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Sifex France Guide to Languedoc-Roussillon

The Languedoc Roussillon has mild winters and long hot summers and 200 miles of sandy coastline, fanned by the winds of the Mistral and Tramontane, a paradise for sailors and windsurfers alike. With 20 golf courses, 6,300 kilometres of trails and skiing in the Massif Central and Eastern Pyrenees, the region is rich in history and culture and encompasses five departments. The pretty port of Collioure in the Pyrenees Orientales was painted by Matisse and Picasso, as was the inland cherry town of Ceret, known as the "Vatican of cubism." At Sète, Nimes and Ceret, museums bear testament to their work. The proximity of the ski stations makes weekend skiing a local pastime.

Famous for its fortified capital, Carcassonne, reminiscent of a medieval water colour which has come to life, the Aude is also renowned for the vineyards of Minervois and Corbières as well as the sparkling Blanquette de Limoux. Many ruined castles remind one that this is Cathar country. With Ryanair’s flights to Carcassonne and Perpignan, small wonder the region is so sought after. The Canal du Midi, lined by plane trees, wends its langorous way to the coast. On the coast is the big fishing port of Sète and purpose built resorts like Cap d’Agde in the Herault with the Bassin de Thau, famous for its oyster beds. The University City of Montpellier has the oldest botanical garden in France. Numerous pretty villages and towns extend inland from the plateau, with the popular resort of Lac de Salagou, Clermont L’Herault and the spa town of Lamalou les Bains.

The Lozère is the least populated department of France with dramatic countryside and a vast array of wild flora and fauna including bison and wolves. Châteaux and medieval villages abound along with such wonders as the Gorges du Tarn. Mende is the capital and Florac, another important centre. The Gard, reminiscent of Provence, is rich in Roman sites including the arena at Nimes and the Pont du Gard. On the coast are the resorts of Le Grau-du-Roi and Aigues-Mortes, the beginnings of the Camargue whilst inland, Uzes mirrors Aix in style.Gastronomic delights abound from Cassoulet to Aligot, from Brandade de Nimes to Tapenade. A cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables, wines and local dishes await to satisfy the most discerning of palates. Copyright Sarah Francis

© 2003-2006 Sarah Francis

Sifex France Guide to the Departments in Languedoc-Roussillon

Pyrenees Orientales