Languedoc (Lengadòc, in Occitan) is a territory in the south of France traditionally divided into Haut-Languedoc, approximately included in the former Midi-Pyrénées region, and Bas-Languedoc, which approximately corresponds to the former Languedoc-Roussillon region (until 2016).

The name Languedoc comes from the name of the language spoken in the Middle Ages in the south of France, Langue d’Oc, a glottonym that was later translated into Latin Linguæ Occitanæ; literally, “Occitan language.”

Languedoc is part of cultural Occitania, a vast geographical area of Langue d’Oc. Its inhabitants are the Languedociens; its dialect is called Languedocien.

The province of Languedoc covered an area of approximately 42,700 km² (16,490 sq. miles) in the central part of southern France, roughly the region between the river Rhône (border with Provence) and the Garonne (border with Gascony), extending northwards to the Cévennes and the Massif Central (border with Auvergne).

The governors of Languedoc resided in Pézenas, near to the Mediterranean coast, away from Toulouse but close to Montpellier.

The five largest metropolitan areas on the territory of the former province of Languedoc are: Toulouse, Montpellier, Nîmes, Béziers and Alès.

Historically, the region was called the County of Toulouse, a county independent from the kings of France. The County of Toulouse was made up of what would later be called Languedoc, but it also included the province of Quercy (now the département of Lot and the northern half of the département of Tarn-et-Garonne) and the province of Rouergue (now the département of Aveyron), both to the northwest of Languedoc.

At times, it included the province of Agenais (now the eastern half of the département of Lot-et-Garonne) to the west of Languedoc, the province of Gévaudan (now département of Lozère), the province of Velay (now the central and eastern part of the département of Haute-Loire), the southern part of the province of Vivarais (now the southern part of the département of Ardèche) and even the entire northern half of Provence. After the French conquest, the entire county was dismantled, and the central part renamed Languedoc.

In the 13th century, the territory of Languedoc (the region where Langue d’Oc is spoken) was attached to the royal domain following the crusade against the Albigensians, putting an end to Catharism, and then to the county of Toulouse. The territory under the control of the states of Languedoc was then gradually reduced to the former province of Languedoc.

The year 1359 marks a “decisive turning point” in the history of the province: as Henri Gilles established in 1965 in his monograph on The States of Languedoc in the 15th century, it was in 1359 that the good towns of three seneschals – Beaucaire, Carcassonne and Toulouse – concluded among them a “perpetual union,” then demanded that the royal officers be “summoned together” – and no longer separately – by seneschal.

Tourism in the Languedoc and what to see

This is a region of intellectual and rather individual tourism. It is recommended for people who love rustic tranquility, visiting castles and walking in the mountains.

It is best to start exploring Languedoc from Toulouse, where a lot of buildings are built of pink bricks. Here you can wander among the old houses. Interestingly, most urban streets lead tourists to the river or the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, which impresses visitors with its thin columns. Constructed in the Romanesque style between about 1080 and 1120, with construction continuing thereafter, Saint-Sernin is the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe.

Most tourists from Toulouse go to the city of Albi, whose walls are also pink. Its main attraction is the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Cecilia (also known as Albi Cathedral) and the bridge of the XI century, which offers a magnificent view of the Episcopal Palace.

Then you can go to Beziers (Béziers), which the Crusaders captured in 1209. It was the first city of Toulouse county to be attacked by the Crusaders. All the inhabitants of the city were killed, and their property was divided among the Crusaders.

A little south of Beziers begins the Corbières massif, where tourists are awaited by vineyards surrounded by roses, green hills, rocks and the medieval castle of Vilruj-Termena. And on the neighboring peaks you can see the ruins of several Cathar castles.

On the border of the massif Corbières and the Pyrenees, you can see Château de Quéribus, which was erected on a 728-meter cliff. A spiral staircase leads to its gate. This castle was the last refuge of the Cathars.

Languedoc – the oldest wine region in France and there are also my wine travel routes.

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