Nature in Languedoc-Roussillon

Nature in Languedoc-Roussillon

The scenery
 • From the Mediterranean lagoons (represented by the Etang de Thau in particular) to the Cévennes ridges  (identified by Mont Aigoual), des solitary Causses (chalk plateaux and a chaotic mass of rock) to the generous slopes of the Catalan Pyrenees (dominated by Mont Canigou, 2,785m), down to the golden beaches stretching between the Grau-du-Roi and Collioure: this Occitan province has an extremely varied and fairly temperamental environment! A visit to the Météo France observatory on mont Aigoual will show you that this peak with its beautiful views, only 1,565 m high, is the most tempestuous in the country, and has broken all records for wind, snow and cold temperatures! What a contrast to the mild southern climate of the Languedoc coast, the hills in the Corbières or the Coteaux du Roussillon, all covered with vineyards. Many other remarkable sites arouse curiosity: the hills of the garrigue around Nîmes with the Pont du Gard, the Pic Saint-Loup (658 m high) standing so alone near Montpellier, the rows of majestic plane trees along the Canal du Midi and the castles (mostly in ruins) perched high up in the Aude - Cathare Country /, between Carcassonne and Narbonne.

Gastronomy and local produce
Wines from Corbières, Banyuls and Rivesaltes; wines from the Pays des Sables (in the region of Montpellier-Sète) or those in the Costières de Nîmes appellation: much of the region is devoted to the divine grape! But Occitan land is also excellent breeding ground. The Pélardon, a goat's cheese from the Causses, is there to prove it. And bull meat is used in delicious meals around Aigues-Mortes, on the edge of the Petit Rhône, a region to the west of Camargue

 • The Cévennes, between Gard and Lozère, attract many long-distance walkers, especially along Stevenson's route, the GR 70, named after the 19th century writer and traveller, who described his journey in "Travels with a Donkey". You can also enjoy a walk in the winding valley upstream of the Gardon (GR 6), well known for its amazing Roman aqueduct. At the other end of the region, the GR de Pays hiking trails are wonderful for walking around the Cerdagne - Capcir, a slope in the Pyrenees, well preserved and under Mediterranean influence. Once again, you can travel the GR 10 (across the Pyrenees) towards the powerful majesty of Mont Canigou, and the themed smaller PR trails: the Céret ridges, in Roussillon), a wine-producer's route near Ferrals-les-Corbières, a Cathare route around Quillan (near Carcassonne), etc.

The more peaceful hills in the coastal plains are wonderful for cycling with the family. Just travel one of the Green routes along the Canal de la Robine (22 km between Narbonne and Port-la-Nouvelle), from Perpignan to Thuir (15 km), the Agly (14 km between Barcarès and Rivesaltes), from Montpellier to Palavas (16 km) or the Chemin des Filatiers (thread merchant's route (38 km between Lavelanet and Mirepoix, in Cathare country), etc.

Navigable waterways
 • Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage register, the Canal du Midi, which flows from Carcassonne to Béziers, is of course one of the main delights of river boating, especially if you take a solar-powered barge-hôtel. The canal du Midi, dating back to the middle of the seventeenth century, boasts many original bridges dating from that period. On the other side, the Rhône Canal from Beaucaire to Sète also promises peaceful escapades in the sun.


Things to see