Vias Herault Ten Minutes from Villa Roquette

There is a network of villages in our region, each about 5 kilometers form each other, yet each having a completely independent character. Ten minutes from Villa Roquette is the town of Vias – a thriving market town only a couple of -kilometers from the popular seaside resort of Vias plage.

In medieval times it was a very wealthy town, as were many of the towns and villages in Herault – wool trade, shipbuilding, mining and rich agriculture providedLanguedoc with wealth and even very small communities could build magnificent churchesandhouses.

The local building materials were used for construction and in Vias and Agde the local stone is black basalt – a very hard volcanic rock. Theblack stone gives buildings a characteristic look.

Vias still has many fine buildings, most of the town wall has dissappeared intp the local buildings, but some vestiges remain – every town and village was protected by huge strong walls, until recent times, right into the 18th century, raiders from North Africa, corsairs, would come and take prisoner any person they found in the fields and take them into slavery or as galley slaves for their trading and war ships.

Here is a brief photo essay on a short walk around Vias

Information Websites About Languedoc Sud de France

On our website at Villa Roquette we give information about activities and events happening near us  – if you stay with us we can help you find fairs, markets, exhibitions, carnivals plus the best places for golf, fishing, cycling, walking and many many other activities, or just the best beaches and bars.

A new initiative locally is for the wine makers to offer special events, many are organising walks in the beautiful countryside with story tellers, picnics and plenty of wine.

I replied to a recent mail from a reader of our newsletter about other sources of information….


We always enjoy your e-mails and and the links that they take us to.   We have corresponded before and you have been very helpful with many of our questions.   We hope that on this next trip to France,we will have time to stop in to say hello and meet in person.

My question for this trip to France  is regarding an article and U-tube video you posted in June – Balades in Languedoc.  That function was offered up only in July and August, but looked like a great way to spend a day.   Are you aware of anything like that that may be available to participate in the last week of October?   This trip we hope to have some time to just enjoy the French life.

Gary and Bonnie


Hi Gary and Bonnie

Do call round when you are here and share a bottle 🙂

Some vignerons do these balade I mentioned in my post at in the early summer when there is not a lot happening in the fields, but after late July they don’t have time. By October it is considered too chilly and the tourist season is over so nothing much happens – however by late October all the work is done and the new wines are getting produced, most of the cave cooperative have a big open day, clebration and booze-up.  If you can stand up to an hour of endless speeeches, you can then test lots of the latest booze and often get music food and music – some charge a few euro, many are free.

You can tell when the speeches are getting to the end when the local pensioners start edging quietly to the groaning boards of wine and food – make for the bottles that are popular with the chaps with florid noses, this is the good stuff.

Information about local events can be tricky to find – there are a few publications and leaflets, most are available from your local mairie – other information locally online is from ……..

A lunch after picnics foie gras and wine in the morning

Lunch after a walk in the countryside around Villa Roquette

Is a Gite Business in France a Good Idea

I am happy to give my thoughts and share my experience on almost anything – I am qualified to teach photography, so just about everything else is based on half a century of the slings and arrows of (often outrageous) fortune. For the last 20 years we have been involved in vacations and rentals in France, so I can give some opinion and share experience about this.


Hi Tony,

We are looking at buying a gite complex in Charente Maritime. We have the turnover data and the outgoings etc,. but have no clue about what tax is payable – there’s no point us knowing what the gross income is when we don’t know what we’ll end up with (ie, if tax is 20% we’ll live a lot better than if it’s 50%!). Can you give us a steer, and also point us in the right direction – perhaps to an accountant who knows about gites? We’re happy to pay for the right advice as clearly it could make or break a deal.

Many thanks in anticipation,



Hello Louise,

I wish you success with your proposed venture. You are right to do very severe due diligence on any vacation business, especially in France.

My opinion of accountants is very very low – I have been deceived and tricked by these rascals too often and have absolutely no confidence in their opinion on anything to do with business or enterprise – their opinion is worthless regarding the viability of a business (or much else).

Tourism in France is a big business (I believe officially, the biggest business), but there is not much potential for growth. France claims in excess of 70 million visitors a year, by far the largest number in the world, but this has not grown in recent years and revenue figures suggest a shrinkage – accurate figures are not yet in for 2010, but are likely to show a 20 percent drop from 2009, which was down from 2008 – so any figures for any tourist business are largely irrelevant.

However 70 million or so potential customers offer a fantastic opportunity – the trick is to identify how you can beat the competition in your area for your market profile.

The problem getting any realistic projections for a business is compounded by the huge amount of competition and growth in the supply of accommodation over the last ten years. in many areas this is unsupportable by the demand and growth in demand is very uncertain as I have indicated.

You question is about taxes – for a small Ma and Pa operation, up to 15 people or 5 rooms – there are good options – it can be a fixed 13 percent of gross income if it is under 70,000 euro (this depends on other factors in the AutoEntrepeneur scheme). However, for a viable business you need the structure of company, usually a SARL, here you need good accounting software and need to keep firm control of all costs and expenses – I cannot go into all the options and paperwork here – there are many websites and people able to advise and help – but direct taxation, social charges etc will account for between 50 to 60 percent of your gross revenue (the social charges are very high) – if you have to employ anybody then this is likely to completely wipe out any chance of a profit.

If the business already employs people, they are unsackable and expensive – I know of companies ruined by a payroll of only three people. Short term contracts can only be renewed once and after a year they become permanent staff – be very very careful.

But if this is less than five Gites and under 15 people maximum, with no employees, turning over less than 70,000 euro then think of it as a lifestyle business – you will work hard for very little residual income, but it is a good life while you are fit and well and can fix drains, plumbing, power cuts and can keep accountants off your land.

Please let me know how you get on

Bonne Chance


Entrance from front parking at Villa Roquette in the South of France

Front Entrance from parking area to our Gite and B&B at Villa Roquette