THE ESSENCE OF OCCITANIA
The ultimate holiday destination
Occitania was born in 2016 from the fusion of two French regions: the Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon.
It's a whole new region that welcomes you today. Steeped in history, heritage and authentic cultural identity, this brand new destination boasts a genuine appreciation of excellence in all kinds of fields: lifestyle, heritage, gastronomy, science, technology... and the list goes on. If you're looking for a unique experience, head for Occitania!
SEA, MOUNTAIN, TOWN, COUNTRY
The myriad worlds of Occitania
Occitania is the 2nd biggest region in metropolitan France, and clearly one of the most attractive, since it receives more than 50,000 new inhabitants per year. Its territory spreads from Aubrac to the Pyrenees along the North-South axis, and from Camargue Gardoise to Gascogne along the East-West axis.
So, when it comes to holiday destinations, Occitania has it all: the sea, with the Mediterranean coast; the mountains, with the Pyrenees; the city, with its two big metropolises, Toulouse and Montpellier, and the countryside, endlessly rolling out its typical scenery, picturesque villages and protected natural landscapes.
DID YOU KNOW ?
Occitania spans across 13 departments. Its surface area is 72,724 km2. That makes it slightly bigger than Ireland (70,273 m2) and twice the size of Belgium (30,528 km2).
THE WORLD OF THE SEA IN OCCITANIA
The Mediterranean Sea
- Facts and figures: 220Km of Mediterranean coastline (from Grau du Roi-Port Camargue in Cerbère); close to 30 harbours and seaside resorts, 4 commercial ports, 1 marine natural park (Parc Naturel Marin du Golfe du Lion), 1 regional natural park (PNR de la Narbonnaise on the Mediterranean), 5 spa centres.
- Major sites: Aigues-Mortes, le Cap d’Agde, La Grande Motte, Collioure.
- Distinctive features: a web of lagoons, ponds and saline aquifers straddling land and sea, source of exceptional biodiversity (plants, migratory birds, aquaculture fauna).
- Irresistible: the charm of the villages. the fishing harbours and the port towns dotted all along the coast (Banyuls-sur-Mer, Collioure, Gruissan, Sète, Agde,…).
- Favourite sport: kitesurfing. Occitania is France's top kitesurfingdestination, with famous spots such as Le Grand Travers in La Grande Motte and Coussoules beach in La Franqui.
- Gastronomy: Bouzigues oysters, AOP Lucques du Languedoc olives, AOP Roussillon red apricot, AOP Languedoc and Roussillon wines, Catalan 'rosquillos', 'Tielle Sétoise' (octopus pie), etc.
GET YOUR SUNGLASS ON!
Toulouse, Montpellier, Nîmes and Perpignan rank among the top 10 sunniest cities in France, each boasting over 2,100 hours of sunshine per year. It's hardly a surprise that the French rate Montpellier and Toulouse as the best cities to live, work and study in.
THE WORLD OF THE COUNTRYSIDE IN OCCITANIA
From Aubrac to Catalan country
- Facts and figures: 6 Regional natural parks, 1 National park (Parc National des Cévennes), 45 villages and towns of character (with distinctions such as Plus Beaux Villages de France, Villes and Pays d’Art et d’Histoire).
- Major sites: the Pont du Gard, the Millau viaduct, the Gorges du Tarn, the Dordogne valley, the Canal du Midi, the Santiago de Compostela paths.
- Distinctive features: very pronounced cultural identities, such as those of the Camargue Gardoise, the Catalan region, the Cévennes, the Aubrac and Gascogne.
- Favourite sports: hiking, bike rides, boat trips, canoeing, swimming in the lakes and rivers, ...
- Gastronomy: foie gras, magrets and confits of duck, Camargue rice, high-quality meat (Farm Lamb of Quercy, Veau d'Aveyron et du Ségala (veal), Noir de Bigorre pork, Taureau de Camargue (bull), cassoulet, AOP cheeses (Roquefort, Rocamadour, Laguiole, ...), truffles, AOP Chasselas grapes, wines of south-west AOP (Cahors Malbec, Gaillac, Madiran, Côtes de Gascogne), Armagnac, …
DID YOU KNOW?
The region of Occitania ranks 1st in the country for organic farming, boasting more than a quarter of the total organic farming land area in France.
