The south of France attracts you? Head to the Occitan and Catalan countries with our 21 must-sees in Occitania!
Since 2016, the Occitanie region has brought together the former Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions. That is to say about a third of France.
It is the country of the Langue d’Oc, a dialect of the south, which has kept the influence of the Romance language the most.
Between the Mediterranean Sea, the mountains of the Pyrenees, canyons, hilltop villages, and gastronomy, it is a difficult exercise to select among all the activities in the region.
Here are the 21 best things to do in Occitania to inspire your getaways!
The 21 Best Things To Do in Occitania, France
1. The city of Carcassonne
The medieval walled city of Carcassonne is a must-see in Occitania. Its 3 kilometers of ramparts and 52 towers are visible for miles around.
The city is also the most famous example of the work carried out by Viollet-Le-Duc in the nineteenth century to rehabilitate medieval buildings.
You can admire the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, the Count’s Castle, stroll on the lice or simply stroll through the old town. The only downside is it will be necessary to do with the hordes of tourists.
It is the highest peak in the Pyrenees Orientales, at 2784 meters. You can do many hikes and climb its summit if you are a confirmed sportsman.
Otherwise, many more accessible walks await you in beautiful landscapes, not to mention the Abbey of Saint-Martin du Canigo built on a rocky peak.
3. The jousts of Sète
Bordered by the Etang de Thau and the Mediterranean Sea, Sète is a famous city for visitors and artists! Its museums, sandy beaches, architecture, and gastronomy have made the city a must-see in Occitania.
But if there is one thing you must see in Sète, it is the nautical jousting. In their fights, which take place from June to September, they follow specific rules and rituals. Your bets!
4. Cathar castles
Impossible to visit Occitania without going to the assault of the Cathar fortresses! Quéribus, Montségur, Peyrepertuse, you must have heard one day about these castles perched on rocky peaks several hundred meters away.
Reputed to be impregnable, some had a tragic history during the crusade against the so-called Cathar Albigensians.
They formed a group of dissident believers of Catholicism in the thirteenth century. One thing is for sure, exploring them with the wind blowing through the ruins is an unforgettable experience.
They form one of the most famous canyons in France, making them look like the Parisian ring road during the summer season.
That said, it would be a real shame to miss the panorama offered by the crystal clear waters, steep rocks, and cliffside villages. On foot or by kayak, it’s up to you to choose your way to discover them!
6. The Cévennes
The Cévennes National Park offers a wide range of activities and things to see that you have to allow time to discover.
With the corniche, ancient royal road, the Causes, desert plateaus suitable for hiking, charming villages, and local cuisine, you’re unlikely to get bored.
7. Aigues-Mortes and the Camargue
This is one of the most beautiful things to see in Occitania, the spectacle of the ramparts of the city of Aigues-Mortes that plunge into the pink water of the Salins du Midi.
But that’s not all; the region of flamingos and wild horses has much more to offer.
If you go there in May, do not miss the pilgrimage bringing together the communities of Travellers from all over Europe to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Nature lovers are not to be outdone with the superb ornithological park of the Pont de Gau.
8. The Pont du Gard
This is the essential photo to take during your visit to Occitania! It must be said that the Romans knew about technical prowess and had a certain taste for choosing their environment.
The view of the aqueduct with its three rows of arcades and the nature that surrounds it is breathtaking.
One might think the city is frozen in its ancient past, but it is not. You should not miss the famous Arena, the Maison Carré, and the Fountain Gardens, jewels of the Roman ruins.
But you also have to take the time to admire its museum of contemporary art, its bold new architecture, and enjoy its cultural scene.
10. The Canal du Midi
The unmissable romantic walk of Occitanie follows the Canal du Midi, by boat, on foot, by motorhome, or by bike. Formerly a royal canal was dug to connect the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.
It is important to take the time to reflect on the landscapes under the plane trees and let yourself be lulled by the sound of its quiet course.
