Languedoc Roussillon boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, making it the perfect destination for a wine holiday. It is the most productive wine region in the world with 1 in 10 bottles produced in the 20th century coming from this region. It is also among the least industrialised of the 26 regions of France, a fact made evident by the vast areas of untouched land visible almost everywhere. Languedoc Roussillon is divided into five sub-regions and is bordered by Spain to the South which gives it a mix of Spanish culture intermingled with French tradition. There are numerous Cathare castles to visit, some completely restored and others in ruins, each with its own unique history. The region is also known...
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Languedoc Roussillon boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, making it the perfect destination for a wine holiday. It is the most productive wine region in the world with 1 in 10 bottles produced in the 20th century coming from this region. It is also among the least industrialised of the 26 regions of France, a fact made evident by the vast areas of untouched land visible almost everywhere.

Languedoc Roussillon is divided into five sub-regions and is bordered by Spain to the South which gives it a mix of Spanish culture intermingled with French tradition. There are numerous Cathare castles to visit, some completely restored and others in ruins, each with its own unique history. The region is also known by the name of “Pays Cathare” (The Land of the Cathars).

Languedoc Roussillon has approximately 300,000 hectares of vines, four times that of Bordeaux and contrary to popular belief, the first sparkling wines were made in Limoux to the south of Carcassonne and have been produced there since the 13th century. The famous Dom Perignon learned the secret from the monks of Saint Hilaire on a visit there and brought back the recipe for sparkling wine to Champagne. Limoux also has a carnival that goes on for several months from January to the end of March. 

WHEN TO GO AND FOR HOW LONG?

The best time to visit the region for those wishing to experience the warm Mediterranean climate is between mid April and mid October. A minimum of seven days is recommended depending on which activities you wish to engage in. There really is no maximum amount of time you can stay as there is so much to discover and enjoy. Public transport is limited once you are out of the main urban areas and therefore a form of personal transport is strongly recommended. There are many car hire companies in the region available at very reasonable prices who can accomodate your needs.

WHERE TO GO?

  • There are fifteen different wine regions producing all different qualities of wines and the production is mostly red. Some of the finest and best known regions are: Minervois, Limoux (for the sparkling wines), Corbières, Cabardes and Banyuls.
  • In addition to wine tours and culinary adventures the list of activities in the region is endless. There are three mountain ranges and water practically everywhere so you can do anything from spending the day on one of the beautiful beaches, to hiking and exploring the numerous caves under the mountain or even taking a helicopter ride if you fancy. 

DON'T MISS!

  • There is an annual celebration on the first weekend of June dedicated to a wine called Améthyste which is aged in the Grotte of Limousis. The festivities take place during the entire day to celebrate the new vintage and as the Grotte of Limousis is only fifteen minutes by car from Carcassonne, it is well worth a visit.
  • For those who adore truffles, the harvest takes place in the Minervois region from mid-December to mid-February and there are Saturday markets and celebrations during this period with local chefs demonstrating how to prepare the delicacy. If you are a truffle lover, don't miss the truffle hunt!
  • There are wine festivals throughout the year to celebrate the work of the winemakers. Whether it be the harvest or the beginning of the growing season the residents take advantage of any excuse to have a party with local food and wines, music and dancing . There is also the “Grands Chemins” festival in late October in Minervois, a week long event that celebrates the accomplishments of local artists and winegrowers.
  • A trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Canal du Midi is also not to be missed. The Canal du Midi is one of the greatest engineering achievements of modern times with its 360-km network of navigable canals linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. 

 

Find out more about more about Languedoc Roussillon and the 2012 harvest on our Blog.

Pictures courtesy of Sud de France

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