10 things to do in Languedoc, SW France
When visiting a region for the first time it's only natural that you'll want to see the most popular attractions. The Languedoc region of south west France offers visitors the chance to see and do so many wonderful things that you'll definitely run out of time no matter how long you stay! Here's our list of 10 'must do' things to enjoy whilst holidaying in the region. They're in no particular order and are just a taste of what's on offer in this delightful corner of France.
1. Carcassonne - the UNESCO World Heritage listed fortified city is top of the list for most visitors to Languedoc, and rightly so. The sheer size of the medieval city is amazing.
2. Minerve - one of the region's most beautiful villages, Minerve played a role in the Cathars fight against the Catholic Church in the 13th Century.
3. Lastours - another significant site in 'Cathar Country', Lastours is home to the ruins of four castles built atop a mountain range.
4. Wineries - the Languedoc region is one of France's most important wine growing regions with the rich, red soil producing some or the world's best wines.
5. Lagrasse - another 'Les Plus Beaux Village', Lagrasse is regarded as one of France's prettiest villages.
6. Mirepoix - with it's colourful Medieval buildings built around the town square, Mirepoix makes a great place to sit and enjoy a coffee or a delicious meal made from locally sourced produce.
7. Local markets - most towns and villages have a weekly market. These are a great place to stock up on fresh, local produce, have a coffee and mingle with the locals.
8. Canal du Midi - stretching for over 235 kilometres, the Canal du Midi is a true work of engineering mastery. The tree-lined tow paths are great for walking and cycling, whilst barges still frequent the Canal - these days carrying holidaymakers rather than cargo.
9. Mediterranean - the Languedoc region reaches down to the Mediterranean coastline and the beaches along this stretch of France are popular with sun worshippers, swimmers and watersports fans.
10. Narbonne - one of the region's larger cities, Narbonne boasts all the facilities of a large city whilst still retaining a relatively small-town feel. It's a shopper's paradise and is also home to the Archbishops’ Palace and Les Halles, the beautifully restored 19th Century covered market.
Getting there: DailyTGV trains run from Paris to Montpellier, Beziers and Narbonne. Journey time is around 3.5 hours. Languedoc is well serviced by low-cost airlines from the UK. Airlines include Ryanair, easyJet and bmi baby, flying into Montpellier, Beziers, Perpignan and Carcassonne.
Car rental: Car hire is available from airports, railway stations and downtown depots. Many car rental depots are closed on weekends and over the lunch break in rural France - check in advance for details.
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