Nature walk: the Méjean park

Author of the article

I am Julie, a social and family economics advisor by profession. I have been sensitive to accessibility issues for a long time, especially with the learning of the French language. Since 2011, I have been working in an IME with deaf and hard of hearing teenagers, often with other associated disabilities. Since 2020, I have been supervising a training course for the professional validation of the CAP (vocational training certificate) in personal assistance (SAPVER). It is within the framework of this training, that I proposed an innovative approach to allow these teenagers to put themselves in the conditions of their future role of caregivers by being myself in a situation of handicap. Thus, since November 2020, I have been spending one morning a week in a wheelchair with the young people of the center, in Paris, for various outings. Obviously, we are confronted with accessibility difficulties but we always leave positive, in discovery and open-minded. This experience of an incredible and unsuspected richness at the beginning, transformed me, because even if I had empathy, when things go through the body, the understanding is quite different. Sensitive to accessibility, I am now much more aware of it and the desire to share is much greater. Each of us, in our own way, can change our view of difference and make society more inclusive. Because inclusion is everyone's business, so that the impossible word becomes possible.

Find me on Instagram @by.cousucousin

In Lattes, a town south of Montpellier, there is a small haven of peace, a corner of preserved nature.

It was during a vacation in the region in April 2022, that I discovered by chance this wild park. Located in the heart of the Palavasian ponds classified Natura 2000 and Ramsar, between land and sea, it is a place of rest and nesting for birds. The house of the nature shelters the park of Méjean which extends on a marsh of 200 hectares. From the first meters, I have a crush!

When you arrive at the nature house, which has obtained the Tourism & Handicap label, you will feel that everyone is welcome here. Accessibility has been thought of for everyone. 

A 2.5 km trail on the Grains de Méjean path, entirely accessible to wheelchairs, is then offered to you. It is magnificent in spring when the birds are everywhere: white storks, pink flamingos, white stilts... Their music will accompany you all along the trail. It is a reservoir of biodiversity, where you can admire a varied fauna and flora typical of coastal wetlands. You walk along a well-marked path of wooden slats, and sometimes over the marshes. Magic atmosphere guaranteed at the end of the day with a magnificent light. In March and April, it is the nesting period of the white storks and the birth of their young. At the entrance of the park, the nature house offers small temporary exhibitions. There is also a camera to observe the storks just born the day of my visit!

But accessibility does not stop at wheelchair users. The site has really been designed for everyone with an application that offers explanatory videos in sign language and also in audio description. A tactile map for blind people is also installed near the entrance of the park. And as incredible as it may seem, the entrance is free all year long.

A walk to do with family or friends where you will let yourself be carried by the song of the numerous birds that come to live their life, by the quietness of the surrounding nature and the sound of the wind in the reeds. The lagoon landscape will remind you of the nearby Camargue. If you have binoculars and a birdwatcher at hand, take them! Your experience will be all the more beautiful! Nice visit.

Parc du Méjean : Price : Free all year long. Contact: Maison de la Nature de Lattes - 04 67 22 12 44. Accessibility : At the entrance of the park, you will find a dedicated parking lot with several handicapped spaces (the other parking lot is located 600m away). The sworn guard with whom I was able to exchange with ensures the respect of the use of these places. Parking hours: 9am to 5pm from September to February, 9am to 6pm from March to June and 9am to 7:30pm from July to August.

There are also accessible and equipped washrooms as well as a well-shaded picnic area.

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