Alice LittleIt has the same magical light and sunny climate, but there’s still a sense that Languedoc-Roussillon is the ‘Other South of France’ or, as the local expats prefer, the ‘thinking person’s Provence’. It’s the French Mediterranean in relax mode, laid-back, minus the glitter.

What it lacks in glitz, Languedoc-Roussillon more than makes up for with some pretty spectacular things to see and do. Picnic under the Pont du Gard or wander over the mighty medieval ramparts of Carcassonne. Risk vertigo taking the Petit Train Jaune into the Pyrenees, or barge serenely along the Canal du Midi. Ride with French cowboys on white horses in the Camargue, or trek with a donkey over the Cévennes. Climb up to vertiginous Cathar castles, balloon over the gleaming new Viaduc de Millau or kayak down the magnificent Gorges du Tarn. Go tasting – Languedoc-Roussillon has 24 wine areas and as a region makes more wine than any place on earth. Wherever you go, you’re never far from a sleepy old village, the click of the boules or a café dappled in the shade. Peaceful medieval abbeys mark the way to Compostela and outdoor markets tantalize with fresh colours and scents. Long lazy lunches await, and dancing at a fête under the blazing stars – the idyll of la douce France – is what Languedoc-Roussillon does best of all.

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