Spotlight on Languedoc-Roussillon
Today we’re shining the spotlight on Languedoc-Roussillon, one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in France.
Tucked between the Mediterranean and the Pyrénées, the region has an exceptional climate and 150 miles of coastline. There’s lively resorts, picturesque villages and vineyards, plus some of the finest French beaches.
Holidaymakers come here for the long sunny days, beautiful beaches, miles of footpaths and national parks. And as if that wasn’t enough, there are also ancient cities, famous mountain fortresses and World Heritage Sites to discover.
Aigues-Mortes to Montpellier
Famous for its well-preserved walls, the medieval city of Aigues-Mortes lies on the edge of the salt marshes of the Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue. The city was built as a Mediterranean port in the 13th century and has excellent views over the marshland from the top of the ramparts. Buy fresh fish and shellfish straight off the boat in the nearby pretty seaside resort of Le Grau-du-Roi which is just next to Port-Camargue – one of Europe’s largest marinas.
For a day trip, head an hour north to Nîmes and discover one of France’s top-five tourist attractions – the Pont du Gard. This impressive piece of Roman engineering is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was built to allow the aqueduct of Nîmes to cross the Gard River.
Head west and you’ll arrive in the regional capital Montpellier, one of France’s most vibrant and dynamic cities with beautiful architecture. There’s a huge variety of museums, shops and restaurants. For the best city view climb the triumphal arch of the Porte du Peyrou, at the eastern end of the Jardin de Peyrou.
Sète to Béziers
Known as the ‘Venice’ of Languedoc, Sète is a beautiful seaside town, centred around a fishing port. The large lagoon between Sète and Agde reveals mile upon mile of oyster, mussel and whelk beds. It’s the perfect place to sample the fish of the Mediterranean, with many seafood restaurants along the quay. Try the seafood version of a Cornish pasty; the tielle is filled with octopus, squid and spices.
Heading south and inland, you reach Béziers. This lively city is the wine producing capital of Languedoc – there are even museums dedicated to it! There is a beautiful bridge and cathedral built in a commanding hill top position, offering stunning views of the area. Béziers is a town still very much in touch with its traditions. Bull fighting is still practiced in an arena on the outskirts of the city and every August the city hosts an annual Feria – four days of bull fighting, singing and dancing.
The city of Carcassonne has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998 and is a must-see for visitors to the area. Instantly recognisable as the backdrop for films – including ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ – you’ll discover an entire medieval city inside the walls. Wander the cobbled streets and discover all manner of shops, bars and restaurants. The view from the ramparts is awe-inspiring.
Perpignan to Argelès-sur-Mer
Perpignan is the capital of the Pyrénées-Orientales (the southernmost départment of Languedoc- Roussillon) and is only about 20 miles from Spain. It was once the capital of the kingdom of Majorca and at the southern end of the town is the Palais des Rois de Majorque, an imposing palace built in the 13th century. Spend a day wandering the narrow streets full of shops, restaurants, cafés and wonderful architecture.
Head out east towards the coast from Perpignan where the sandy beaches of Roussillon meet the rocky coves of the Côte Vermeille and you’ll find the seaside resort and fishing village of Argelès-sur-Mer. As well as beaches and coves, it has plenty to offer, including sailing from the marina, scuba diving, sea water spas and children’s entertainment. The resort has more than four miles of sandy beach and has won the Blue Flag for both its beaches and its marina. Here you will find some excellent Canvas campsites and another just slightly north in St Cyprien.
If you are looking for a lively site to keep the whole family happy Camping la Siréne is a fantastic choice. Close to the beach, this site has a fantastic pool complex with loads of waterslides to cool off in during the hot summer heat.
A day out to Aqualand Waterpark is another way to keep the children amused. Favourite attractions include the zebra slide and Congo River run. Not to be missed in this area is Réserve Africaine de Sigean – a large safari park home to over 3,800 animals roaming freely in a natural habitat.
There is an enormous choice of places to visit during your Languedoc-Roussillon holiday – we’ve only touched the surface here. The diversity of the region means your holiday can be as action-packed or relaxed as you choose. Port-Camargue, La Grande-Motte, and Saint-Cyprien are the best bases for watersports; or you can simply lie back and soak up the sun on white sands lapped by a clear blue sea, enjoying the best beach holiday France has to offer. Come and discover this amazing region for yourself.