For many visitors to France, it’s all about Paris – Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, fine art, fine dining, and high culture. But there is much more to the country than this.
The South of France is home to a historic region of romance and mystery far from the glitz and glamour of the capital. A region of picture-perfect scenery, sunny weather, stunning Mediterranean coastline, and vineyards and wine galore. Welcome to Languedoc !!
This unique region is known for having its own language and culture and fascinating history — often at odds with the rest of France. Now officially called “Occitania”, but more often referred to by the traditional name “the Languedoc”, it has something to offer for every traveler, whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, ancient ruins, or relaxation in the sun.
Bear in mind that from 2024, you may need the ETIAS to travel to France.
Here are the top 10 things to do in Languedoc:
1. Explore the Historic City of Carcassonne
The medieval city of Carcassonne is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit destination in Languedoc. The citadel sits on top of a hill overlooking the newer part of the city. It is truly an atmospheric experience, exploring the old cobblestone streets.
Feel transported back through time to the Middle Ages, when the city provided sanctuary to the Cathars and held out against a siege from invaders from the North. Walk along the ancient city walls, visit the impressive castle — the Château Comtal, and take a look in the many charming shops and cafés that line the streets.
Carcassonne offers a look at a completely different side to France than the usual trip to Paris.
2. Wine Tasting in the Languedoc Vineyards
Occitania is one of the largest wine-producing regions in the world. If you enjoy a glass, this is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some of the best vintage in French sun.
Visit the vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, take a wine-tasting tour and sample some of the finest wines in the region. Plus, the vineyards only add to the beauty of the Languedoc landscapes.
3. Relax on the Mediterranean Beaches
The Languedoc coastline boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in France. Spend a day relaxing on the sandy beaches, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoying the Mediterranean sun.
Coastal cities like Narbonne and Perpignan offer the ideal base for a beach holiday, while also having plenty of things to offer if you also want some history and culture in your trip.
4. Visit the Canal du Midi
The Canal du Midi is another UNESCO World Heritage site in the Languedoc region — given this honor for its “outstanding engineering and artistic design”.
Part of a set of waterways that link the Mediterranean to the Atlantic at Bordeaux, the Canal makes its way through the scenic countryside of the Langedoc, traversing fields and mountains. It crosses aqueducts, passes through tunnels, and makes its way up and down hills via staircases of locks.
Take a leisurely boat cruise along the canal, or rent a bike and cycle along the towpath. The canal is lined with beautiful plane trees and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
5. Hiking in the Pyrenees
The Pyrenees mountain range sits right on the doorstep of Languedoc. These peaks straddle the border between France and Spain and offer a range of hiking trails for all levels of fitness.
Take a day hike through the beautiful mountain scenery, or embark on a multi-day trek for a more challenging adventure.
6. Discover the Cathar Castles
The Languedoc region is home to several Cathar castles, which are perched on rocky outcrops and offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Visit the castles of Quéribus, Peyrepertuse, and Montségur to learn about the history of the Cathars — a branch of Christianity in the Middle Ages that were persecuted for heresy by the Catholic Church. This fascinating period was the only time in history that a Crusade was preached against fellow Christians.
The monuments left behind by the Cathars are truly impressive — and many provide an excuse for a hike in the hills just to reach them.
7. Visit the Roman Ruins
While best known for the events of Middle Ages and the castles left behind from that era, the Languedoc also has a rich Roman history.
There are several well-preserved Roman ruins to visit in the region. For example, the city of Nîmes is home to a well-preserved amphitheater, temple, and city walls.
8. Enjoy the Local Cuisine
The Languedoc region is renowned for its delicious local cuisine. Try some traditional dishes such as cassoulet, a hearty meat and bean stew, or oysters from the Thau Lagoon. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of Languedoc wine!
9. Explore the National Parks
Languedoc is home to several national parks, which offer a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and bird watching.
10. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
For a truly unforgettable experience, take a hot air balloon ride over the Languedoc countryside. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the vineyards, mountains, and Mediterranean coastline from above.
France has a lot to offer, and the Languedoc adds to it immensely.
Hope you have a great time here.
Bonne vacance !!!