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Languedoc-Roussillon
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French Holidays in the Languedoc-Roussillon area of France.

 

 

The Languedoc climate is Mediteranean, with hot dry summers, generally mild winters, and moderate springs and autumns. You can expect to get 300 days of sunshine a year in the Languedoc. Located between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean, the Languedoc is the idea base for a holiday. Whether your aim is to sit back with a book and a glass of wine enjoying the scenery and the good food or to have a more active holiday, you will not be disappointed.The area is a wine lovers paradise- the vineyards of the appellation St Chinian meet the vineyards of the Minerve/ Herault at St Jean de Minervois (famous for its Muscat)

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Villa de Charme

Carcassonne

Villa de Charme is a self-catering villa in the centre of Carcassonne, just 650 metres from Pont Marengo and the Canal du Midi. There is 1 person looking at these apartments. More

Very good, 8.2 Score from 12 reviews

Le Couvent

Carcassonne

This 3-bedroom villa is a former convent located 10-minutes from Carcassone. It offers free Wi-Fi access and a kitchen equipped with a dishwasher and washing machine. There is 1 person looking at these apartments. More

 
Superb, 9.0 Score from 10 reviews

Relais Des Monts

La Malène

The Relais des Monts is located in La Malène, in the Languedoc-roussillon region, right next to the Gorges du Tarn. This bed and breakfast offers a swimming pool. There are 3 people looking at these apartments. More

Le Mas de Foussargues

Aigaliers

Located 8 km from Uzès, Le Mas de Foussargues is set in a Provencal country house and features 2 outdoor swimming pools with salt water in the landscaped garden. There are 3 people looking at these apartments. More


Aigues-Mortes, Languedoc-Roussillon, Camargue, France [HD] Video


Aigues-Mortes is a city in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. It is located in the Petite Camargue. The medieval walls surrounding the city are well preserved. Tourism plays a large part of the town's economy. In the surrounding countryside, bulls and Camargue horses are bred.

Albi, France: Worthy Stop in the Languedoc

 

Albi's massive Roman Catholic cathedral, St. Cécile, looks less like a church and more like a fortress — on purpose. It was built in a time when the pope felt compelled to make it clear that the only acceptable Christianity was Roman-style. Next to the church is the world's largest collection of art by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. The museum displays his work chronologically, letting you follow the evolution of his art with his fascinating life's story. For more information on the Rick Steves' Europe TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit

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This is France's oldest wine region. In fact, the Languedoc-Roussillon is probably the first area in France where the Romans introduced viticulture. But given the extraordinary turnaround in the quality of its wines, I found the epithet quite apt. There seems to be a youthful exuberance in this region on the part of winemakers that is evidenced by their sacrificing quantity for quality, or by experimenting with new varietals, or by forfeiting appellation status to achieve the perfect blend. Indeed, the offspring from this rebirth that began in the 1970s is still relatively young, especially when compared to its relatives in Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Local holiday homeThe Languedoc-Roussillon actually comprises two regions: the Languedoc, which stretches westward from the bottom of the Rhone down to the Pyrenees hugging the Mediterranean coast, and Roussillon, which curves southward from north of Perpignan to the Spanish border. Combined, this region covers over 400,000 acres of vines and produces close to 18 million hectoliters of wine a year. So vast and so fertile is this region that, not so long ago, it was frequently referred to, quite disparagingly, as France's great "wine lake."

The over production in this region started in the mid-19th century when the arrival of railroads made transporting wines affordable and opened the markets in the north. The mass production lead to weak wines that were often strengthened by adding wine from Algeria and elsewhere in North Africa. When Algeria won independence in 1962, new sources for strengthening wines were found in southern Italy. In fact, when wine producers realized that it was cheaper to import from Italy than to blend, local growers began to riot. Eventually, in the early 1970s, the government stepped in and began to encourage the production of higher quality wines. Through financial assistance, educational and research endeavors, the formation of cooperatives, and the creation of the vin de pays classification, which is a step above the everyday vin ordinaire, the government was able to reclaim the area. Progress has continued, and these days, the innovation among wine producers has, like the miracle at Cana, turned much of this lake's "water" into delicious wine.

The Languedoc-Roussillon is primarily red-wine country, and the classic varietals of this region are: Carignan, Cinsault, and Grenache. Carignan provides body and weight; Grenache contributes alcohol and color, and Cinsault adds fruit and acidity. Whereas older regulations typically limited production to these varietals, newer standards and, perhaps most important, the flexibility of the vin de pays classification have allowed producers to cultivate and experiment with other varieties, such as Mourvedre and Syrah as well as with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. More liberal guidelines have enabled producers to exploit their individual vineyards' strengths and to adjust their blends either to reflect their own tastes or to compensate for the climactic conditions of the harvest.

