• Regional Information for Languedoc Roussillon

    Cabardes region

    The Languedoc-Rousillion is an interesting and diverse region of France which borders the Mediterranean sea to the east and the Pyrenees mountains to the south. The area is steeped in the history of the Cathar period, has been a wine producing region for more than 2000 years and plays host to 3 significant world heritage sites, namely Carcassonne, Canal du Midi and the Pont du Gard which bridges the river Gard near to Avignon north East of Nimes and Montpellier. Other attractions include the mountains, rivers, lakes, ancient cities and the fortresses that are more commonly known as the Cathar castles.

    In contradiction to the weather chart you will find below, it is also possible to ski in the South of France. You do of course have to visit the Pyrenees where the altitude of the mountains brings the average temperatures down to freezing and below in winter; making the location a great place to ski. Also because the Pyrenees are not at the forefront of your mind when it comes to skiing there are some very good ski deals to be had in the region. Worth checking out if you think you would like to ski in the Pyrenees, especially Andorra.

    Getting back to the region of Langudedoc Roussillon, it is made up of 5 departments and has 5 main cities

  • Dept no Department Name  Major Cities 
    66 Pyrenees Orientales Montpellier
    48 Lozere Perpignan
    34 Herault Mende
    30 Gard Nimes
    11 Aude Carcassonne
  • Regional Climate

    Annual Average Climate Chart for the South of France
           
    RegionJanFebMarAprMayJun
    Languedoc- Rousillon 12(54) 12(52) 13(55) 18(64) 20(68) 27(80)
    Aquitaine 10(50) 9(49) 12(54) 20(67) 18(64) 24(75)
    Limousin 6(43) 6(43) 10(49) 16(61) 15(59) 22(72)
    Midi-Pyrenees 10(50) 9(48) 12(54) 18(65) 19(66) 26(80)
    Provence 12(54) 12(53) 14(58) 19(65) 21(69) 27(80)
    Cote d'Azur 12(54) 12(53) 14(58) 19(65) 21(70) 27(80)
     JulAugSepOctNovDec
    Languedoc- Rousillon 28(83) 28(83) 26(79) 21(70) 16(60) 14(56)
    Aquitaine 27(81) 26(78) 24(76) 20(67) 15(49) 11(52)
    Limousin 25(77) 24(75) 21(70) 16(61) 13(55) 9(47)
    Midi-Pyrenees 28(82) 27(81) 25(78) 19(67) 16(60) 10(50)
    Provence 28(83) 28(83) 25(77) 22(72) 17(62) 14(57)
    Cote d'Azur 28(83) 28(83) 25(77) 22(72) 17(62) 14(57)
                 
    Average Air Temp °C(°F) by month
  • Places of Interest in the South of France

  • Corbieres Wine Region

    An excellent way to explore the Corbieres wine region is to drive from Carcassonne to Narbonne via Lagrasse. If you travel down the N113 towards Narbonne from Carcassonne you will come to the town of Trebes. In Trebes there is a right turn to Lagrasse, take this road and you will drive through the heart of Corbieres country and will find any number of wine outlets and degustations (free wine tasting outlets) on route, you will also be able to enjoy some wonderful scenery. Lagrasse is well worth a stop over for lunch after which you can continue on to Narbonne or if you prefer head back towards Carcassonne, to do this take the D212 towards Fabrezan and eventually you will pick up the road back to Carcassonne or you can continue on to Narbonne either via Lezignan-Corbieres or down the A61 which sits between Fabrezan and Lezignan – Corbieres. The Corbieres region covers significant territory and there will be other routes available for exploration so please consider the above a starting point.

  • Another important wine region is the Minervois which generally sits to the North East of Carcassonne, in this case you should head towards Mazemet from Carcassonne and then bear right towards Bagnoles on the D620 and continue on to Saint-Pons-de-Thomieres. From there you can then travel south towards Aigne, stopping off at Minerve on the way (a delightful medieval city well worth a visit) after Aigne head for La Redorte via Olanzac and then back to Villneuve-Minervois and then Carcassonne. This will take you nicely through the Minervois wine region which you can explore to find the best outlets and degustations.

     

    Wine from the Minervois

  • Fitou and Beyond

    The following tour goes through the Languedoc-Rousillion region of southern France. It is for the wine buff, the historians interested in the Cathar period and for simple admirers of wonderful scenery. Obviously where you are staying will affect where you start your journey, but I am going to assume you are near Carcassonne.

    My recommendation would be to leave between 9.00 and 10.00 a.m. head for the A61 to Narbonne, on route you will pick up the A9 going south to Perpignan. Now you have to make a choice about how far you want to travel, you are on holiday after all, but if it was me I would drive motorway all the way to just south of Perpignan (speed is of the essence here). You are heading for the gorgeous little port of Collioure so you need to leave the A9 near Le Boulou and take the D618 towards Argeles sur Mer, pick up the D2 to take you to the D114 and into Collioure. Now I had better warn you that parking won't be easy, this is a little gem of a place and the word is out so be prepared to have to tour around a bit to get parked. The months of July and August are particularly bad and bring hoards of visitors and long lines of traffic so beware. This has been relieved a little more recently by the provision of out of town car parks and 'petite train' which runs in the summer months.

