Herepian Bell Museum in South France
Where is Hérépian in South France?
Hérépian is a small ‘typical’ village in the south of France. The village is located in the Herault hinterland and fringes on Languedoc National Park. Beziers Cap d’Agde Airport is the nearest (35 km) while Montpellier and Toulouse airports are the major airports between 1.5h – 2.5h from Hérépian. Cheap Ryanair flights to Beziers from Stanstead, Luton, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh airports are regularly available.
Beziers car hire is available from the Beziers airport, Beziers Gare SNCF (railway station) and from Beziers city. Beziers bus and train services run daily to Montpellier and other major hubs like Narbonne and Toulouse. Carcassonne Castle in the department of Aude, Occitanie region is a big drawcard to South France and only 2 hours from Herepian.
French Village Life
The centrally located church is surrounded by quaint old stone houses with views to the Orb and Mare Valleys. Le Orb (river) flows through major South France cities like Beziers, Bedarieux as well as the tiny village of Herepian, before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea, in Valras-Plage. The small French village has all the necessary amenities plus a massive Intermarche a few kilometres up the road.
Humble Beginnings | Hérépian Foundry
Herepian was established on the growth of its commodities such as silver ore from neighbouring municipalities. Today, the Hérépian village focal point and meeting place is the village square outside the Herepian Mairie office and Herepian Bell Museum.
Herepian Bell Museum | Bell Foundry
Since the 1600s the Granier family have been involved in metal manufacturing. Originally, the family were nail manufacturers and later became cowbell makers. Around 1920, Joseph Granier built a new factory in Castanet le Bas, where water was more readily available and started producing little spherical bells. In 1931, Grainer realised there was a demand for church bells and obtained the necessary plans in Germany.
In 1970, Francois Grainer, the manager at the time, gradually transferred its manufacturing activities to a new location in Herepian, where the factory was larger and in a more accessible location. At the time of its closure in 2011, the Herepian foundry was the oldest foundry in France and the only one to make three sorts of bells: cowbells used for the cattle, little spherical bells and church bells.
Cowbells & Church Bells
Hérépian bell museum displays different manufacturing techniques, production processes of the old bell foundry, property of the Granier family since 1600; including copper bells, cowbells and church bells. The remarkable Herepian Museum of La Cloche was built in recognition of the Grainer family and the need to preserve the history of the bell foundry. The Museum is accessible by Greenway ‘Passa Pais’, (80km track – for cyclists, walkers, horseriders) which is located on the site of the old Herepian train station. Companies like Free Wheeling France offer bike tours and accommodation that incorporates a visit to the village of Hérépian.
7-18 and students: €4
Under 7 free
Disabled: €4.50 (
Family: €4 for adults and €2 between 7 and 18
Pro Tip: Displays are in French however a booklet is available in other languages. The museum has a lift and caters for both hearing and visually impaired visitors.
Rick Stein Visits Hérépian | 15 Minutes of Fame
Rick Stein, English chef, restauranteur, television present and author paid a Hérépian local charcuterie ‘La charcuterie Cabrié à’, a personal visit during his 2005 BBC French Odyssey series. Like the BBC Television series, Rick Stein recipe books inspire travellers and are popular year round gifts. His 2016 recipe book ‘Rick Stein Long Weekends‘ is a mouthwatering collection of 100+ recipes from multiple European cities including France.
In the middle of the village and opposite the Herepian Catholic church, you will find the fine dining restaurant, l’Ocre Rouge. The Herepian Restaurant is set in a large vaulted dining room and the menu is created to incorporate the fresh local produce of the season. Wine produced in the Languedoc region dominate the wine list.
On the main street and opposite the village square is L’ Artichaud, a large tavern frequented by locals and filled with eclectic memorabilia. Large groups gather there for meals and a aperitif or digestif. It is always a good place to connect to free wi-fi when travelling without an international sim.
Over the last few decades, Languedoc Roussillon real estate has seen an increase in real estate purchases from foreign buyers, particularly English and Australians. Booking.com, Airbnb and holiday letting have enabled visitors the opportunity to experience village life in South France. Couvent d Herepian (17th century convent) attracts visitors looking for a more luxurious Hérépian experience.
Greenways | Between Mazamet and Bédarieux Without Taking The Road!
Check out my blog for more information about Hérépian and other gorgeous French villages along the ‘The French ‘Passa Pais‘. You can download the ‘Greenway’ guide here. Another village worth visiting is St Gervais Sur Mare especially during chestnut season. Each year the small village celebrates the harvest season with a large colourful chestnut festival. Read about the Chestnut Festival here. For more accommodation options click here.
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