For white wines, today's winemakers, along similar lines, are eschewing the traditional appellation white varieties such as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Maccabeo, Ugni Blanc, and Picpoul for Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier. Native Muscats, however, are still prized. And the region is also known for its vins doux naturels, made from the Muscats of Frontignan and Lunel, some truly delightful dessert wines.

Listing all the appellation controlle regions of the Languedoc-Roussillon with their ever changing sub-classifications and labeling laws seems as difficult as diagramming complex sentences back in grammar school. Not surprisingly, the most famous are also the ones producing the best wines.


In the Languedoc, Corbieres, Minervois, the Coteaux de Languedoc with its many subdivisions such as St. Chinan and Faugeres, and Costieres de Nimes are the major appellations. Space does not allow me to describe each of these regions here. However, to get a detailed description of each of the appellations with comments on the climate, soil, grape varieties, and other relevant information, visit the outstanding website Languedoc AOC Wines and select "Languedoc AOC" on the menu bar at the top of the page.

The Muscats of Frontignan, Lunel, and Mireval are nectar-like examples of vins doux naturels, wines that are stopped early in their fermentation by the addition of spirits. These are sweet wines that are relatively high in alcohol and can be the perfect way to end a meal.

In the Roussillon, the major appellations are Cotes du Roussillon, Cotes du Roussillon Villages, Maury, and Banyuls. Banyuls' vins doux are among the most prized of their type, are often recommended to pair with chocolate desserts, and, not surprisingly, can be quite expensive. Maury produces similar wines, but they do not have the reputation of those from Banyuls. Perhaps the wines of most interest from the Cotes du Roussillon-Villages are the new-style whites made with tasty varietals like Roussanne and Marsanne and other local varietals.

When shopping for these wines, as I hope you will, the vintages to look for are 1998 and 1995. The 1999 vintage suffered some hail damage, but may still be good. Most Languedoc-Roussillon reds are generally ready to drink 12 to15 months after the vintage; whites are ready in about half that time. Only the best of these wines can age well and should be at their prime in approximately three years.

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Les fetes (festivals)

The French enjoy 11 national jours feriés (holidays) annually. The civic calendar was first instituted in 1582; Bastille Day was incorporated in 1789, Armistice Day in 1918, Labor Day in 1935, and Victory Day in 1945. During the month of May, there is a holiday nearly every week, so be prepared for stores, banks and museums to shut their doors for days at a time. It is a good idea to call museums, restaurants and hotels in advance to make sure they will be open.

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Trains and roads near major cities tend to get busy around the national holidays. Not coincidentally, this also happens to be the time when service unions (such as transporters, railroad workers, etc.) like to go on strike - something of a tradition, in fact. Travelers would do well to check ahead, particularly when planning a trip for the last week of June or first week of July!

There are also many regional festivals throughout France which are not included in our calendar. ViaFrance hosts an excellent site which lists fairs and festivals, traditional ceremonies, as well as sporting events, concerts, and trade shows for all regions throughout France.

Under the law, every French citizen is entitled to 5 weeks of vacation. Most of the natives take their summer vacations in July or August, and many major businesses are then closed. All of France takes to the roads, railroads, boats, and airways. Consequently, traveling in France during August is generally not recommended for foreigners.

Public Holidays

1 January New Year's Day (Jour de l'an)
1 May Labor Day (Fête du premier mai)
8 May WWII Victory Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945; Fête du huitième mai)
14 July Bastille Day (Fête nationale)
15 August Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)
1 November All Saints Day (La Toussaint)
11 November Armistice Day (Jour d'armistice)
25 December Christmas Day (Noël)
26 December 2nd Day of Christmas (in Alsace and Lorraine only)

Moveable Feasts

Religion: Christian (Western)

Feast 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Good Friday* 9 April 25 March 14 April 6 April 21 March 10 April
Easter (Pâques) 11 April 27 March 16 April 8 April 23 March 12 April
Easter Monday 12 April 28 March 17 April 9 April 24 March 13 April
Ascension (l'Ascencion) 20 May 5 May 25 May 17 May 1 May 21 May
Pentecost (la Pentecôte) 30 May 15 May 4 June 27 May 11 May 31 May
Whit Monday 31 May 16 May 5 June 28 May 12 May 1 June

*In Alsace and Lorraine only.

In years when Ascension Day concurs with Victory Day, we mark only the former, thus ignoring the latter.

Metal workers have the holiday of St. Eloi, July 24 (Festival of St. Eloi - French Basque).

Note that when a holiday happens to fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, many French workers may take the Monday or, respectively, Friday, off as well. This is not official and does not apply to institutions such as banks or government, but is sufficiently commonplace to cause difficulties doing business on occasion

 

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