    Matisse "discovered" the town in 1905 and because of the clarity of light from the sun combined with the blue of the sky and sea, he persuaded other painters such as Dufy, Dali and Picasso to join him, the artist studio theme remains to this day and you will find lots of paintings and artists studios throughout the town.

    The harbor is full of “working” fishing boats, as well as boats dedicated to coast tours, well worth taking for an hour and a half if you can spare the time. There are a couple beaches there which seem quite popular albeit they are pebbles rather than sand.

    If you get your timing right you will be able to have a delicious lunch at one of the beach side seafood restaurants, then you can relax for an hour on the beach, visit the Chateau Royal, built by the Knights Templar in the 13th century or take one of the boat trips, but then you need to get ready to head back as there is still a way to go.

    If you prefer not to go this far south you could head off the A9 at Port la Nouvelle and track down the island of the Sainte Lucie which is supposed to be one of the most beautiful sites on the Mediterranean and then check out the beach at La Frangui or La Palme.

    You now need to head back for the A9 or just aim for Fitou, you will see it signposted from the motorway or near Porte la Nouvelle, Fitou is wine producing country and you will find a few degustations where you can taste the local wine (driver can't swallow remember) so it's' worth a quick stopover, particularly as Fitou is the oldest Languedoc-Rousillion AOC wine.

    You then need to head south again towards Rivesaltes where you can pick up the D117 to Espira-de-l'Agly. Once on the D117 you are going to stay on it all the way to Quillan, at the start you will be driving through wine country and will be amazed by the endless rows of grape vines, they do make you think 'who will drink all this wine' as you pass by mile after mile of vineyards. Then the scene changes to that of mountains and Cathare fortresses with wonderful scenery and lots of picnic places to stop in.

    The road eventually starts to run alongside a mountain river that has carved a way through the rock, you can see where man has had to do the same to make the road high enough for the 'Camions' to get through. You will pass through Saint Paul-de- Fenouillet, Caudies de Fenouilledes and Saint Martin Lys passing very close to the Chateau de Queribus and the Chateau de Peyrepertuse.

    Quillan is a shoe making center and is just south of Esperaza which is on the D118 and is where they found some pretty cool dinosaurs eggs which are now on display at Dinosauria in Esperaza. After Esperaza you will come into Couiza (make a note of this place if you fancy some white water rafting at some point in your holiday). Couiza is where you will find the road up to Rennes le Chateau one of the most famous Cathar fortresses thanks to the Da Vinci Code, there is only one way up and down and that is from Couiza but it is worth it just for the views.

    From Couiza you can take the D613 and visit Rennes les Bains (the name gives it away) where you will find the chlorine and calcium hot water spas and you can treat the rheumatism you got from sitting in the car too long. Arques is not too much further along this route where you will find a few Cathars still live and there is an exhibition in the town center at the Roche house.

    Alternatively you can head up the D118 towards Limoux and Carcassonne and back into wine country. Limoux plays host to the sparkling white wine credited with being the oldest bubbly in the world from around 1531. you will also pass through the lovely Alet-le-Baines which is another spa town, never have guessed would you.

    From Limoux you are nearly back where you started and can head home, there are plenty of other lovely places in the area including Fanjeaux, if you are heading towards Castelnaudary, where you can find some more wonderful views and a restaurant or two if you don't fancy cooking.

    Of course Carcassonne itself is a wonderful city and has La Cite it's famous medieval fortified town where you can go to eat and relax before heading off to find your bed, because after this you are going to need a good nights sleep.

    The whole area makes up the largest wine producing region for France and accounts for a third of Frances vineyards. There are a vast array of different wines available to discover so look out for the red wines from the Minervois, Fitou and Corbières wine regions, and the crisp dry whites from just north of Béziers, as well as the sparkling wine from Limoux.

    The information above is intended to give you a flavor for the area but if you would like a more detailed account and information of the region then the ‘Rough Guide to Languedoc and Rousillon available from Amazon online is an excellent source of information or you can click through to some of the articles I have provided below. For the history of the Lauragais, take a look at this French History Book recently released on Amazon in Kindle format and a fascinating look at the history of the South of France, including the Cathar period around the thirteenth century.

  • Issel Village

    Issel Village

  • Carcassonne

    Carcassonne

  • Castres

    Castres

  • Montsegur

    Montsegur

  • La Franqui & Leucate

    La Franqui & Leucate

  • Rennes le Chateau

    Rennes le Chateau

  • St Felixe Lauragais

    St Felixe Lauragais

  • Cap d' Agde

    Cap d' Agde

  • Beziers

    Beziers

  • Minerve

    Minerve

  • Corbieres

    Corbieres

  • Perpignan

    Perpignan

  • Toulouse

    Toulouse

  • Collioure

    Collioure

  • Narbonne

    Narbonne

  • Montpellier

    Montpellier

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