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Castelnau-le-Lez is a member of the metropolis of Montpellier. It is located on the right bank of the Lez, which flows northward through Montpellier and joins with the Mediterranean Sea in Marseillan. The town has developed around an old castle (Château de Castelnau) built by Louis IX of France in 1270 to protect against attacks from Spain via Catalonia. The name "Castelneau" was attested as early as 1144, but it became "Castelnaud" only after 1220 when Guillaume de Castelnaud sold his property to Aymeric d'Alamanon; this toponymic appellation derived from Occitan castèlnòu ("castle") + augmentative suffix -aud ("little"). In 1822, Jean Baptiste Gayet made efforts for its official recognition, and finally succeeded on 10 December 1845.:p.