Languedoc-Roussillon benefits from warm
weather and a varied terrain which does however include mountains - Cévennes,
Corbières and Pyrénées which are a frosty winter contrast to the many sunny beaches
with Mediterranean temperatures.
The Canal du Midi passes through this region connecting Sete on the Mediterranean with Toulouse. The concept of the canal and its construction were debated for some centuries with the idea being a link between the Atlantic and Mediterranean. In 1666, Louis XIV gave out an edict that the canal - to be called Le Canal des Deux Mers - be constructed and it was finally created by Béziers born, Pierre-Paul Riquet, in 1667 and and finished in 1694. It includes 328 aqueducts, bridges, locks and tunnels. 12,000 people including 600 women worked on its construction and 45,000 trees were planted along its banks.
There is the wonderful Camargue area - part of both Languedoc and also Provence, famous for its white horses and flamingos which inhabit this marshy area.
The Spanish influence in the south is very strong but there is a difference between Spain and the Languedoc because the bull fights do not involve hurting the bull and instead it is challenged by the fighter Fights are held in Nimes mainly and some other towns. Throughout the the summer the Fete Votive is celebrated - somewhat like Pamplona, in Spain and the bulls run through the streets of the villages.
Departements and Main Towns:
Aude (11) - Main Town Carcassonne. To visit Carcassonne is like walking in a dream of the past. This fortified city is full of mediaeval legacies. For those who have visited Carcassonne and with whom the memory will rest forever with them - the French authorities contemplated a total demolition of this wonderous, walled city in 1850 as it was in a very bad state of repair. Fortunately this never came to pass and we can all continue to marvel at the wonder of this city which towers above the vineyards of the Languedoc.
Gard (30) Main Town Nimes. Nimes is one of the oldest cities in the Languedoc and its historic attractionsto mankind is a natural spring. This the location of many historic wonders. The Pont du Gard dates back to 20 bc and is a splendid aqueduct of which there are many in the region.
Hérault - (34) Main Town Montpellier, , - Montpellier has an amazing tramway system. The city of Montpelier is full of squares and houses built from the local stone. Ruled at one time by the Kings of Majorca, Montpelier was famous for red dye made from cochinelle derived from an insect The city has prospered since the 1960's when many French settlers in Algeria decided to return to France and chose Montpellier. They are called "Pieds Noir". Le Jardin des Plantes is a garden which originated in 1593 and is said to be the oldest botanical garden in France.
the Aude, Gard and Herault are coastal areas bordering the Mediterranean,
Lozère - is an inland region towards the North - Main Town Nimes, (48),
Pyrénées-Orientales (66) - Main Town Perpignan department bordering Spain at the south and the Mediterranean on the west. The name Languedoc stems from the name of the language of the region which is Occitan a combination of Catalan and Provencal
The region has produced wines since the times the Romans occupied the area. Banyuls, Blanquette de Limoux, Cabardes, Carthagène, Clairette du Languedoc, Corbières, Costières de Nîmes, Cotes du Roussillon, Fitou, Côteaux de Languedoc, Cremant de Limoux, Faugeres, Frontignan, Maury, Minervois, Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat de Rivesaltes, Muscat de St.-Jean-de-Minervois, Rivesaltes, St Chinian, Vin de Frontignan
Muscat, Liqueur la Micheline, Eaux de Vie de Marc, Or-kina.
The area is famous for its olives and fruit and rice grown in the Camargue plus Bouzigues produces Oysters. Lavender is grown extensively.
Anchoïade - anchovies served with olive oil and garlic.
Bourride - fish served with aïoli which is a type of mayonnaise flavoured heavily with garlic
Cassoulet which is frequently made with goose fat and comprises beans baked for somewhile - (Channel Islanders does this sound familiar?) with the addition of tomatoes, breadcrumbs, garlic sausage, pork, onions and more garlic - very delicious.
Crème Catalane - dessert cream with fennel seeds, lemon and vanilla.
Daube - local name for a meat stew full of wine and goodness and cooked till tender and tasty.
Gardiane beef stew served with rice
Magret de canard -
Morue Catalane a dish of cod served with tomatoes and sweet pepper
Bleu des Causses
Travel to the Languedoc
Flights from UK to Carcassonne, Montpellier, Nimes & Perpignan, Toulouse.
TGV goes from Paris to Montpelier and takes 4 hours