Spacious villa with private swimming pool on a property of 2500 m? in the Gard (Languedoc Roussillon). Newly built in traditional local style with a ceiling reaching up to 5 metres. Stunning views. All rooms are on the ground floor. Three bedrooms. Suitable for 2-6 people. more info...
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An L-shaped region on the coast of south-eastern France, the administrative area of Languedoc-Roussillon is a varied land stretching from the Pyrenees to Provence. The coast is a long stretch of generally wide, sandy beaches, while the interior is filled with vineyards and tiny hamlets. Though united by the government, Languedoc and Roussillon are really two separate areas with two separate personalities. Languedoc is typically French in food, culture and customs, while Roussillon, which runs along the Spanish border, has a distinctly Spanish air to it. Some people here still speak Catalan, the language spoken across the border in the Catalonia region.
The largest city and main point of entry is Montpellier, a pretty university city that's home to several fine gardens and stately 17th- and 18th- century manor houses. Students constitute nearly a fourth of the city's population, giving Montpellier a distinctly youthful feel.
N?mes, northeast of Montpellier, is also worth a stop. Known for its fabulous Roman buildings, this makes a great day trip. Be sure to visit Les Ar?nes, a Roman amphitheatre still used for performances, and the Maison Carr?e, a first-century Roman temple. Roussillon's largest city, Perpignan, is another must-see destination. Well-kept and with a wealth of historical buildings, this Catalan city is great for strolling. While here, peek into the Royal Palace, built in the 13th century and once the domain of the King and Queen of Aragon. Other cities worth visiting include Al?s, B?ziers, Ganges, Narbonne, P?zenas and S?te.
Languedoc-Roussillon is also known for its fabulous seaside resorts. Some of the most popular Mediterranean towns are Argel?s, Leucate, Port-la-Nouvelle and Maquelone. In all you'll find sandy beaches and pretty town centres where restaurants and seaside caf?s abound.
Inland, head to Carcassonne, one of France's most famous medieval towns. Though heavily restored and generally swarming with tourists, this is nevertheless a magical place that lets you image what life here was like half a millennium ago. After visiting the town, take a drive through the vineyard-filled countryside, where you'll find some wineries that are open for visits.
The weather in Languedoc-Roussillon is a combination of the typical Mediterranean and the more Continental French climates. The best time to come is in Spring, when temperatures are pleasantly mild, the crowds are yet to arrive, and rainfall is low. Summers here are hot, with highs in the 40s. This is when the coast fills up with holidaying families and foreigners, meaning you'll find plenty of ambience but constant crowds. Autumns are cool and wet, with the bulk of the rainfall coming September through December. In the Pyrenees, winters are cold, with heavy snowfall as you gain altitude.
Montpellier is well connected to the rest of France (and Europe) by air and highway. You can drive here in 6 hours from Paris or in just 3 hours from Barcelona. Regular flights from London, Frankfurt and other European airports come and go regularly from Montpellier, some flights operated by budget carriers like Ryanair. Flying time from the UK is about two hours.
You may also choose to arrive by rail; the high-speed train from Paris takes just 3 hours.
Once in the region you can either rely on the slim but generally competent regional bus services or you can take the more relaxing option and rent a car. If you plan on exploring the interior, a car may be necessary, as bus service is scarce between the smaller towns. Highways in the area are good and generally quiet.
In summer, you'll head to the coast, where a string of good beaches and pretty coastline will keep you entertained with sun, sea and sand. Sailing is popular here, and larger resorts offer boat, jetski or windsurf rental too. Off the water you'll find a few golf courses and quite a few health spas. Some resorts also offer more extreme sports, like paragliding, 'sailplane gliding', parachuting, bungee jumping or hot air balloon trips. Ask in local tourist offices for more information.
Away from the resorts, many people head into the vineyard country, where rolling hills lined with vines make an excellent backdrop for walking, cycling or driving tours. Some wineries can be visited, but you may have to call ahead for reservations. If you do plan to explore the countryside, be sure to save time for cultural visits to towns like Carcassone and N?mes, where medieval and Roman architecture, respectively, await.
Numerous museums and cultural centres are found here too. Food lovers can visit the Snail Museum in Saint Florent sur Auzonnet (where a tasting is thrown in with the visit), while marine lovers will want to visit the Seaquarium in Port Camargue.
In winter, it's possible to go downhill or cross-country skiing in one of the numerous resorts in Pyrenean ski areas like Cerdagne, Capcir-Matemale and The Aude Pyrenees.