The South of France

Living in the South of France

Iyna Bort Caruso

It’s the South of France less traveled.

Languedoc-Roussillon is an area in southern France of ancient Roman structures, wooded valleys, breathtaking gorges and some 135 miles of sandy coastline.

Montpellier is the largest city, both medieval and modern, with easy access to the Mediterranean Sea. Further inland is the city of Carcassonne known for the massive citadel that’s been called the world’s largest medieval theme park. Nimes, closer to the border of Provence, is celebrated for its remarkable Roman monuments. In the rural areas of the region one can still hear locals speaking a version of French known as Occitan.

Languedoc-Roussillon is a major wine growing area due to its grape-friendly Mediterranean climate and soil. The wine region is three times larger than its counterpart in Bordeaux.

In 2016 Languedoc-Roussillon merged with neighboring Midi-Pyrénées into a region called Occitanie. Sunny Midi-Pyrénées is the largest region of France with Toulouse as its capital. Outside of the city, however, it has one of the lowest densities in western Europe.

Midi-Pyrénées is farm country--boasting the most farms in the country. Pretty market towns, miles of traffic-free lanes and an unhurried way of life give the region a tucked-away feel. The Canal du Midi starts here connecting Toulouse with the port of Sète on Languedoc-Roussillon’s Mediterranean coast. The great waterway, built in the 17th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The region attracts cyclists, hikers and white-water sports enthusiasts. It is also a place to be pampered. Midi-Pyrénées is well known for its thermal baths as well as for its culinary specialties like foie gras, black truffles and Armagnac.

Prices for classic farmhouses, bastides (manor homes) and village houses rise the closer to Toulouse. Country properties, typically constructed of local stone and originally built by wealthy farmers, have become summer and weekend homes of Toulousians. There are no restrictions for international property buyers.