Lanquedoc-Roussillon (Now Occitanie)

Not to be missed in this Region is the town of Carcassone and Montpellier, the Hérault Valley, Narbonne, Perpignan, Pézenas to name a few. We have spent time in this Region on a number of different trips and have always enjoyed the opportunity return and drive the small roads.

If you only had a few days, an often suggested route is to drive from Monpellier, Sète or Béziers into the Héault Valley. Have lunch in a town such as Ganges. Then travel up the Viz Valley and see the natural mountain amphitheater at Navacelles. Carcassone is a must because of its remarkably well preserved state and the sheer size of the walled town.

Carcassone

We have found that Carcassone is so impressive, especially when you see it in the distance as you approach the town.

Of course, this is the "Region of the Cathars" and for a period of time was the scene of horrific battles. The Cathar Sect held the view that good resided only in the spiritual world, and therefore, the material world of man was intrinsically evil. The Cathars rejected the sacraments of Catholicism and raised a clergy that included men and women — known as the Perfects. The Cathars centered in the Languedoc and lived under the protection of the Counts of Toulouse.

Well rejecting the sacraments of the Catholic Church had a price. The movement was condemned by the Pope. After the Papal Legate to the Region was assassinated in 1208, Simon de Montfort, an Anglo-French warrior, lead a crusade that would eliminate the Cathars Entire villages were sacked and destroyed. The battles ended in 1229 with the fall of the Count of Toulouse to the French Crown.

We visited Montepllier and Uzès on a couple trips, with the most recent being our 2002 visit where we rented a house not far from Narbonne and used that as our base to tour the area.