With the region’s exceptionally diverse natural, historic, cultural and gastronomic assets, Sud de France Languedoc-Roussillon destinations cannot be described in the singular. Hence, like the region’s wines, food and agricultural products and identity, Sud de France Languedoc-Roussillon destinations are conjugated in the plural.
Languedoc-Roussillon is the French Region that calls upon your every sense. To begin with, it enjoys a minimum of 300 days of sunshine a year and there is so much to do, so many places to discover. From the Pyrénées-Orientales to Lozère, from Aude to Gard, through Hérault, the close links between landscape and architecture, between villages and inhabitants are obvious.
In addition to six splendid sites listed as World Heritage by Unesco (the city of Carcassonne, the Canal du Midi, the Vauban fortresses of Villefranche-de-Conflent and Mont-Louis, the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostella pilgrimage routes, the Pont du Gard and the Causes and the Cévennes, cultural landscape of the Mediterranean agro-pastoralism), Languedoc-Roussillon is a land of contrast where the wild beauty of places such as Aubrac or the Navacelles corrie can be equalled only by the soothing charm of its 220 km of fine sandy beaches and its hundreds of kilometres of rivers and canals.
With dynamic cities home to a wealth of museums and festivals, country villages, winegrowing areas and hostelries eager to give you a taste of regional gastronomy, you will appreciate the authentic nature of the welcoming land that awaits you.
Places to See!
The cities and towns of Languedoc-Roussillon are historic and lively at the same time. They offer a unique art of living: shady sidewalk cafés where people sit chatting for hours on end year-round, lazy strolls through a maze of narrow, winding streets to places in the heart of town that rushing tourists never get to see, and shopping in welcoming boutiques that welcome you like a friend.
Languedoc-Roussillon’s beautiful, bustling towns are happy to welcome you year-round. They’re « living places » above all else, which means that there is no particular tourist season. Today we will explore a few!
Located in the heart of a region rich in history and boasting many UNESCO World Heritage sites, Montpellier is a pleasure to explore. A town with an old university tradition, Montpellier is these days a meeting place for cultural, scientific and artistic exchanges. The town has conserved much of its past, with narrow medieval streets, grand private houses, the Place Royale (Royal Square)…, delights waiting to be discovered in the completely car-free city centre, ideal for wandering around and exploring.
Montpellier is one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe. Here we get around on foot, by bike, and in tramways. 4 tramway lines, to be exact. These tram cars are veritable works of art, designs drawn in reference to the elements: Air on Line 1, with white swallows on a blue background; the Earth with flowers on line 2; Water with undersea décor on line 3; Fire, dedicated to the sun-king on line 4.
La Place de la Comédie – Theatre Square This is now the symbol of Montpellier’s dynamic character. With its Opera House, built in the 19th. century in the same style as the Garnier Opera in Paris, and the statue of the Three Graces, this square, also called The Egg, due to its shape, is the nerve centre of Montpellier. The terraces of the many cafes and restaurants make it a lively place where both students and local residents meet up throughout the day.
La Cathédrale Saint Pierre – Cathedral of Saint Pierre Adjoining the faculty of Medicine, Saint Pierre’s Cathedral was built at the end of the 14th. century at the wish of Pope Urbain V. Its two monumental pillars which support the canopied porch, characteristic of the Southern Gothic style, are very impressive.
La Promenade Royale – the Royal Walk These French-style gardens were designed in the 18th. century around an immense statue of Louis XIV facing the majestic Arc de Triomphe (Triumphal Arch). An elegant water tower, collecting the waters of the Saint Clement Aqueduct, is called the Arceaux (Arches). This high point offers a wonderful panoramic view of the north of the town and the Cevennes mountains which seem to be within arm’s reach.
Le Jardin des Plantes – the Botanical Garden Designated among the most prestigious botanical gardens in the world, the Botanical Garden was created by Richer de Belleval in 1593 at the request of Henri IV. It is the oldest garden in France.
Nîmes was treated with great generosity by Emperor Augustus, a man of culture and a patron of the arts. Two thousand years later, Nîmes still retains ample evidence of its days of Roman splendor.
Evidence of the Roman occupation is everywhere in the famous Nîmes architecture: the 1st and 2nd century amphitheatre, which once held 24,000 spectators, the Gallo-Roman temple, the Augustus Gate – where the Roman road, the ‘Via Domitia’, once entered the town – the graceful 1st century Maison Carré, the Temple of Diana, and the Magne Tower – the highest tower of the walled town during the Roman era.
Denim, the universal clothing was first made in Nimes France. The word originated from the name of the clothing material that made jeans, which was called serge de Nimes, was shortened to ‘denim.’
The Nîmes amphitheater is perhaps the most striking image of a Roman society that loved spectacular performances. Built from stone and designed mainly for the battles of gladiators, it is not the largest of the Empire but is remarkably well preserved. Inside, there are 24,000 seats, spread over 34 tiers, accessed by internal staircases and galleries. In 1863 the first bullfights took place in the amphitheater, and this tradition has continued ever since. As well as bulls and matadors, it plays host to rock concerts, jazz concerts, circuses, shows… even a Nativity.
The Maison Carrée (Square House)
It’s not a house, and it’s not square! But it is a magnificent little Roman temple, one of the most famous and best-preserved temples of the Roman world. This beautifully proportioned temple was erected in 5 AD in honor of Caïus Caesar and Lucius Caesar, grandson and adopted the son of Augustus. The Maison Carrée was part of the forum, the administrative and economic centre of the town. Originally a Roman temple, the building has since served as a court and as an office for the consuls of Nîmes. It became a home, a stable than a church. Today it houses an exhibition tracing its history.
Sète, called the Venice of Languedoc because of its light, colours, reflections, and canals, is built on the side of Mont Saint Clair. It is poised like a pearl between the Mediterranean and the Thau lagoon, famous for its oysters.
The largest fishing port on the Mediterranean, Sète has retained its traditional charm thanks to the daily ballet of the trawlers escorted by seagulls. The port, built at the same time as the Canal du Midi by Riquet and Colbert, was designed as the sea-mouth of the canal. You can watch cruise ships docking here all year round.
The famous nautical jousting tournaments of Languedoc-Roussillon take place throughout the summer on the canals of Sète, Agde Palavas-les-Flots, and Grau-du-Roi. Dressed in white, their bare feet braced against the boards of their boats, the jousters face each other across the water, a shield in one hand and a wooden lance in the other. This extraordinary form of combat dates back to the Middle Ages and represents a kind of ritualized battle between married men and youths. The joust in Sète on the Feast of St Louis (August) is the best known, and always draws a big crowd. The winner becomes a local celebrity for a year.
The South of France is a breathtaking experience, with all its beauty and charm, from amazing vineyards to the smell of the lavender fields, it’s an experience that should be on your bucket list of places to see in the world.
Today we explored a few places, follow our blog as we will be posting more of the amazing South of France! We have great deals on accommodations www.travelloafers.agentstudio.com click on over and check them out today!
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Dianne & Mike