Languedoc-Roussillon

Languedoc-Roussillon, popularly known as the Languedoc, is the central region of the south of France.
 

It includes the western Mediterranean coast of France, stretching from the Rhone valley in the east, to the Spanish border in the south west, and comprises five departments: four of these are  Mediterranean coastal departments: the Gard (30), the Hérault (34), the Aude (11) and the Eastern Pyrenees or Pyrénées Orientales (66). The fifth department is rather different, being the upland department of Lozère (48), which forms the southern bastion of the Massif Central.

 

The area known as "Languedoc" covered a large part of southern France; Roussillon is a much smaller area, being more or less the area covered by the Eastern Pyrenees department. Roussillon, in the past, was the northern part of Catalonia., and people here still speak Catalan as well as French.


The regional capital of Languedoc-Roussillon is the city of Montpellier, a thriving modern city in the Hérault, with a historic centre; other major cities in the region are Beziers, Nimes, Narbonne, Sete and Perpignan.

 

Unlike Provence, Languedoc has a considerable coastal plain, and except in the department of Eastern Pyrenees, much of the coastal area is flat.  The coast of Languedoc is characterised by long sandy beaches, often with plenty of space, and a modern tourist infrastructure, with twentieth-century resorts such as Cap d'Agde, Palavas, or Narbonne Plage.

 

The fertile coastal plain is given over to agriculture, vineyards and - particularly in Roussillon - fruit and vegetables. Languedoc is one of France's major wine-growing areas.

 

Those who do not want to spend their holidays on a beach will perhaps prefer to discover the old Languedoc, away from the cities and the immediate coastal strip. Inland Languedoc is a beautiful area, characterised by vineyards and "garrigue", arid rocky Mediteranean hills with their vegetation of scrub, aromatic bushes and occasional fields. Further inland, the valleys of the Cevennes, more wooded and rural, give way to the Cevennes hills, the southeastern peaks of the Massif Central.

 

The area has a lot of historic cities, such as Nimes with its superb Roman remains, the famous walled city of Carcassonne, the former Roman provincial capital of Narbonne, and other smaller ancient cities, such as Agde .

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