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Last updated : Nov 2009
Languedoc-Roussillon
Languedoc-Roussillon - TravelPuppy.com
The combined territories of Languedoc and Roussillon include five départements: Aude, Gard, Hérault, Lozère and Pyrénées-Oriental. The area has been French since the 13th century and the name languedoc comes from langue d’oc or language in which ‘yes’ is oc (as opposed to langue d’oïl the language in which ‘yes’ is oui). This ancient language is still heard throughout the south of France, on both sides of the Rhône.

The Mediterranean coast between Perpignan, the ancient capital of the Kings of Mallorca, and Montpellier now has one of the most modern holiday complexes in Europe, including the resorts of La Grande Motte, Port Leucate and Port Bacarès.

Montpellier
itself is the city that surveys show most French people themselves would most like to live in. With its grand civic spaces, cutting-edge architecture and state-of-the-art tram system, the city also offers a vision into the future of urban living. Other attractions include some excellent museums, galleries and a string of fine, good value restaurants. More wine is produced in Languedoc-Roussillon than any other place in the world. The vineyards, started during the Roman era and producing red, white and rosé wine, begin in the Narbonne area, run past Béziers, the wine marketing centre for the region, and on to Montpellier. Once an important seaport which imported spices (its name derives from ‘the Mount of Spice Merchants’), the city is an important intellectual and university centre with 5 fine museums, impressive 17th and 18th century architecture and a superb summer music festival. There is a great variety of other attractions in this warm southland. The Roman ruins are often magnificent, the Maison Carré, Diana’s Temple and the Roman Arena in Nîmes, the Rome of the Gauls, are among some of the finest examples of Greco-Roman architecture to be found today. The 2000-year-old Pont de Gard is one of humanity’s greatest architectural accomplishments and certainly merits a special trip.

There is the medieval city of Aigues-Mortes which would still be recognisable to St Louis and his crusaders, for it was from here they left for the east. The crenellated walled city of Carcassonne and towers of Uzès are unmissable.

On the coast, Sete is Mediterranean France’s largest fishing port and boasts an attractive town, complete with beaches, canals and bountiful restaurants and cafes. Nearby, Agde is a smaller fishing port whose main attraction is Le Cap d’Agde, with its wide expanse of unspoiled beaches and large nudist colony.

The Canal du Midi, ideal for cruise holidays, is a tranquil waterway and largely abandoned by commerce, and connects the Mediterranean with the Atlantic. It runs through the sleepy village of Castelnaudary, famous for its cassoulet, past the citadel of Carcassonne and on through Montpellier.