Glad you asked! The region of Languedoc-Roussillon, as can be seen from the map to the left, is in the south of France, never far from the sunny shores of the Mediterranean Sea. All of France is excellent for cycling, so Languedoc is just more so, due to the following:
Weather. Montpellier, the capital, boasts 300 days of sunshine. The summer is long, hot and dry and the ‘shoulder’ seasons of spring and autumn are fresh and (usually) sunny as well. Click here to find out when you should come to cycle in Languedoc-Roussillon.
Geography. Languedoc is a big region and it is extremely varied in its terrain. This is good news for the cyclist. From long coastal beach rides, to mountains of all sizes (The Cévennes and The Pyrénées are both in Languedoc), to the ubiquitous and endless vineyards, Languedoc dishes up something for just about every cycling taste. For more details on the different areas of Languedoc, click here.
Culture. Distinct from any other region in France, with two ancient languages still spoken to this day (Occitan and Catalan), Languedoc has a rich heritage that is fiercely guarded. Wine is deeply ingrained in the culture in Languedoc as well. It is the largest wine producing region in France and literally everywhere you ride (outside the high mountains) you will never be far from vines. Bullfighting is still practiced in the towns and cities near the coast, testifying to the proximity Languedoc has with neighboring Spain.
History. “Long” is an apt description. Agde, for example, was settled by the Greeks. But it was the Romans that made a permanent mark. From Provence to the Pyrénées, you’ll find Roman ruins in surprising quantities. Two World-famous examples are the Pont du Gard Aqueduct and the Maison Carrée , both in Gard. But, if you choose the right route, you can also come across smaller, less known treasures, such as a stretch of Roman road near Lunel (in Hérault).
Fast forward a thousand years or so! Many of the villages in Languedoc were built (or at least what we see today was) around this time. Romanesque churches, chapels and Abbeys abound, with a few gothic examples thrown in for variety. Circulade villages (unique to Languedoc) date from this period.
And of course, especially in the western part of the region (Aude in particular) you’ll find many vestiges of Catharism, a ‘heretical’ religion, wiped out by the Catholic Church around 700 years ago. Their leftovers are some of the most dramatically perched villages and castles that you can find.
For information on each département within Languedoc, click here. For a selection of guide books check out one of our bookshops: Europe and North America. For more general information on the region see The Languedoc Page.