Languedoc-Roussillon travel guide

Everything you should know before planning a holiday in Languedoc-Roussillon, at a glance.

When go, the best sights and attractions, food and drinks not to miss.
And the best boutique hotels in Languedoc-Roussillon bookable online, just a click away. 

Languedoc-Roussillon is the heartland of the distinct southern French culture, characterised by its own language. The langue d'oc, or “language of Oc,” also called Occitan, which gives its name to the region, was similar to but distinct from northern French. The southern part of the area, Roussillon, spoke Catalan, the language of northern Spain. Even though French is now the dominant language, the culture of this region remains unique. 


When to travel to Languedoc-Roussillon

Languedoc-Roussillon has a warm climate and receives the greatest number of visitors in summer; the busies times of year are July and August. Organizing your holiday in Languedoc-Roussillon slightly earlier or later avoids the hottest days and the densest crowds, making April, May, June, September or October the ideal times to visit this region. If you're mainly interested in the area's historic towns rather than beaches, you can visit during the winter.  


Climate


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Average Temperature
°C 7 8 11 13 16 20 24 23 20 16 11 8
°F 45 46 51 55 61 68 74 73 68 60 52 46













Average Rainfall
mm 80 70 40 60 40 20 20 30 30 90 60 60
Days 10 7 7 10 9 6 4 7 8 12 10 10

Sights and attractions in Languedoc-Roussillon

Many of the most famous sights in Languedoc-Roussillon are legacies of the region's troubled religious history. In the middle ages, the dissident Cathar sect became the target of a Crusade by church authorities. Although the Cathars were eventually wiped out, the struggle has left its mark on Languedoc-Roussillon, particularly in castles and fortified towns. The most famous of these are the castle and walls of the medieval city of Carcassonne. Restored in the 19th century, the walls are one of the region's most popular tourist attractions, so arrive early to beat the crowds. 

Other legacies of the Cathar age include hilltop citadels like the chateaux of Peyrepetuse and Quéribus, as well as the town of Rennes-le-Château. Legends of a secret Cathar treasure have made Rennes-le-Château a destination for lovers of the mysterious. The city of Béziers owes its towering Gothic cathedral to the destruction of the original in a massacre of Cathars by church forces. 

A more recent attraction for lovers of history and architecture is the city of Montpellier, with its beautiful 18th-century city centre. Montpellier is France's fastest-growing city, with vibrant nightlife and excellent shopping. Art lovers shouldn't miss the excellent collections of the Musée Fabre. 

You’re looking for a beach holiday in Languedoc-Roussillon? You won’t be disappointed. Languedoc-Roussillon has been a favourite beach destination for French vacationers for decades. Several stand out: the resort of La Grande-Motte was built with consciously “futuristic” architecture in the 1960s and 1970s; as a result, its white pyramids are now entertainingly quaint. La Grande-Motte remains one of the most popular seaside resorts for the French. Further to the southwest, Roussillon's white sand beaches are also popular destinations for sun-lovers; the seaside village of Collioure, the resorts of Canet Plage and St-Cyprien-sur-Mer are among the most popular. 

The old town of Agde was settled in the 5th century BC by the Greeks. This small community by the mouth of the river Hérault is known for its distinctive black basalt buildings, including a medieval cathedral. The nearby seaside resort of Cap d'Agde is known for its enclosed naturist community.

Main cities of Languedoc-Roussillon: Montpellier

Main attractions of Languedoc-Roussillon: Cathar fortresses, petite-Camargue wetlands, lively Montpellier, beach resorts

Most beautiful villages of Languedoc-Roussillon: Lagrasse, Aiguèze, Bize-Minervois, Olargues, La Garde-Guérin, Sainte-Enimie, Castelnou, Eus, Évol, Mosset, Villefranche-de-Conflent

Food and drinks of Languedoc-Roussillon

Food is a vital part of the culture of Languedoc-Roussillon. Like their Spanish neighbours, the locals enjoy long lunches with plenty of unhurried conversation. The influence of northern Spain can be seen in some dishes, and the coastal location of the region naturally means plenty of good seafood. 

  • Olive Oil
    Whereas northern French cooking relies heavily on butter, the south, including Languedoc-Roussillon, uses olive oil in most cooking. In this respect, as in many others, the region is closer to its Mediterranean neighbours than to northern France. Languedoc-Roussillon is well-known for its olive oil. A typical sauce of the region is pistou, the Languedoc equivalent of Italian pesto. Although they both contain garlic, basil and olive oil, pistou doesn't contain pine nuts. It's most often found in Soupe au Pistou.
  • Cassoulet
    Many different parts of southern France claim to be the origin of this traditional bean casserole. Within Languedoc-Roussillon, the local contender is Carcassonne. White beans, carrots, celery, garlic, onions and herbs are slowly cooked in a pot called a cassole before being baked. There are many varying cassoulet recipes, but the traditional Carcassonne version calls for lamb as the meat. Partridge is also sometimes used.
  • Wine
    The stereotype of wine from Languedoc-Roussillon is that it's forgettable. While this may once have been true, the last decades have seen a transformation in the region's wines. Crisp, refreshing whites such as the Picpoul de Pinet or potent reds such as those from Corbières are well worth looking into. As an added bonus, Languedoc wines have yet to achieve the fame of their northern neighbours, making them typically more affordable. 

About

Size: 27,376 square kilometres 
Population: 2,565,000 people 
Capital city: Montpellier
Provinces: Aude, Gard, Hérault, Lozère, Pyrénées-Orientales
Landscape: Medieterranean beaches, rocky coves, lively cities, scrubland, wetlands, pine forest


Places to stay in Languedoc-Roussillon

Les Bulles de Mer

Les Bulles de Mer

Saint-Cyprien, Les Bulles de Mer
La Bastide Cabezac

La Bastide Cabezac

Bize-Minervois, La Bastide Cabezac
Hôtel Domaine des Clos

Hôtel Domaine des Clos

Beaucaire, Hôtel Domaine des Clos