Languedoc-Roussillon, France travel info

Guide to Languedoc-Roussillon, France

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France travel facts

France map
Area (sq km): 547,030
Population: 64,102,140
Nationality: French
Local Name: France
Language: French
Time Zone: +1 GMT
Currency: 1 euro = 100 cents
Capital: Paris
Dialling Code: +33
Electricity: 230V/50Hz
Internet Code: .fr
Religion: Roman Catholic
Climate: Mediterranean,
Marine West Coast
Government: Republic
Inoculations: None
Driving: Right
Int'l License: Not Required
Banking: M-F 9.00-17.00
Major Airports: Biarritz(BIQ),

Languedoc villas - Carcassonne & Cathars

The top attractions from Languedoc villas include the truly astonishing citadel of Carcassonne, exploring the legacy of the Cathars and riding on the Little Yellow Train into the Cerdagne.

Carcassonne Citadel
Carcassonne Citadel

Home to the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean coast and medieval towns with varying influences, the top attractions in Languedoc-Roussillon are diverse to say the least. One of the most beautiful and perfectly restored ancient walled cities is the citadel of Carcassonne, which is just magnificent! Exploring the cathedrals, castles and history of the Cathars is haunting yet enriching, and is a worthwhile expedition when renting Languedoc villas. Finally exploring the Pyrenees by means of the Little Yellow Train is a classic way to discover the Cerdagne.

Citadel of Carcassonne

Arriving in Carcassonne from Languedoc villas really feels like you have travelled back in time to the thriving 12th century. The amazing citadel of Carcassonne went through a thorough restoration project in the 19th century at the hands of Viollet-le-Duc. The citadel is now restored to its formal glory, a sight to forever remain in your memory. Carcassonne sits atop a hill strategically located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea on the narrow pathway of the Iberian Peninsula into Europe’s mainland.

Built in the 2nd century BC, the Romans took advantage of this post to control much of southwestern Europe. The citadel is beyond compare in beauty, romance, restoration and grandeur. The absolute majesty of the citadel of Carcassonne is a rarity that should be experienced in one’s lifetime.

The entire citadel is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site and the inner ramparts were built by Louis VII and Louis IX. Visit the Bishop’s Tower, Porte Narbonnaise, walk the lices where men used to joust and explore Basilique St. Nazaire when you stay in French villas near this spectacular ancient stronghold.

The Cathars

The Cathars where a religious people in Languedoc and Midi that flourished between the 12th and 13th centuries before they were denouced and massacred. They were a Christian sect that saw much corruption in the established church and sought to separate themselves from the Roman Catholic Church. For this, the Cathars were seen as heretics and eventually the Holy Roman Church set about ridding the region of the Cathars through unimaginable violence.

The Cathars in Languedoc found refuge in many cathedrals and chateaux making them today places of great historic significance. The greatest Cathar massacres were in Carcassonne and Minerve, and the worst occurred in Beziers where 20,000 men, women and children were murdered. The Cathar castles are incredible to visit and include the remote Peyrepertuse, Puivert, Aguilar, Durfort, Montsegur, Arques and Montaillou.

Little Yellow Train, Petit Train Jaune

The Little Yellow Train goes by many names including Petit Train Jaune, the Pyrenees Metro and the Yellow Canary. The Little Yellow Train was built in 1903 and became the lifeline to many high elevation towns that were before unreachable. It is also something of an engineering marvel. The Little Yellow Train operates today as it did when it first traversed the dangerous terrain leading into the majestic Pyrenees Mountains.

Exploring Languedoc-Roussillon when you stay in Languedoc villas by means of the charming Petit Train Jaune is a magical experience. The stunning scenery passes slowly by so that you can take it all in and enjoy. The train is ideal for skiers and boarders in the winter and for hikers, bikers and even mushroom pickers in the summer. The train departs from Villefranche-de-Conflent in the south of the region and heads through the mighty gorges to the Cerdagne.

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