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Occitanie - a Perfect Southern French Adventure

The south of France is so peaceful. People speak softly, walk slowly. Even seagulls fly calmly overhead as if in slow motion. It's too hot to think, you just want to do nothing, sweet idleness. Or maybe you can just sit in the shade of a palm tree and watch those madmen who still want to walk on this hot May day.

Since this is not my first time in France, I decided to visit the less popular part of its southern coast, the Occitania region. At the far end of the coast, the famous Cannes Festival takes place at the end of May and I wanted to avoid the crowds. In Occitania I experienced peace and French "l'art de ne rien faire".

"l'art de ne rien faire" - the art of doing nothing

Nestled in the southern part of France, Occitania is a region brimming with captivating history, stunning landscapes, and a unique cultural heritage. Encompassing a significant part of the country, from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean coast, Occitania offers a delightful blend of ancient traditions, picturesque towns, and breathtaking natural wonders. My 3 favorite places during this visit were: Narbonne, Carcassonne and Montpellier. These vibrant cities offer a delightful mix of rich history, stunning architecture, delectable cuisine, and a vibrant contemporary culture.

I fell in love with this region, saw beautiful places and met fascinating people. Below are five things I liked most about Occitania.

  • A Historical Tapestry

Occitania bears witness to a fascinating past, steeped in historical significance. With roots tracing back to the Roman Empire, the region served as a crossroads of cultures and a melting pot of influences. From the magnificent medieval city of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to the ancient Roman town of Nîmes and the captivating Albi Cathedral, Occitania offers an array of architectural marvels that transport visitors to bygone eras.

  • Captivating Cultural Festivals:

Occitania's vibrant calendar of cultural festivals provides an opportunity to experience the region's lively spirit. One of the most famous celebrations is the Feria de Nîmes, where the streets come alive with traditional bullfighting, parades, music, and dancing. Similarly, the Festival Internacional de Música de Besalú, held in the medieval town of Besalú, offers a mesmerizing blend of classical, traditional, and contemporary music. These festivals not only showcase the region's cultural heritage but also foster a sense of community and shared joy.

  • Natural Splendors

Nature lovers will find themselves in awe of Occitania's diverse landscapes. From the snow-capped peaks of the Pyrenees to the golden beaches of the Mediterranean coast, the region is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers can explore the stunning beauty of the Cévennes National Park or the picturesque Gorges du Tarn, while cyclists can pedal through the breathtaking vineyards of the Languedoc region. Occitania's natural wonders offer opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable memories.

  • Gastronomic Delights

No visit to Occitania is complete without indulging in its delectable cuisine. The region boasts a rich culinary heritage, influenced by its Mediterranean and Catalan neighbors. From hearty cassoulet and aromatic bouillabaisse to savory duck confit and exquisite wines, Occitania tantalizes taste buds with its diverse flavors. It's also easy to find plenty of vegetarian options as well as freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. Farmers' markets, market halls and local food festivals provide a chance to savor the freshest regional produce and discover the unique gastronomic traditions passed down through generations.

  • People

People of Occitania embody a unique blend of warmth, cultural pride, resilience, and a deep connection to their land. I liked how they cultivate their traditions, how they take care of the smallest details. Despite the language barrier, they are smiling and willing to help. Everywhere I was warmly welcomed and felt comfortable.

In the next post I will tell you more about the places I visited in Occitania. À bientôt!


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