jeanjean
Area1 2.38 km2 (0.92 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 6,034
 • Density 2,500/km2 (6,600/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 34192 /34250
Elevation 0–3 m (0.0–9.8 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Palavas-les-Flots is a commune in the Hérault department in the Occitanie region in southern France.


Palavas is a seaside resort, some six km south of Montpellier, at the Gulf of Lion and the Mediterranean. It lies on a strip of sand dunes that separates two lakes, the Étang de l'Arnel and the Étang du Méjean, from the sea. Its neighbouring communities are Lattes, Pérols, Mauguio and Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone. The village center is located at the spot where the river Lez flows into the sea through a canalized section. Northwards, it stretches until Mauguio. Southwards, expansion is halted by a military area and an area used by the Ifremer.


The village originated as a fishermen's village who sold their catch on the markets of Montpellier. The Ancien Régime used the village as a coastal defence, building the Redoute de Ballestras.

The historical train from Montpellier to Palavas, now exhibited in Montpellier

From the beginning of the 19th century, local tourists and seasonal activities were drawn to the village. When in 1872 a local train to and from Montpellier started service, seaside tourism really took off. This train operated until 1968 and was painted by Albert Dubout.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1962 2,081 —    
1968 2,390 +14.8%
1975 3,345 +40.0%
1982 4,062 +21.4%
1990 4,748 +16.9%
1999 5,421 +14.2%
2008 6,034 +11.3%


The mainstay of Palavas' economy is tourism. It is one of the most popular places in this part of France's coastline. In the film Les Triplettes de Belleville, there is a song about the village. Apart from strolling, bathing and tanning there are also two museums: one dedicated to Albert Dubout and one dedicated to the local train to Montpellier.

The 45m high former local water tower can be seen from afar and features a revolving restaurant on top and a congress centre.

International relations[edit]

Palavas-les-Flots is twinned with:

See also[edit]


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