11. The Gouffre de Padirac
After sailing in the open air, why not try a walk on the underground river 103 meters below the land of the Lot? The bravest will choose the vertiginous staircase to reach the bowels of the earth and admire the beautiful sculptures of stalactites in which the crystal clear waters are reflected.
It is one of the most emblematic villages to visit in Occitania. If you see the medieval houses clinging to the cliff’s rock 150 meters above a canyon, you won’t be surprised.
For the most magical view, you have to go at sunset when the village appears at the end of a bend.
The former Midi-Pyrénées region has several beautiful villages, and Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is one.
The medieval village with its view of the Lot attracts a crowd of visitors every year, but if you want a little more tranquility, do not miss its towpath carved into the rock just above the river.
Less frequented than those of the Tarn, the gorges of the Aveyron nevertheless offer beautiful panoramas. Whether you follow them on the water or land, they offer a stunning diversity of landscapes between green nature, cliffs, and perched fortresses—a walk not to be missed in Occitania.
Strolling in the heart of the city of red bricks is a pleasure that should not be sulked!
It is an opportunity to discover the episcopal city classified by UNESCO, to shiver in front of the Last Judgment in the cathedral before admiring the city’s lights from the Old Bridge.
But above all, do not forget to visit the magnificent Toulouse-Lautrec Museum.
Let’s stay in the shades of warm colors with the discovery of the pink city! Several days will not be too much to explore, so there are so many things to see.
So between the Convent of the Jacobins, the banks of the Garonne, the Place du Capitole and the Cité de l’espace,where will you start?
Still, one of the most beautiful villages in France to see in Occitania but promised, it is the last on this list. As a bonus, you will do a sports session because you have to climb to access the top of the bastide.
Consider taking breaks in the ascent to raise your head and admire the beautiful Gothic architecture of the houses.
18. The Pic du Midi
Welcome to the roof of the Pyrenees! The ascent by gondola about 300 meters from the ground is already a journey in itself.
Once at the top, you can enjoy the exceptional panoramas of the entire massif before taking a tour of the planetarium and the dome of the astronomer. All at more than 2800 meters above sea level.
19. The Cirque de Gavarnie
It is one of the must-see natural sites of Occitania. The beauty of the circus, dug by glacial erosion, even inspired a poem by Victor Hugo!
The good news is that you don’t have to be a great sportsman to discover it because the hike around it is accessible to all.
20. Armagnac vineyards
Your visit to Occitania must end in style and for that, go to the Gers to taste the oldest wine brandy in the world! You will take the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of D’Artagnan, who, if dumas are to be believed, was very fond of Armagnac.
Former capital of Languedoc-Roussillon, Montpellier is obviously unmissable when you come to visit Occitania. Close to the sea, it attracts many tourists every year.
But not only! Indeed, the so-called Gifted attracts the French for their quality of life.
Montpellier is also a student city. There is, therefore, a very developed nightlife there. In addition, do not miss its Faculty of Medicine, the cradle of medicine in Europe.
Finally, stroll through the Escutcheon. From Place de la Comédie, proceed to the Gardens of Peyrou and its Arc de Triomphe.
The major agglomerations of the region have, for the most part, an airport, the most important are Toulouse and Montpellier, which offer the largest number of connections in the territory.
You can use a flight comparator like Ulysses to find the most suitable flight for your stay.
The motorway network serves the region well, with the A20, A75, and A61.
By TGV, you can reach Occitanie from the TGV stations of Montpellier, Toulouse and Nîmes. It is also easy to move to Albi, Perpignan or Narbonne.
The region is a popular tourist destination, so the accommodation offer is very diverse. You have the choice between charming hotels, campsites, cottages, Airbnb, or unusual rooms. You can go for a ride on a hotel comparator to get an idea.
On the tourist sites of the greater Occitanie region, you are unbeatable! Now it’s time to pack your bags!