Here in Southern France, nature has preserved its rights ...

In Languedoc Roussillon, nature has outdone itself. It has hollowed out canyons, fashioned irregular rock formations, sculptured cliffs and sketched the curving beaches. It has provided this region with exceptional, glorious sites.

As little as fifty years ago, the limestone plateaus and dunes of the Languedoc-Roussillon, were little known and largely untamed. Today – the region, which has retained its natural character, has become an almost unrivalled holiday destination.

Majestic nature...

Mont Lozere, from which the Department takes its name, is all roundness, criss-crossed with watercourses, populated with deer and vultures. An authentic area such as the Gorges du Tarn and Gorges de la Jonte, are natural and spectacular gems. The Gorges du Tarn are formed from a set of straits, cliffs and corries, home to protected wildlife. Just nearby, the Gorges de la Jonte take you along breathtakingly tall cliffs, strangely shaped cliff roads, steep slopes covered with Mediterranean scrub. On the border of the Department with the neighbouring Gard stands Mont Aigoual. Of impressive dimensions, weathered by the elements, it houses the last mountain weather observatory in France. Not far away lies the Cirque de Navacelles, an imposing canyon forged by the Vis, springing forth in a waterfall near the village.

At the centre of the abandoned meander rises a rocky islet in the shape of a pyramid. Further south stretches Camargue, bathed in sunshine, with its white horses, black bulls and pink flamingos populating the lagoons. Here, the stage is all light. Herault also has its sentinels. The Massif du Caroux, north of Beziers, is an impressive mountain notched with deep gorges and their natural reservoirs in which clear water shimmers Closer to Montpellier, the Pic Saint Loup rears its sharp spine and towers over the scrubland. At its peak, the view is breathtaking, leading out to the sea. More sinuous, with their startlingly steep slopes, jagged walls and narrow passes, the Gorges de l’Herault are a backdrop to the beautiful medieval village of Saint Guilhem le Désert. In 1969, the Department created a vast water reservoir: the lac du Salagou. A magical place. The red-ochre soil strikes a contrast with the deep blue water and the hills rolling into the lake. Towards the south awaits the discovery of the two precious jewels of the Côte Vermeille : la baie de Paulilles with its fine sandy beaches split by rocky headlands, and the terraces of Banyuls, a landscape of vineyards planted on terraced hillsides. These are two major sites of the Pyrenees-Orientales along with the Orgues d’Ille-sur-Têt, a fabulous amphitheatre in which rise strange fairy chimneys. The backdrop is formed by the Mont Canigou of which the Catalans are so proud and which forms a bridge between sea and mountains.

The Cevennes National Park (Lozère)

The Cevennes National Park, with its low mountains in the heart of Cevennes, at 91,500 hectares, is the largest of the seven national parks of France. It is also the only national park that is inhabited and on the list of UNESCO “World Biosphere Reserves”. From the snowy summits of Mont Lozère and Mont Aigoual to the low valleys sculpted in the shale, through the limestone plateau of Méjean, the raptors reign over this wild territory with its thousands of treasures of flora and fauna.

eng.cevennes-parcnational.fr

From Orb to Jaur, the unique charm of Haut-Languedoc

Do take the time to venture a few dozen kilometres from Béziers to the northern part of Hérault, through Roquebrun or Faugères, to the regional nature park of Haut Languedoc. You will discover a completely different world. You leave the balmy shores, climbing to the foot of the Caroux Massif, the first outpost of the Massif Central, and come upon the superb villages of the Vallée de l’Orb. Here, olive trees give way to orchards. Villages nestle among chestnut trees and the mountains welcome climbers and hikers, while mountain bikers have at their disposal nearly eighty kilometres of greenway between Bédarieux and Mazamet, Hérépian, Le Poujol-sur-Orb, Colombières-sur-Orb, and the wild gorges. Further on, after Mons-la-Trivalle and the gorges of Héric, the slopes of Espinouse surround the Vallée du Jaur and its cherry trees, whose blossoms turn the whole valley pink in late spring. Ancient cities appear one after the other: Olargues (site, every August 15, of a wellknown organic fair), with its mediaeval village and its Devil’s Bridge. Prémian, then Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, crossroads between the Mediterranean, Montagne Noire, and the slopes of Somail and Espinouse. A unique and diverse countryside What do the Caroux range, the Montagne Noire, the Lacaune mountains, the Orb mountains, the Lakes Plateau, the Sidobre and the Mediterranean scrubland have in common? They all form part of the Upper Languedoc Natural Regional Park, created in 1973 in the mid-mountain zone. Half way between Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon, this remarkable series of landscapes is influenced by a dual Mediterranean and Atlantic climate, which explains its great diversity in terms of natural life: chestnut groves, peat bogs, moors, gorges (especially the Héric), lakes and rivers, waiting to be explored all year round. Whether you are a hiker or more interested in gourmet tourism (salt meat and fish, pork, honey and wine), the Upper Languedoc mountains are a unique feature of the French tourist landscape and an eco-tourist paradise.

