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10 best Languedoc sites
10 things to do in Languedoc Roussillon
Here is our recommendation of the 10 best things to do in Languedoc-Roussillon during your stay. There is such variety in the landscape and such a long history dating back to before the Romans, that you will never be stuck for things to do.
Our list of best places to visit in Languedoc Roussillon is in no particular order and is purely based on what we have enjoyed during our 16 years of living in Languedoc-Roussillon.
1. Best places to visit in Languedoc Roussillon - Van Gogh's Arles
I think that Arles is definitely my favourite city in the South of France. With its Roman heritage, complete with preserved Amphitheatre, Forum and Theatre; the beautiful 17th Century mansions and modern Museums and not forgetting the wide rolling river; Arles has it all. Arles was also the base for Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, during their ill-fated but successful partnership in the 'Studio of the South'. Here van Gogh painted some of his most famous masterpieces. See our review of Van Gogh in Arles for more places to visit in Arles.
2. Best Languedoc tourism sites - The Canal du Midi
This tree-lined canal that runs from Toulouse to the Mediterranean sea, is the largest UNESCO World heritage site on earth. It has come to symbolise the slow, relaxed life of the South of France. The brain-child of Paul Riquet, a tax collector from Beziers, this mammoth civil engineering project was the most complex and greatest civil engineering undertaking since the time of the Romans. Passing under the walls of historic Carcassonne the quintessential South of France experience is to boat, walk or cycle along Riquet's canal. Our favourite stretch of the Canal du Midi is in between Colombiers and Capestang. Here you will also find the Oppidum d'Enserune. This pre-Roman settlement is perched on a ridge above the vineyards of Beziers. Look down and see the Basin de Montady, with its fields shaped like a wagon wheel. See also Top sites for Kids in the South of France.
On Go Languedoc you will find a range of French gites to rent along the Canal du Midi. Visit Canal du Midi holiday rentals for more details.
3. Places to visit in Languedoc - Pont Du Gard
The Pont du Gard is an extraordinary Roman aqueduct located just north of Nimes. It is a classified UNESCO World Heritage Site. The original aqueduct collapsed after an earthquake and the Emperor Napoleon ordered that it be rebuilt brick by brick. Not only is extraordinary that the Romans managed to build the aqueduct in the first place, but it is still amazing to think that the whole structure was rebuilt without the aid of cranes during the late 18th century. The pont du gard has an excellent visitors centre and a lovely mediterranean garden. The Pont du Gard is a special place to visit in Languedoc and one of my favourite days out with the kids is to swim under the arches of the Pont du Gard or take a canoe up the river. The Pont du Gard also appears in my Top Picnic Spots in the South of France.
4. Best places to visit in Languedoc Roussillon - Carcassonne
Carcassonne is France's most famous and evocative medieval castle and is the second most visited tourist site outside of Paris. Carcassonne is the third UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Languedoc-Roussillon. It is the scale of the castle at Carcassonne that blows you away. A wonderful monument with an impressive history. If you do go, try and keep your hand in your pocket as you go past all the lines of tourist souvenier shops - most of the stuff they sell is absolute tat and you don't really need it!. There are however some reasonably priced restarants inside the Cite - although I can't vouch for the quality. See Carcassonne tourist site for more information about things to do in Carcassonne.
On Go Languedoc, we have a good range of accommodation options in and around Carcassonne. See Carcassonne apartments and villas to rent for more details.
5. Best Languedoc tourism sites - Collioure
The picturesque coastal town of Collioure is truly an idyllic place. It is situated in the very south of France, 26 km (approx. 15 miles) from the Spanish border. It has always attracted a host of artists (such as Matisse, Derain and even Picasso) because of its 'special light' and you can follow the unique art trail through the town (see Collioure Art Trail for more information). Its small Catalan harbour is sheltered by a quiet bay where the Pyrenees meets the Sea. You can count on having a splendid swim at one of the small coves. Read our article on Collioure tourist information for more detail. You can also see a range of places to stay in Collioure at Collioure accommodation.
6. Best Languedoc things to do - Pezenas
Once the old stomping ground of the French playwright, Moliere; Pezenas is now a haven for French antiques shops and a fabulous Saturday market. Pezenas is probably the prettiest large town in the South of France (although Uzes and Sommiers may have something to say about that!).
We just love wandering around the market on a Saturday and taking a detour off into the old Jewish quarter with the jewellers, cafes and boutiques. It is no wonder that Pezenas is such a draw for people all year around. Read our article on Pezenas tourism for more details. You can also see our selection of French villas to rent in Pezenas on Go Languedoc.
7. Things to do in Languedoc - Aigues Mortes
It is always a pleasure to spend time in Aigues-Mortes, even when the town is packed out during the summer months. This medieval walled town is romantically set among the dunes and plains of the Camargue. A tour of Aigues-Mortes' fortifications and grid pattern streets is a must on any visit to Languedoc-Roussillon. Surprisingly for such a tourist haven, the restaurants around the main square are actually quite decent . Our preference though is to buy sandwiches and have a picnic on the grassy slopes of the ramparts.
One of the best times to visit Aigues-Mortes is during the bull festivals held in late May and in early September. The summer Thursday night 'spectaculars' are also worth attending. See Aigues-Mortes tourism for more information.
8. Best places to visit in Languedoc Roussillon - Nimes
Nimes is closely linked to its Roman past. Its location on the Via Domitia - the main chariot route from Spain to Rome - helped make it a favourite with a series of Emperors. Julius Casaer granted a famous legion in his army faming rights in Nimes as reward for a famous battle victory (and the Crocodile emblem of this Legion is still contained on the city crest of Nimes). Today, Nimes is endowed with an outstanding collection of monuments including the Maison Carree, the Amphitheatre and the Temple of Diana. Today it is home to a bustling commercial district, with winding streets hiding a plethora of boutiques. It also has two good art galleries and hosts some of the most colourful festivals in Languedoc-Roussillon - February's Carnival and the Ferias of Pentecost and September. See Nimes travel guide for more details.
We have a wide range of French properties to rent in Nimes and the surroounding area. See Nimes villas to rent France for the full selection.
9. Best Languedoc tourism sites - Montpellier
Montpellier has a real buzz about it. The place is alive with amazing energy and is a real tonic to the lazy days spent in our Southern France village. With fine museums, a charming old centre, modern tramway network and booming hi-tech business sector with extraordinary modern buildings; you really get the feeling that Montpellier is the place to be Languedoc. The best time to visit Montpellier is during one of its excellent festivals such as the Montpellier Danse festival. It even has a Mediterranean beach! See our article on Montpellier tour guide for more details.
You can view some of Montpellier accommodation to rent on Go Languedoc here: Montpellier villas to rent
10. Best places to visit in Languedoc Roussillon - Avignon
Avignon is a wonderful mix of history and culture, set on the banks of the River Rhone. Avignon first came to prominence in 1303 when the Vatican decided to move away from the turbulence and violence of Rome to the peaceful pastures of Provence. Although they only stayed for 70 years their legacy can still be seen on the beautiful streets of Avignon. On your list of things to do in Avignon should be a visit to the Pont du Avignon and the Palais des Papes. Close to Avignon you will also find the famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine appellation. See our article on Avignon tourism for more details).
If you are interested in staying near Avignon, please see our range of holiday rentals near Avignon on Go Languedoc
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