Stretching from the border with Spain in the south to Provence in the north, the Languedoc-Roussillon department of southern France is as vast as it is varied. Best known for its wine production, there’s no shortage of undulating vineyards and wineries to visit.
Resorts along the Mediterranean coast are busy in summer but less showy than the Côte d’Azur.
Inland, it’s a different story: mile upon mile of agricultural land interspersed with historic cities such as Nimes, Narbonne and Carcassonne. Indeed, this is Cathar country, where one finds numerous medieval fortresses, hilltop castles, towns and villages, built as a defensive measure against the crusaders.
A destination in which to enjoy the great outdoors, Languedoc has natural parks and nature reserves, lush valleys and scrub-covered hills, meandering rivers and peaceful canals – all the way down to the wall of mountains that is the Pyrenees. No wonder it attracts so many walkers, hikers and cyclists.
Food and wine are, of course, all-important here. Typical of the region is the meaty cassoulet, and fresh seafood, including mussels and oysters. As one of the largest wine producing regions in France, visitors will be spoiled for choice.
Vibrant Montpelier is the capital of Languedoc and home to the main airport. Other convenient airports include Perpignan, Carcassonne, and Toulouse.