The South, France’s favourite holiday region, attracts millions of tourists to the coast and to the wild scenery every year. In the Languedoc there are unspoilt landscapes – from the high plains of the Cerdagne to the wild romantic hills of the Corbières or the highlands of the Haut-Languedoc – , but also some of France’s most modern towns like the university town Montpellier. In contrast to this is the Côte d’Azur. The mundane Mediterranean seacoast is the most popular holiday region in France. In the east the well-known seaside resorts of the Riviera such as Menton, Nice, Cannes and Monte-Carlo are lined up. Farther on lies the Camargue at the mouth of the Rhône. West of the Rhône the wide beaches of the Languedoc stretch out. In the East there is mainly gravel beach. The sand is imported here.
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Culture & Sights
The seacoast was the first territory of Gaul occupied by the Romans. The amphiteatre of Nîmes and the impressive Pont du Gard date back to these times. The monasteries St-Martin-du-Canigou and St-Michel-de-Cuxa are masterpieces of the early Romanesque architecture. The imposing Cathar fortresses and the well-restored town Carcassonne are evidence of the bloody fights of the Middle Ages. The region is a coexistence of the old and the new, of Roman temples, old abbeys and solar power plants. The Riviera ha always attracted various artists in search for the clear mediterranean light. This coast is inseparably linked to the life and work of Matisse, Picasso, Chagall and Renoir. Thus, even today the Château Grimaldi near Antibes houses many paintings of Renoir and Picasso. Close to Antibes we find Cannes, famous all over the world for its film festival. Casinos, exhibitions and fairs, yachting ports and the life on the beach leave no place for boredom! Nice on the other hand is known for its Italian atmosphere. Here, amid narrow facades and lanes we find numerous historical buildings like the CathédraleSte-Réparate or the opulent opera house.
In Southern France plenty of specialities are offered. From the Tarte au citron, a sweet lemon cake, to honey in different flavours and fougasse, a flat bread with black olives and onions. Regional wines can also be tasted here. Renowned producers of the region are Domaine Tempier, Château Pibarnon or Mas de la Dame. Here the von de pays is produced.
The Country & its People
A great many artists have been attracted by the Riviera until this day, the same as Raoul Dufy or Paul Signac before were inspired by this region. Their works have impressed the entire world. Writers like W.S. Maugham or Émile Zola spent here many of their successful creative phases. Today the Côte d’Azur is teeming with stars and starlets from all over the world.