www.parc-haut-languedoc.fr

The wild beauty of the Parc de la Narbonnaise

A true natural beauty to explore on foot, bicycle, horseback ... Stretching over the Corbières and a vast lagoon network bordering the Mediterranean, the 80,000 hectares of the Parc Régional de la Narbonnaise are one of the last preserved natural sites of such size and diversity. Here is the happy home of Spiked Magician bush crickets, Orange-spotted Emerald dragonflies, and Southern Festoon butterflies, but also of foxes, hares, badgers, and boars who roam the garrigue through growths of centaurea corymbosa, indigenous to the Massif de la Clape and in flower from mid-May to July. You may also explore vinegarlanded landscapes, cities and villages, and the lakeside traditions of the region (eel-fishing and more). This environment combining humid zones and dry garrigue, all fragile, was made a listed and protected area in 2003, for a duration of twelve years. The Parc Régional de la Narbonnaise offers a fresh discovery of the territory (trails, attractions and accommodations nature and heritage, bird watching. Nearly 200 km of trails divided into 30 loops and 2 Great hiking trails are available to walkers all levels with discovery of villages.

www.parc-naturel-narbonnaise.fr

From the foothills of Mount Canigou to the Spanish and Andorran... Mountain landscapes of the Regional Natural Park of the Catalan Pyrenees

From the foothills of Mount Canigou to the Spanish and Andorran borders the Regional Natural Park of the Catalan Pyrenees covers 137,000 hectares in Cerdagne, Capcir and Haut-Conflent. It comprises mountains, peaks and crests, high-altitude ledges and plateaus, from 300 to 3,000 metres, with a mountain climate tempered by the influence of the Mediterranean. The 300 days of sun a year and the different natural environments, high-altitude lakes, peat bogs and forests of mountain pines are favourable to the presence of a number of species of fauna and flora, including 240 protected species within the Park. They include the chamois, the symbol of the Pyrenees, whose agility is admired by all sportspeople. Birds of prey, many of which find food and shelter there, are easily observable. As well as unforgettable natural sites such as the Canigou Massif, the Carança gorges, the lakes of Les Bouillouses, the 'desert' of the Carlit Massif and the lakes of Camporells Cirque, the Park also keeps watch over an exceptional heritage. This includes abbeys, cloisters and priories and the many Romanesque and Baroque churches, a few of which, such as the Church of Angoustrine, still house fragments of the mural paintings which adorned their walls in the Middle Ages. The fortifications of the UNESCO World Heritage for Humanity sites of Mont-Louis and Villefranche-de-Conflent relate the turbulent history of this part of Catalonia, formerly part of the kingdom of Majorca, which was ceded to France in 1659 but has retained its identity.

www.parc-naturel-pyrenees-catalanes.com

Meet

, Tourism is an adventure!

With over 300 days of sunshine per year, it’s nice to live outside in Languedoc-Roussillon. So why not take advantage of them to discover new sensations in the sunshine.

On or under firm ground, on the water or n the air, the possibilities offered are almost limitless.

Of course you can discover Cévennes or the Catalan Pyrenees by the Via Ferrata. It requires a little experience in climbing. Potholing is another possibility offered, notably in Lozère. Canyoning, which is conducted from April to September in water that is sometimes cold, is also a physical activity which allows for new discoveries. At Port-Camargue or near Carnon, some will want to test out flyboarding, which, with a jet propulsion pack projects you out of the water and several meters up into the air. Others prefer bungee jumping from a cliff or a bridge as is done in Gorges du Tarn and Béziers. However, you can also be happy with a safari photo in the unbelievable landscapes of Aubrac or Petite Camargue.

In Languedoc-Roussillon, the exception is the rule.