FROM THE CATHARS TO CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY
United by 27 centuries of shared history and a common language (Occitan), the lands that once made up the former regions of Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon, separated in the 1960s, were reunited on the 1st January 2016 to form Occitania.
From the grandeur of the conquering Romans and the crusade against the Cathars to the creation of the Canal du Midi, the fates of these lands have lain intertwined on many occasions. Today, they beat to the same drum: that of innovation and excellence, whether in research and development or in the promotion of outstanding heritage through the Grands Sites Occitanie.
OCCITANIA AND BIG-NAME BRANDS
Airbus, Perrier, Millau gloves, etc.
Occitania has 14 competitiveness clusters - not just in Toulouse and Montpellier, but also in places like Perpignan and Pont-Saint-Esprit -of which 1 is world-class (Aerospace valley) and 2 are of international stature. What are their areas of expertise? Aeronautical and space engineering, agri-food, biotechnologies and health, renewable energies... And the list goes on.
Toulouse is the world's aeronautical capital, thanks to Airbus, and the space capital of Europe. The Agropolis centre in Montpellier is world-famous, as is the city's medical faculty, which is the oldest in the Western world.
Occitania is also the cradle of leading brands such as Perrier, Roquefort, Avène, and Ducs de Gascogne, and of distinguished craftwork such as Millau gloves, Laguiole knives, Denim jeans or Anduze vases; not to mention the many creative ventures that keep coming up with new products and concepts.
Find out about them here
Toulouse and Montpellier
- Facts and figures: Toulouse, 4th biggest city in France with 1.3 million inhabitants; Montpellier, 7th biggest city in France with 600,000 inhabitants; 11 medium-sized cities rich in heritage (Albi, Rodez, Cahors, Nîmes, Perpignan, Montauban, Mende, Tarbes, Foix, Auch, Carcassonne).
- Major sites: Toulouse, Montpellier, city of Carcassonne, Nîmes.
- Distinctive features: very easy to get to thanks to the region's 10 international airports, with frequent flights between Paris and Toulouse (41 flights per day of 45 min duration), and the high-speed (LGV) train lines, Paris- Nîmes (2h50) and Paris-Montpellier (3h15).
- Favourite sports: shopping, restaurants, monuments and museums (Musée Fabre in Montpellier, Musée des Abattoirs et Aéroscopia in Toulouse, Musée Soulages in Rodez, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, etc.), cultural events, and so on.
Occitania of UNESCO World Heritage
There are 8 compounds in Occitania listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites: the episcopal town of Albi, the walled city of Carcassonne, the Canal du Midi, the Pont du Gard, the Vauban fortifications ((Villefranche-de-Conflent and Mont-Louis), the Santiago de Compostela paths, Gavarnie-Mont Perdu.
Vidéo Albi, Grand Site Occitanie © CRT Occitanie
THE WORLD OF THE MOUNTAINS IN OCCITANIA
- Facts and figures: 430 Km of mountains between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, most of them in Occitania; peaks rising above 3000m (Le Vignemale, Pic du Tallion, Le Néouvielle, amongst others); 35 ski resorts; 1 national park (Parc National des Pyrénées), 2 regional natural parks (Pyrénées Catalanes et PNR des Pyrénées Ariégeoises), 19 health resorts.
- Major sites: Cirque de Gavarnie, Pic du Midi, Le Canigó, Lourdes, the cols of the Tour de France (including Col du Tourmalet).
- Distinctive features: highly protected fauna, flora and landscapes (lots of nature reserves), lively pastoral traditions (transhumance, festivals), cultural similarities with Spain (building traditions, religious heritage, culinary traditions).
- Favourite sports: hiking, white-water rafting, canyoning, skiing and winter sports.
- Irresistible: the decors and atmospheres of the 20 thermal spas and natural hot water springs in the Pyrenees.
- Gastronomy: mountain cheeses and salted meats, Tarbais beans, AOC Gavarnie mutton, "gâteau à la broche" (cake), Catalan tartiflette, ...
- By car: Occitania has a large number of motorways (A9, A20, A61, A75, etc.).
- By plane: the region has several airports, including the international airports of Toulouse, Montpellier and Lourdes.
- By train: the region is accessible from all the major cities of France and the European capitals.