- Countryside Historical hills, Roman relics
- Country life Bric-à-brac, strolling and sunshine
Sprawling from the chestnut-dotted Cévennes Mountains to a flamingo-flanked Mediterranean Coast, by way of magnificent ancient cities and rolling winelands, this region has reason to puff out its chest when declaring its geographical and metropolitan offerings.
Not only does Languedoc- Roussillon offer lovely sun-soaked landscape and world-class eating and drinking, but each slice of this neighbour to Provence also has its own distinct flavour. Soak up the vineyards of the Uzège, ogle the awe-inspiring Pont du Gard, and take in superb Roman antiquities in Nîmes. In summer, pleasure is a given wherever you roam, but Uzès and Montpellier yield cultural treasures – ancient and modern – all year round.
Do go/Don’t go
High season (July, August and early September) is the busiest tourist time, but it’s buzzy rather than crowded. Late September is quiet but not too quiet.
- Planes From the UK, British Airways flies to Montpellier; Marseille airport is also an option, especially if you're staying in Provence first. Ryanair flies from Bristol and London Stansted to Montpellier (www.ryanair.com); EasyJet flies in from London Gatwick (www.easyjet.com). Air France also flies from Paris Orly to Montpellier (www.airfrance.com).You can access the west of the region via Carcassonne from Bournemouth, London, Leeds, Liverpool, Edinburgh and East Midlands with Ryanair.
- Trains The TGV goes from Paris Gare de Lyon to Perpignan via Nîmes, Montpellier, Béziers and Narbonne (www.tgv.com). UK passengers should take the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Lille and change (www.eurostar.com).
- Automobiles You’re unlikely to need a cab in the smaller cities, since the streets were made for strolling; in Montpellier there’s a shiny tramway linking the station, Place de la Comédie and Eighties-built quartier Antigone. If you do want one, you’ll need to ring; if it’s a ‘late-night return to the sticks’ scenario, book through your hotel.
- Taxis You’re unlikely to need a cab in the smaller cities, since the streets were made for strolling; in Montpellier there’s a shiny tramway linking the station, Place de la Comédie and the Eighties-built new town, Antigone. If you do want one, it’s not possible to flag taxis down; you’ll need to call them and, if it’s a late-night-returning-to-the-sticks scenario, book in advance through your hotel.