About the Languedoc-Roussillon Region
The Languedoc-Roussillon Region of France is an undiscovered gem filled with breathtaking coastline, some of France's best cuisine, a rich Medieval history and amazing architecture with its historic châteaux (castles) and lovely cathedrals. It also has some spectacular historic Roman architecture.
Bordering Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon is just as charming and beautiful with the Mediterranean and Pyreneees, but is less tourist-ridden and less expensive.
France's most up and coming wines are from this region. Get all the basics on the Languedoc, including the major cities, facts about the Languedoc, how to get around the Languedoc and where to stay in the Languedoc-Roussillon Region.
Originally the name referred to langue d'oc, the language of oc,and the region ran from Bordeaux on the west coast and from Lyon in central France into Spain and across to northwest Italy.
In January 2016 it was incorporated into a new region: Occitanie, along with Midi-Pyrénées.
Major cities of Languedoc-Roussillon
Languedoc Roussillon may be one of the least densely populated regions of France, but it has several large and mid-sized cities that are unique, fascinating and beautiful, including:
- Carcassonne, featuring an entire miniature city that is a castle. This is one of France's great sites with a film star quality. Try to avoid visiting in the high season, but if you do, go early in the morning.
- Limoux, 25 kms (15 miles) south of Carcassonne, is a small and pretty city best known as the true birthplace of the first sparkling wine, Blanquette
- Montpellier, a large city with southern French charm and a university dating back to the Middle Ages
- Nimes, a city known for its wonderful Roman remains and the Arena where you can see gladiators fighting and chariots racing in two spectacular shows
- Perpignan, another large city with Catalan uniqueness situated a few minutes from Spain. Be sure to travel just south to the picturesque Cote Vermeille
Getting to Languedoc-Roussillon
The best options for visiting Languedoc are to fly into Montpellier, Barcelona, Perpignan, Nice or Paris and take a train or rental car to the Languedoc region.
You can get a Europe or France rail pass. Then, you can fly into Paris (which is much more likely to be a direct flight, and usually costs less) and take the train to a Languedoc train station in Sete, Montpellier, Carcassonne or Perpignan, among other locations.
If you really want to explore the lovely smaller villages, Pyrenees scenery and countryside of Languedoc, consider renting a car.
Top Languedoc Attractions and Things to Do
There is no shortage of attractions in the Languedoc, and it's particularly a great destination for lovers of architecture, wine, history, unspoilt beaches, nudism and ancient Roman ruins. Don't miss:
- Cathar Country, which encompasses several Cathar ruins, chateaux, cities and villages. Be sure to visit Montségur where the Cathars made their last stand against the Crusaders in 1244.
- Cap D'Agde, considered the world's Mecca of nudism and featuring a small gated nudist village.
- La Cité in Carcassonne, a fortified Medieval village within the walls of this city.
- Place de la Comédie in Montpellier, a bustling and vast square dotted with cafés, historic buildings and outdoor markets.
Where to Stay in Languedoc-Roussillon
Languedoc is home to diverse hotels and accommodation to suit every budget. Here are a few recommendations.
If you have the means, there are few hotels in the Languedoc to rival the luxury and atmosphere of the four-star Hôtel de la Cité in Carcassonne with its fabulous views over the fortified walls.
Le Donjon in Carcassonne is inexpensive, it's in the heart of La Cité and you will feel like you've stepped right into the Middle Ages.
The 4-star boutique Villa Duflot in Perpignan is lush and luxurious.
Hotel Eve, the only hotel in Cap d'Agde's naturist quarter, is for those who like throwing caution to the winds.