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Languedoc-Roussillon: natural landscapes and historic cities

The French region of Languedoc-Roussillon has now merged into the new region of Occitania. The old region included the French southern coast, along the Mediterranean Sea, between the Rhone delta and the Pyrenees on the border with Spain and Andorra. The most important city and capital of the region was Montpellier.

The territory of the region is very varied, both geographically and culturally. In fact, culturally the territory of Gard is comparable to the Provence of which it is culturally part. While the Aude, the Pyrenees Orientales and Roussillon are culturally part of northern Catalonia.

Geographically, Languedoc-Roussillon has a flat strip along the coast, with long sandy beaches protected by large ponds. This territory reaches to the east the Rhone delta and the Camargue, and to the west the rocky coast near the Pyrenees. The interior of the region is characterized by mountainous areas such as the Pyrenees. Here is the highest mountain in the region, the Pic Carlit (2,921 meters). Other mountain ranges are those of the Cevennes and the Massif Central. In the territory of Languedoc-Roussillon there are also topographically very varied areas such as those of the Grands Causses.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: WHAT TO SEE IN LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON

Thanks to the very varied natural landscapes, tourism is one of the most important activities in the region. Along the coast there are numerous and well-equipped seaside resorts such as Palavas-les-Flots, Collioure, La Grande Motte and Le Cap d’Agde. But the most important references of the region are those related to the natural landscape of the interior, well preserved through national (Cevennes) and regional (Haut-Languedoc) parks.

Very beautiful and interesting is the landscape of the Grands Causses, a set of limestone plateaus located in the area south of the Massif Central, in the Cevennes, and which rise between 700 and 1,200 meters high. These include the Causse de Sauveterre and the Causse Méjean. Separated from each other by the beautiful and scenic gorges du Tarn, while further south are the Causse Noir and the Causse du Larzac.

ARTISTIC HERITAGE

The main attractions for tourists are the artistic ones, the region hosts some sites declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site: the Roman aqueduct of the Pont du Gard, the medieval city of Carcassonne and the Canal du Midi. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are the two sites of the forts of Villefranche-de-Conflent and Mont-Louis, part of the Vauban fortification system, a total of 12 fortifications scattered on the borders of France.

Finally, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are the sites of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in France (Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle en France) three of which are located in the region: The ancient Abbey of Gellone in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, the Pont du Diable in Aniane / Saint-Jean-de-Fos, and the ancient abbatiale of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard. Other cities worthy of a visit include the historic center of Nimes, rich in Roman remains, the medieval town of Aigues-Mortes, with its mighty walls, and the cities of Perpignan and Montpellier.

  • LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON
  • Area: 27,376 km²
  • Population: 2,548,000 (2007)
  • Capital: Montpellier

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