Languedoc in the South of France
Nestled between the Camargue region to the east and the French Catalonian Pyrenees to the southwest and extending northwards to the Cévennes and the Massif Central, Languedoc is a vast province of many faces and contrasts. Sandy coastlines, bucolic marshes and wild life sanctuaries, vineyards stretching far into the horizon and charming picturesque villages grace the sunny Mediterranean Bas-Languedoc. Just as striking is the Haut-Languedoc’s rough and austere landscape of chiseled peaks and deep valleys; there, in cool pine and oak forests wild boar, deer and mouflons (a unique race of wild mountain sheep) exist peacefully amidst nearby rustic villages and hamlets hidden along twisted roads and lonely trails.
Historically, the range of landscapes and its central position has made this southern province a cultural hub boosting a divers and fascinating heritage. Archeological remnants of the ancient Greek, Roman and Phoenician civilizations are evident along the shores the Mediterranean. Further inland, medieval towns and fortified cities such as Carcassonne and Minerve, along with the lonely silhouettes of Cathare’s fortresses, perched on steep hilltops, are the legacy of the darkest days of the Middle Ages and religious wars. The regal and opulent city of Montpellier, dating from the 10th century, was a center of learning for centuries, attracting some of Europe’s most illustrious scholars, writers, scientists and artists of their time – a distinction that the regional capital still holds today. The picturesque towns of Pézenas and Narbonne are fine examples of the region’s unparalleled architectural heritage. Here Romanesque, Gothic and graceful buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries interface with each other in perfect harmony.
The Canal du Midi, shaded by ancient plane trees, was built in 17th century by Louis XIV and his Finance Miniser Jean-Baptiste Colbert in order to provide a commercial link between Toulouse and the Mediterranean. Today, for many, the iconic peaceful waterway symbolizes the Languedocian’s enduring and endearing way of life.