The Languedoc-Rousillion region of France
The provinces of Languedoc and Roussillon stretch from the foothills of the Pyrenees on the Spanish border to the mouth of the Rhône river, with the Mediterranean to the south. The southern portion of Languedoc, is composed of a low limestone plain, and almost half of all French wine is produced here. The flat beaches and lagoons of the coast form a sunbelt that attracts millions of visitors every year.
Languedoc-Rousillon features beaches, Medieval villages, outdoor recreation and the world's most popular nudist town.
Languedoc Roussillon is often described as the forgotten Riviera. This coastline makes a good value alternative to pricier French destinations. It has more annual sunshine than any other part of the country.
Cap-d'Agde is the leading resort on the Languedoc coast with over eight miles of fine sand, accessible only by footpaths, and eight marinas. Maguelone has a Romanesque cathedral in the middle of a vine-covered island, and a five mile long beach separating the lagoons from the sea. Palavas-les-Flots, with its gently sloping beaches that are ideal for children, has a small fishing port at its centre.
The lagoons are well worth a visit. Their waters are often home to wild reserves full of rushes and wild grass, eels, waders and pink flamingos. At the Étang de Thau, the biggest and deepest of the lagoons, sea creatures thrive less than nine hundred yards from the beach including eighty five species of fish, one hundred and ten species of mollusc and twenty five species of crab.
The countryside offers sweeping contrasts in its beauty. The tranquil environment changes from rugged river gorges, rolling hillsides, lush vineyards, to white sandy beaches, and lagoons. It’s home to almost three quarters of a million acres of vineyards and this region of France produces more wine than Australia and the US.
Much of the region remains wild and untamed. However, it also contains the most progressive cities in France - Montpellier, the capital of the region, and Nîmes. Both cities, as well as Toulouse, have their own airports so the area is easy to get to form the UK. The area holds a mixture of ancient and modern, from Roman temples and ancient abbeys to post modern architecture in its cities and solar power.
The ancient cities of Perpignan, Montpellier, Sète, Narbonne and Aigues-Mortes offer an insight into the beginnings of the Greek and Roman civilisations in Gaul.
Fish and seafood abound in the region including oysters, mussels stuffed with garlic and herbs, bouillabaisse (fish stew), monkfish bourride, sea bass and mullet.
Fans of The Da Vinci Code, won’t want to miss the opportunity of visiting Rennes-le-Château, once a sleepy village and now a thriving tourist stop.