Languedoc-Roussillon in south-west France curves around a corner of the Mediterranean, from Provence in the east down to the borders with Spain and Andorra in the south.
The modern region was formed when two historic provinces were merged. Languedoc takes its name from langue d’oc, a language closely linked to Catalan, and Roussillon in the far south was known as France’s Catalonia, but today Catalonia is confined to an autonomous region in north-eastern Spain.
The southernmost extension of the Massif Central can be found in the north. Here, the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut Languedoc is, to the west made up of deciduous forest, and to the east dry and craggy. The very isolated and mountainous Lozère is a wilderness where hermits and exiles have long sought refuge. To the west of the région are the Grands Causses, deep canyons above which lie limestone plateaus. The Montagne Noire, Corbière hills and the Cévennes are all areas of dramatic hills, mountains and deep river gorges.
The landscape flattens around the tranquil Canal Du Midi, which cuts across the region’s middle with Carcassonne, a world heritage site, at its centre. South of the canal gentle rolling foothills start to ascend, climbing to the dramatic peaks of the Pyrennees.