When we visited France for the first time, we started off with exploring Alsace, Franche-Compte and Burgundy. These are regions in the north-eastern part of the country. Over the next few years we went further south and visited Rhone-Alpes and Provence. Each of those trips was an amazing adventure and we loved all the places and food. But I guess „our French home” lies in Languedoc-Roussillion. Why? Let me tell you...
The diversity of the region. It region spreads along the Mediterranean coast, between the mouth of the Rhône River and the Pyrenees Mountains. It is not as touristic as Provence and you can find many places untouched by tourists! So you can enjoy the authentic French province with friendly people, beautiful scenery and amazing food served in rustic restaurants mainly filled with locals. What would you need more?!
Unending collection of spectacular castles, ruins, abbeys and villages known all over the world, such as: Carcassonne, Perpignan, Nîmes, Narbonne, Béziers and Arles-sur-Tech. Each year, we decide to visit some of them, mostly during the daytimes. Westroll through the city's famous sights and then find a restaurant, where we we spent an evening tasting dishes from the regional cuisine. What is also worth mentioning is that the trips to these places are an adventure by itself, where we for example discover a natural wonder, a small cheese factory or a picturesque creek where we decide to swim.
Aigues-Mortes. Our favourite town - the places where we feel like at home and where we think to come back to every year for the rest of our lives :) It has everything you need, the beautiful town famous for its medieval fortifications and, of course, our little gem where we stay each time: It is Oliveraie de Paul, an olive oil production facility, nestled in the middle of a 15 hectare park. There is a heated pool, a tennis court, a bowling green and a playground for children and endless paths to walk during the evenings. There are six lodges that can accommodate from 4 to 6 people. The lodges are spread around the area, so you actually feel like you are in the olive oil park by yourself.
Camargue Natural Park. Yes, we love it as it is an integral part of the region. It is located on the Mediterranean coast, south of Arles. The Camargue Natural Park is a vast wetland of approximately 100,000 hectares, the largest in France. It is a world-famous sanctuary for bird watchers, as there are somewhere around 400 species to be observed. This includes, pink flamingos – a symbol of the Camargue. But also white horses, a special and one of the oldest breeds in the world, used by the local cowboys for herding and rounding up the area's black bulls. Apart from its animals, the region is also famous for rice paddies and salt pans which can be seen in beautiful pink colors. Passing by some local roads, you will view amazing salt mountains in a beautiful pink, which comes from an algae producing beta carotene to protect itself from the sun. How amazing!
Cirque de Navacelles is a natural amphitheater and wonderful geographic formation. It was formed by a big loop in the river that has been cut long ago, creating a rocky island in a sea of green grass. The view from the top is just stunning and was one of the greatest surprises in the region. It gives you the feeling as if a huge satellite came down to earth and created this enormous crater. If you have time, it is possible to hike down the cirque, which is more or less a day trip. You can also drive down to the little village where you can have something to eat and finish up with a swim in the crystal clear waters of the river and the waterfall by the bridge.
Plage de L'Espiguette. This is where we spend most of our time. It is the longest and widest beach in southern France. Except for the dunes and the salt lagoons, the beach is totally deserted with only a lighthouse in sight. It is great for long walks and lonely swims in the sea. There are also many naturist (nude) section in different parts of the beach. Most of the time, they are visited not only by adults but also families with children, as naturism in France is very popular and widely accepted.