•Hérault (34380) • Population: 1,908 • Altitude: 194 m
St-Martin-de-Londres is a small town in the Hérault department northwest of Nîmes. The town has a large, spread-out residential area, but there is an central old town with some narrow, picturesque streets.
The Eglise Saint-Martin in St-Martin-de-Londres is an 11th-century Romanesque church and is classed as an historical monument.
In the center of town are some remains of the ancient Medieval defensive walls, and the Tour de l'horloge, a tall, round clock tower topped by a narrow conical peak housing an even narrower campanile.
We visited St-Martin-de-Londres on French independence day (14 July, 2014), and the medieval Tour de l'horloge was being used by the local volunteer fire department to demonstrate lowering a victim in a stretcher from the top of a building.
Independence Day Fire Department Shows
A popular Independence Day event in many French villages is the local fire department (often partially or wholly volunteers) demonstrating what they do, safety and rescue techniques, with a lot of hands-on participation by the local kids. It's colorful event, with the bright red equipment, and spectators mixing in with the firemen (and firewomen) rather than being kept behind barriers.
The day we visited, St-Martin-de-Londres was too packed with celebrations, firemen, people and bands for us to do a proper but neutral village visit.
As the firemens' event wound down, a band gathered in a large circle at the main square. Band musicians included firemen in uniform, men, women, young and old, nicely dressed and scruffy. And the music and ambience were great.
The town does have an interesting center, and there are some good café-restaurants with shady terraces beneath the trees around the main square.
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St-Martin-de-Londres has café-restaurants and restaurants available. We opted for homemade sandwiches from one of the local bakeries and a picnic lunch on a park bench.