Languedoc Roussillon

Rich in atmosphere: Beziers in Languedoc

Rich in atmosphere: Beziers in Languedoc

Versatile coast between Pyrenees and Rhône

The region along the Mediterranean coast between Rhône and the Pyrenees is particularly diverse: The coast offers endless sandy beaches, Cathar castles can be found inland, often located on spectacular hill tops. Charming cities such as Bezier, the capital of wine, or the lively university town of Montpellier lie between France's oldest vineyards.



France Round Trips Languedoc Roussillon

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Attractions Languedoc Roussillon

Aigüestortes National Park

Alpine hiking paradise

This national park, which was established in 1955, protects a unique mountain environment located between 1,000 and 3,300 meters above sea level. A variety of ecosystems can be found here, including grasslands, agricultural fields and deciduous forests at the park's lower altitudes. Evergreen forests, alpine meadows and rocky terrain can be found higher up. The best way to explore the park is on foot. There are information centers in Espot in the eastern part of the park and Boí in the western part. These are also starting points for a number of hiking trails.

Carcassonne

Europe's most important medieval fortress

The fortified city of Carcassonne lies at the crossing of two major traffic routes in use since Antiquity: the north-south gap between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, and the east-west route from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Carcassonne was founded by the Romans, and each successive conqueror – Visigoths, Arabs, Franconians, Cathars – added to the immense fortification. Boasting a double ring of ramparts and 53 towers, Europe's greatest fortress was completed by Philip the Bold in 1280. We commend visiting the site in the early morning or in the evening in order to avoid the large numbers of tourists drawn there every day.

Further information:
www.tourisme-carcassonne.fr

Céret

Artists' town in the eastern Pyrenees

The east Pyrenean town popular among artists and Bohemians lies south of Perpignan near the border to Spain. The ancient region of Languedoc Roussillon with its rich cultural heritage appeals to lovers of both nature and culture. To the west is the towering Pic de Cannigou (2.785 m), which affords splendid views of the surrounding countryside on clear days. Further south the Tech flows through the idyllic Gorge de la Fou, which reaches a dept of 100 m in places. The town of Céret itself, once home to such famous painters as Gris, Braque, Picasso and Chagall, is mainly known for its excellent Museum of Modern Art featuring over 50 works by Picasso.

Cevennes

Transhumance in the Natural World Heritage

Steep canyons, rugged mountains and wide plateaus dominate the landscape between the Rhone valley to the east and Highway 75 to the west. The Cevennes are the southernmost foothills of the Massif Central, which has risen from the seabed 350 million years ago. In this barren region cereal production is difficult. Therefore, the chestnut tree was considered the bread tree of the Cevennes. The traveling pasture farming, a semi-nomadic form of sheep farming, has been preserved from the early Middle Ages until today. To protect them, the UNESCO has declared the previously existing National Park to a World Heritage of Mankind.

Méze

Music festivals and fresh oysters

Located on the northern shore of the Étang de Thau, the city has a strong Mediterranean identity. It was founded in the 8th century BC by Phoenician sailors. The Mediterranean climate, characteristic flair and culinary delights attract many visitors, especially in summer for the Feast of St. Peter (June), the Festival de Thau with African music (July) and the Shellfish Festival (August). The inhabitants live mainly from oyster and mussel farming, which are offered freshly prepared in the restaurants by the sea. Moules and frites can be found on almost every menu. Wine is grown in the hinterland.

Montpellier

Lively university town on the Golf de Lion

This city has a population of 250,000 and is one of the few on the French Mediterranean coast that was not founded in ancient times. The first settlement was established here in 740 AD by the Franks. Yet the city is still worth a visit. It offers a lively old town surrounding the Place de la Comédie. With its 60,000 students, the its university is the largest in France and provides the city with a colorful and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Nîmes

Roman area that became a medieval slum

Dating back to 121 BC when it was in Roman hands, the city's importance as a trading center derives from its location on the route between Italy and Spain. Tucked away in the hills of Cevennes, Nimes boasts are large number of historical buildings. The most significant of these is the amphitheater, the best-preserved – albeit not the largest – Roman arena in existence today, despite the fact that it was used for other purposes during its long history. The Goths converted the structure into a fortress, in the Middle Ages it was a knight's castle and later it served as living quarters for 2,000 people. Just 25 km northeast of Nimes is the Pont du Gard, one of the ancient wonders of the world. This amazing construction is part of the Roman aqueduct which spans the Gard valley. Water flowed through the 45 m high aqueduct for more than 500 years.

