A holiday in Languedoc has something for eveyone, wether its a cultural tour of the area or just lazing on the beach in the sun, the Languedoc has it all. Culture and heritage are plentiful in this region, particularly the influence of the Romans. You will also find Cathar castles such as Carcassonne which is testament to the Medieval legacy of the area.
Sandy beaches and plenty of coastline to explore are a real attraction, watersports, golf and sun bathing are available all along the coast.
The Languedoc has an interesting and varied past, from prehistoric man to the Saracens, have all had an influence on the Languedoc. In between times the Greeks, Romans Vandals and Visigoths held sway for brief periods in the Languedoc's history. One can see why the architecture is so rich and varied. Languedoc was once independent of France speaking a separate language derived from the latin of the roman invaders– Languedoc means the language of oc. It was by used by Dante Alighieri of Dantes Inferno fame. Incidentally, oc means yes. Roussillon was Spanish until the mid 17th century, and the Catalan heritage is still evident.
The Languedoc stretches from Pyrenees to the southern edge of the Massif Central. The coast is flat and mainly sandy, with a number of salt lagoons called Etangs at various places along the coast. Mountains reach the sea at Cape D'Agde and Sete.
Roussillon is one of the historical counties of the former Principality of Catalonia, corresponding roughly to the present-day southern French département of Pyrénées-Orientales. Soemtiems it refers to French Catalonia or Northern Catalonia, the latter term used particularly by the Catalan-speaking community.
The main industry of the Languedoc is wine, in fact its the largest wine growing area in the world. Wine has been produced in Languedoc for more than 2000 years. The Greeks, and later the Romans, established colonies to produce wine and olives. The EEC wine lakes of a decade ago were produced in the Languedoc. Recently, the Languedoc has sought to improve its vines to produce quality wines such as Merlot and Sauvignon that can command high prices. In the Bizanet area, Baron Eric de Rothschild has invested £25 million in new vines. Other well known wines produced in the area are Corbieres, Minervois, Banyuls, Costieres de Nimes, Roussillon, Fitou and Limoux, not forgetting the sweet Muscat.
Lezignan - Corbières
Lezignan, or Lezignan Corbières as it is correctly known, is a busy working town with a population of about 8000. It's about 7 miles from Bizanet. The market in Lezignan is held on Wednesday morning, early. There are quite a few restaurants of different quality and prices - some are takeaways. If you don't want to go into Narbonne shopping, there a re several supermarkets in the town.
9 cours de la République
T: 04 68 27 05 42
F: 04 68 27 62 47
Narbonne is a city with a population around 50,000. It is the oldest town in the south-west of France. Founded by the Romans it became the capital of Southern Gaul. It is strange to think that it used to be a port as the city now lies about 12 miles from the sea. Narbonne Plage is also 12 miles from the city.
Part of Narbonnes history has been uncovered in the Place Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, next to the Cathedral. A Roman road has been uncovered and is now conserved for all to see.
At the centre of the city flows the Canal du Robine, bordered on either side by flower bedecked banks. This is where the Thursday market takes place, close to les Halles. Les Halles is an indoor pannier market of outstanding quality, said to be the best in France. It is open from 6am until 1pm. There are plenty of restaurants in Narbonne, including French of course but also Chinese and Vietnamese.
Place Roger Salengro
T: 04 68 65 15 60
F:04 68 65 59 12
Weather in the Languedoc
The Languedoc area is the hottest in France with very warm summers with low rainfall. You can expect to get 300 days of sunshine a year in the Languedoc. Dry winds like the Mistral, and the Tramontana blow during the summer months. The Tramontana is the one that blows most frequently, it blows from the North-North-West of France.
The coastline sheltered by mountains, providing varied climates and microclimates.
The coastal plains rarely freeze in winter and summer temperatures are in the eighties (30C). Inland, the temperatures are a few degrees cooler in winter and a few degrees warmer in summer. Nimes is reputed to be the hottest place in France, and recorded a shade temperature of 43C (110F) in 2001.
On the plains the rainfall is about 28 inches a year. Summer rain is infrequent and the days are long and dry. Heavy rains come in autumn and winter. In September 2002, 27 inches of rain fell in one day and caused sever flooding in areas of the Languedoc. A dam burst killing more than 20 people, flooding vineyards and ruining the grape harvest.