No doubt because they were a source of abundant natural resources, the northern shores of the Etang de Thau witnessed a surge in the development of major estates in the first centuries of the Common Era. Some twenty villa sites have been discovered, thanks once again to ground surveys that systematically examined the area's vineyards. Most of them extend across several hectares, and the objects collected reveal a lengthy period of habitation, extending from the beginning of the Roman era to the early Middle Ages, and the presence of luxurious establishments (fragments of sheets of marble, terracotta tubuli, mosaic tesserae, etc.).
These estates were evenly distributed, and some of them had 600 hectares of land under cultivation. In most cases, they had direct access to the Etang, but also enjoyed magnificent views of the lagoon. These known instances of "coastal villas" corresponds to how the upper classes populated the coast of southern Gaul. Their vast farms were interspersed with several smaller settlements whose roots lay in the protohistoric period, as well as with a dense network of smaller farms, which could have been farmed either by small land-owners or dependents of the larger estates.