Languedoc literally means ‘language of yes' - ‘oc' was the word for yes for the Occitan speaking inhabitants of this part of Southwestern France. It's a region rich in both pastoral and urban pleasures. There are absorbing cities - the capital Montpellier, with its thriving cultural scene. Nimes, with its Roman ruins. And Carcassonne, with its fairytale hilltop castle.
There are lots of good beaches along the Languedoc coastline, and some serious trekking country inland, including the Parc National des Cévennes. Haut or Upper Languedoc, a continuation of the Massif Central, combines trekking mountain terrain, as well as pastures and forests, while the plateaus of the Grand Causses are also good for adventure holidays, with its deep canyons perfect for hiking and canoeing.
Roussillon has a distinct feel, as it sits alongside Catalonia in Spain, and shares the language and culture of its neighbour, as well as the striking scenery of the Pyrenees. The rugged coastline here was a draw for both Matisse and Picasso, and continues to lure visitors - it's worth considering adding resorts like Collioure to any tailor-made itinerary designed to tie in the contrasting delights of this varied and robust region.