We’ve changed our name!!

Written by on 01/07/2017 in Blog

The region formerly known as Languedoc Roussillon which then became Languedoc Roussillon - Midi- Pyrénées has now been announced as Occitanie

The restructuring of France’s regions in January 2016 meant that the former regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées were merged together to form a new super region that covers a large part of southern France, including a section of Mediterranean coastline and part of the Pyrénées mountains

The countryside varies from the Pyrénées mountains, Mediterranean beaches, the marshy Camargue and the Cévennes mountains. The beaches are quieter than there counterparts along the Rivera so are popular with families and the region includes two popular UNESCO World Heritage sites – the medieval cité of Carcassonne and the Canal du Midi.

Map of new regions of France 2016

Must visit places within in Occitanie

The fairy-tale walled cité of Carcassonne is instantly recognisable and one of France’s most visited attractions. Reputedly the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Carcassonne was restored by Viollet-le-Duc in 1853 and is now an UNESCO World Heritage site. Across the river from the cité is the ville basse where the majority of the town’s inhabitants live.

Picture of the walled cité of Carcassonne

The vibrant city of Toulouse is the largest city in Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées and has a large student population and a stong aviation industry. Toulouse is known as la ville rose because of its pink-coloured architecture. The centre is framed by the Canal du Midi and the St-Sernin cathedral is considered to be one of the finest Romanesque buildings in the world.

Montpellier is one of the largest cities along the Mediterranean coast and also has a large student population who attend Montpellier university, one of the oldest in the world. The Place de la Comédie, Jardin des Plantes and the elegant 18th-century hôtels particuliers are not to be missed

The town of Perpignan was once Catalonia’s second city after Barcelona and it still feels more Spanish or Catalan than it does French.

Part of the region enjoys a Mediterranean coastline with popular resort towns, including the port of Sète with its lively water-jousting tournaments, La Grande Motte and Le Grau du Roi. The stretch of Mediterranean coast which joins the Spanish border is called the Côte Vermeille and includes the stunning beaches of Argelès-sur-Mer, Banyuls-sur-Mer and Collioure.

View of collioure-port

In Roman times one of the most important towns in the area was Narbonne, the capital of Gaul. It was a prosperous port at the crossroads between Aquitaine, Italy and Spain and you can still see Roman influences in the uncovered Via Domitia road and the Horreum subterranean galleries. Narbonne’s other claim to fame is as the birthplace of legendary French singer Charles Trenet and you can visit his former home.

Image of Narbonne, France.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Canal du Midi runs from Marseillan near Sète to Toulouse where it joins the Canal de Garonne. This breathtakingly beautiful canal is popular with boaters and cyclists and is a great way to see the region.

There are plenty of vineyards in Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées and so you have plenty of choice including wine from the Corbières, the Minervois and Gallic wines. Limoux produces a good sparkling wine called Crémant de Limoux, and legend has it that the secret of the sparkling wine was smuggled back to Champagne by Dom Pérignon. In terms of food specialities from Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées you can choose from aligot – a hearty dish of potatoes, cheese, garlic, cream and butter – foie gras, cassoulet which the town of Castelnaudry claims to have invented and Roquefort cheese.

Picture of cassoulet

sourced from Complete France online magazine

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