Sights Activities

Extending through Le Cap d'Agde and to east and west are 14km of wide sandy beaches, including the three Plages Richelieu in the heart of the resort and Plage Naturiste, a long strand at the eastern end that's reserved for nudists.

Cannons and cannonballs, swords encrusted with barnacles, pottery, jars and ranks of amphorae, a spare cranium, brooches, axe heads and so much more: the Musée de l'Éphèbe ( % 04 67 94 69 60; Mas de la Clape; adult/10-18yr/under 10yr €4.50/1.80/free; S 9am-7pm Mon-Fri, noon-7pm Sat & Sun Jul & Aug, 9am-noon & 2pm-6pm Wed-Sat & Mon, 2pm-6pm Sun Sep-Jun), a museum of marine archaeology, is a delight. Rarely for a museum and perhaps because most finds were made in the last 25 years, the divers and underwater archaeologists who made the discoveries receive credit and are named and pictured. Particularly well laid out and documented, it takes its name from l'Éphèbe, its prime piece and a sensational bronze male statue. Unlike so many Roman bronze statues, which were melted down and recycled, it lay for centuries under the sea's protection until it was discovered and hauled ashore in 1964. Two other highlights are a bronze statuette of Eros, barely 70cm high, armless, with elaborately curled hair and piercing eyes of silver foil, and another of a young Roman boy, altogether more finely crafted.

At the aquarium ( % 04 67 26 14 21; www.aquar in French; 11 rue des Deux Frères; adult/child €6.90/4.90; S10am-11pm Jul & Aug, 2-6pm Sep-Jun), 28 saltwater tanks, representing Mediterranean and tropical marine habitats, house everyday and exotic creatures such as sea horses, octopuses, eels and a shark or two.

There's plenty of liquid fun at Aqualand ( % 04 67 26 85 94; in French; av des Îles d'Amérique; adult/child €24/17.50; h 10am-6pm or 7pm Jun-Aug), with options ranging from gentle drifting to an adrenalin-pumping 20m vertical freefall drop.

Centre Nautique du Cap d'Agde ( % 04 67 01 46 46;; av du Passeur Challiès; h 9am-8pm Jul & Aug, 9am-12.30pm & 2-6pm Sep-Jun), based at Plage Richelieu Est, offers courses in sailing, for both children and adults, and surf-boarding. It hires out surfboards, catamarans, dinghies and canoes.

No less than eight outfits offer diving courses and equipment hire. But there's no need for special equipment to enjoy the Sentier Sous-Marin ( h mid-Jun-mid-Sep),just off the beach of La Plagette. As you explore this free underwater signed trail, you swim through and above five distinct environments, each with its characteristic plants and other marine life.

The dour structure visible out to sea looks like some Mediterranean Alcatraz. And indeed Fort Brescou was just that. On a small stub of a volcanic island, it was constructed as a defensive fort, then served as a prison. Between Easter and October pleasure boats visit it from both Le Cap d'Agde and Le Grau d'Agde.

Le Village Naturiste is a little township in itself with well over 20,000 bare bodies in high season: vegans and sun worshippers, lots of ordinary people who just like slipping their clothes off (somehow naturisme sounds so much more, well, natural than nudism) and out-and-out raunchy swingers.

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