Parque Nacional de Ordes y Monte Perdido

Wilderness in the Aragonese Pyrenees

The Parque Nacional de Ordes y Monte Perdido is true outdoor highlight. Its countless gorges are home to a thriving diversity of plants. The park also provides a habitat for rare animals such as the Pyrenean mountain goat, the bearded vulture and the snow partridge. Crystal-clear waterfalls adorn the Monte Perdido, which is the third-highest mountain in Spain. The park entrance is located in Torla, where there is also an information center. Here you can obtain maps and information about the park's numerous hiking trails.

Pont du Gard

Roman aqueduct over the deep gorge of the Gardon River

This marvel of antiquity is located 25 kilometers north of Nimes and was the highest aqueduct bridge in the Roman Empire. Pont du Gard was part of the Roman aqueduct system for the city of Nimes and bridges the deep gorge of the Gardon River. For more than 500 years, 20,000 m³ of water used to flow over the 45 meter high aqueduct every day.

Further information:
www.pontdugard.fr

Promenade du Peyrou

Promenade at the highest point in Montpellier

This promenade was built in 1668 at the highest point in Montpellier in honor of Louis XIV. It is intersected by the Saint Clément Aqueduct, which supplies the palace moat with water. The aqueduct's two tiers of arches were built to resemble the Roman Pont du Gard near Nimes, and a flea market is held under the arches on Saturdays. The promenade's upper terrace offers a magnificent view of the Garrigue, the Cevennen, the ocean and, on clear days, the Canigou.

Saint-Gilles

Benedictine monastery on the Way of St. James

The abbey church of Saint-Gilles, St. Aegidius, was built between 1125 and 1150 and was part of a Benedictine monastic complex. Because of the tomb of St. Aegidius, it remains to this day an important stop on the Via Tolosana, one of the French sections of the Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostela. Since 1998, the church has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sète

The “Venice of Languedoc”

Sète is the most important commercial port on the French Mediterranean after Marseille. It is completely surrounded by water and is crisscrossed by canals – therefore it is sometimes called the “Venice of Languedoc”. The Canal de Sète is particularly beautiful. The harbor tours start at the Quai Général Durand. The highest point of the town is Mont Saint-Clair, 175 meters above sea level. From there you have a beautiful panoramic view.

Toulouse

Southern French flair and space technology

The “Ville Rose” combines the flair of southern France with the spirit of technology and science. Toulouse is the main center of the European aerospace industry. Hub of the city is the atmospheric Place du Capitole, with its arcades and the magnificent town hall. Not far is the romanesque Cathedral of St. Sernin, which is one of the most important pilgrimage churches on the Way of St. James.

Uzès

Taste of the Middle Ages in Provence from courtyards to the ducal palace

This town in the barren landscape of Garrigue still breaths the air of the Middle Ages in Provence. The Place aux Herbes with its bubbling fountain is especially idyllic on Saturdays when the weekly market is held there. The surrounding alleys and shaded arcades will lead you through the disorienting jumble of buildings and courtyards to the ducal palace or the cathedral.

Viaduc de Millau

Award-winning bridge across the Cevennes Gorge

Along the way from Paris to Barcelona the A7 travels across the Millau Viaduct. Opened in 2004, the bridge is a technical marvel: at 2,460 meters, it is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. The cables are supported by seven towers that are over 340 m (1,115 ft.) apart. The tallest of them is 343 m high and therefore taller than the Eifel Tower. The attractive structure which has won several architectural and engineering awards spans the Tarn Valley, where the Tarn river thunders upstream through a picturesque canyon into the Cévennes.



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Wild mountains between France and Spain

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