Travelling to the south of France? Don’t miss the sun-baked Languedoc Roussillon, an ancient region filled with culture, history, beaches, and vineyards. There’s a lot to love here, but if we had to narrow it down to five places to visit, we’d choose the following:
No visit to the region would be complete without a visit to medieval city of Carcassonne. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, Carcassonne is the largest walled city in Europe and its fabulous citadel– known as the Cité de Carcassonne– attracts nearly four million visitors a year. Carcassonne is also a great spot to visit the beautiful Canal du Midi which runs from Étang de Thau, close to the Mediterranean port of Sète, to Toulouse, where it connects with the Canal de Garonne. There is a bustling canal port at Carcassonne and from here you can take part in trips along the canal or even hire your own boat to do some exploring!
Perfect for shopping and sightseeing, stylish Montpellier is close to the white sandy beaches on the Mediterranean coast. Graced with museums, Montpellier is now considered to be the fastest growing city in France and one of the most multi-cultural, with over a third of the population comprised of students. Explore the many medieval streets and visit the grand hôtels particuliers (private mansions) built during the 17th and 18th centuries by rich merchants to show off their power and wealth. The most important houses are marked by a descriptive plaque in French and you can pick up a map from the tourist office and follow the trail.
3. Pont du Gard
The world famous Pont du Gard aqueduct is located between the towns of Nîmes, Uzès and Avignon and is considered to be one of the best preserved Roman historical sites in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, the Pont du Gard stands at 49m high and weighs over 50,000 tonnes – it’s believed to have taken 1,000 men over 5 years to build! Originally part of a 50km canal supplying fresh water to the Roman city of Nîmes, you will now find a fabulous museum on the banks of the canal, detailing how the Pont du Gard and canal were built, and what the water was used for.
Nîmes is the capital town of the Gard department, located between the Mediterranean Sea and the beautiful Cevennes National Park. Nîmes is believed to have the finest collection of Roman ruins in France including the Maison Carée, one of the best preserved Roman temples in the world, and the stunning Nimes arena which is still used as a venue for events today, including concerts and French bull-fighting– despite being over 2,000 years old! Nîmes is also worth visiting for its attractive old town, gardens, and lively restaurants and nightlife. It’s also a great jumping off point for the Cevennes National Park and Camargue wetlands, famous for its pink flamingos and white horses.
Situated close to the Spanish border, the lovely city of Perpignan showcases a delightful cultural mix. Perpignan is made up of a picturesque old town and a more modern neighborhood with fantastic restaurants and shopping. One of Perpignan’s best known sites is the Palace of the Kings of Majorca, a fortress with gardens dating back to the late 13th century– when Perpignan was the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca. From the top of the palace, enjoy stunning views over the city and beyond.