Picture the Languedoc and you imagine Carcassonne the medieval city with jousting and troubadours; the long sandy beaches; the fabulous Corbiere Valley with endless vineyards; and the pretty coastal towns of Port Vendres and Collieure famed for their fabulous seafood. For wine buffs amongst us there are no less than 15 wine domains in this region offering heady reds and crisp rosé wines – from Minervois, Fitou, Corbieres, St Chinain and Faugéres to name but a few. Many of the domains offer wine sampling (degustation) with some showing the visitor how the wine is made. The food and drink is equally excellent, browse and read our page about gastronomy in the Languedoc.
The beaches are long and sandy and perfect for children to play or for Mum & Dad to sunbathe. There are also clear lagoons, lakes, canals, rivers, swimming pools fed by natural hot springs, and even subterranean streams. If swimming in the “buff” is your thing then the superb nudist beach at Cap D'Agde is excellent. As with the Mediterranean water sports featured heavily along this coastline. Equipment can be hired for water skiing, sailing, windsurfing, fun boarding, scuba diving, sand yachting, kite flying, sea kayaking, jet skiing, canoeing, river kayaking and white water rafting.
If active water sports are not of interest then you must go and see the water jousts that take place in the summer, mainly in August, along the Mediterranean coast of the Languedoc. They are exactly what the name suggests, medieval style jousts, but with the jousters mounted on board boats. They attract large crowds of supporters and spectators and are great fun to watch.
The lovely town of Beziers is famous for its annual Feria which is the annual festival of bullfighting. This annual event takes place in mid August when partying takes place from dawn until the following dawn in some cases. The lovely brick arena becomes the focus of the festival where bullfights take place several times a day. Love it or loathe it, bullfighting is very popular in the Languedoc, and is very much part of the culture here. It has been a tradition for centuries, due to the close proximity to Spain. Much pomp and ceremony takes place during a bullfight, it is basically a test of courage, strength and skill between a bull and a matador, or torero. The torero must read the bull and anticipate his actions. His job is, admittedly is to stay alive, but most importantly to entertain the crowd. Depending on his prowess (and the applause in the arena), the dignitary of the day may award an ear, or two ears, as a mark of his performance. For some though, it’s the natty little costumes they wear and those very, very tight trousers.
If you can’t bear the spectacle of the bull fights, or corridas as they are called here, you don’t have to. You can still glean all of the excitement, admire the culture and soak up the atmosphere on the roads of Beziers after the arena empties. There is so much to do and see you will find that you want to be in two places at once. There is the enchanting horse show, the Spanish flamenco dancers, concerts, processions of floats and bands and much, much more. The Feria offers many different types of entertainment which suit all ages and most of it is free.
A trip to Sete called the Venice of the Languedoc should be part of your trip to the region. Once a small fishing village on the island of Mont St Clair it’s become the definitive Languedoc fishing port for France on the Mediterranean. This warm and colourful town is known as the Venice of Languedoc with its canals and small bridges. The charm of Sete is in the canals, the sea, the streets and the restaurants.
A trip on the Canal du Midi should not be missed. Built in the 17th century to connect the Atlantic and Mediterranean, the Canal offers many pleasant places to walk or cycle along its towpaths or hire a boat.
This area is superb for families and plenty for the children to do. There are water parks, adventure parks, nature parks, dinosaur parks and if it’s a wet day then a trip to the Haribo sweets museum will fill the kids with sugar and boundless energy.
As with the Mediterranean the weather is excellent with hot sunny days and temperatures ranging from the mid twenties in June and September and thirties upwards in July and August.
Getting to this region is simple with no less than five airports to choose from and all serve by low budget airlines. Ryan Air & Easy Jet fly to Carcassonne, Perpignan, Nimes, Montpelier and Beziers.
For a choice of places to stay in the region, see below, or click this link.
A family villa with heated pool and tennis court in South West France, Minervois sits in 12 acres of land in the region of Languedoc known as the Black Mountains. On the edge of the hilltop village of Lespinassiere, the villa enjoys a forest backdrop.