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The Languedoc is the bit of sun drenched southern France between the Rhone River, the Garonne River and the coast. You won't find poseurs on the beaches here. The coastline is varied, and while some of it is perfect for a beach resort break (there are plenty of blue flag beaches), some of it is pretty dramatic too. Now referred to as the Languedoc-Roussillon, this region of France has long been known for its down to earth nature, varied and beautiful landscape and complicated history - it's been owned by just about everyone. And some of the best places to stay in the Languedoc-Roussillon region reflect that.
Capital of the region, Montpellier is one of the best places to stay if you're looking for elegant boulevards and graceful architecture. Montpellier has made money and then spent it on looking lovely. The atmosphere is one of culture, tolerance and appreciation of the aesthetic.
Nîmes is not just a treasure trove of wonderfully preserved Roman buildings, though its magnificent Roman aqueduct is one of the region’s highlights and the 20,000 seat amphitheatre is so well preserved it was used as the main set for the film Gladiator, it's also close to both the Mediterranean and Provence.
Yachties and people-watchers will love Port Camargue - it's a thriving marina just to the east of Montpellier and boasts a vast beach. It's also perfect if you want to venture into the Camargue National Park.
Carcassonne is definitely the place to stay for fans of beautiful medieval architecture. Sitting like a proper fairytale castle atop a hill, this medieval castle-of-a-town has 53 turrets and ramparts and walls which have been strengthened - by adding width - several times. Carcassonne's last major building works took place in the 13th Century and it was only repaired and restored in the 19th. That's why it looks in reasonable repair. Surrounded by beautiful vineyards, this town attracts a lot of visitors in the summer and has a lot of festivals. The citadel provides a wonderful backdrop to every occasion, especially when all lit up in the evening.
Perpignan is a good choice for those who like the combination of beach and city. It's also ideally located for day trips to Spain.
Our Languedoc-Roussillon Collections:
- The Best Places to Stay in Montpellier
- The Best Places to Stay in Nîmes
- The Best Places to Stay in Carcassonne
- The Best Places to Stay in Perpignan
- The Best Places to Stay in Port Camargue
- The Best Places to Stay in Narbonne
What not to Miss
- Much of Montpellier's appeals can be experienced without an entrance fee - you just amble over to the main square, the Comedie, and grab a table. The square is lined by St. Peter's Cathedral and Europe's oldest medical school. When you're finished admiring one of France's most beautiful central squares move on to the Esplanade, Place Jean Jaures, or Place Canourgue and repeat. As well as beautiful buildings, Montpellier does green spaces with panache as well. It is home to France's oldest botanical gardens, just by the St-Pierre Cathedral.
- The Musee Fabre houses France's richest collection of European art. Some of the highlights include three paintings by Rubens, a striking collection by Jacques-Louis David and good pieces by Manet, Degas, Delacroix and Courbet.
- Nîmes has the Roman baths, temples and a 20,000 seat amphitheatre, plus the 1st Century aqueduct - or Pont du Gard - 12 miles out of town, all in excellent condition. The Maison Carré, a Roman temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus, is also in amazing condition considering it was built in the fourth or fifth century BC.
- Nîmes also has Les Halles, the central food market, which occupies the only modern structure along a charming 19th Century boulevard - you won't be disappointed by the life, colour and smells once you get inside.
- The medieval town of Carcassonne looks like one giant fairytale castle: its 53 towers, protected by tall, fortified walls, sit atop a hill, surrounded by gorgeous rows of grape vines. Carcassonne is very beautiful at night. Especially if you're here in the summer when it's inundated with festivals of all shapes and sizes. But if you're looking for the town's real magic then come out of season when you'll have the place a little more to yourself.
- Perpignan is a very walkable city, and some of the bits you’ll want to walk to include the Palais des Rois de Majorque - the Palace of the Kings of Mallorca, which is one of the largest buildings in the city, a great star shaped citadel offering views out to the coast. You may be interested in seeing the wonderfully Gothic Cathedral of St. Jean Baptiste. Then there’s a cluster of interesting architecture in the old town and the wonderful Musée de Préhistoire de Tautavel in the cave riddled hills just north of town which has a host of prehistoric treasures dating from around 450,000 years ago.
- Perpignan’s proximity with Spain lends a certain extra colour and a bit of extra interest to the already interesting cuisine. Plus Perpignan is really big on fiestas.
- The beaches around the Port Camargue area stretch as far as the eye can see with 18 kilometres of fine sand. Immediately landwards are large shallow ‘etangs’ or saline lakes which support a great diversity of wildlife including beautiful flamingoes - the largest population outside Africa.
- And of course you're on the doorstep of the Camargue National Park.
- Grau-du-Roi hosts a market three mornings a week - plus there is a daily fish market.
- Visit the Parc Zoologique Henri de Lunaret, with a range of exotic animals - the zoo promises to be great for all the family.
- And the Seaquarium is a must for children who can see a wide variety of sea creatures through transparent underwater tunnels.
The Hotel Guru's pick of the best places to stay in the Languedoc-Roussillon ranges from rustic farmhouse B&Bs to sophisticated luxury escapes. There truly is something for everyone whatever your taste or budget!
- If you're looking for somewhere grand to stay the Boudon de Manuy is one of the best places to stay in the Languedoc-Roussillon. The ceilings in some of the eight rooms and suites are nothing short of palatial. All are different and while some have original 18th Century features, some are quite modern. Hire the entire property for a really special occasion.
- The Hotel du Palais, Montpellier is an unfussy hotel run by a friendly team and situated in an enviable location surrounded by local neighbourhood cafes, restaurants and small boutiques.
- Ideal for a city break, Hotel d'Aragon, Montpellier is a comfortable and peaceful Montpellier bolthole, a short walk from both the railway station and the historic centre. Ideal for visitors looking for a small and characterful hotel from which to explore the city.
- If you do want to stay right in the medieval heart of Carcassonne, then your best option is at 42 Rue Victor Hugo. The decor is lovely - all high ceilings, parquet floors and fancy fireplaces.
- The next best thing to staying within the walls must be staying beside the walls? If this wonderful view sounds appealing to you then one of the best places to stay in Carcassonne is the Hotel de Château. Surprisingly modern inside, the hotel's garden leads right up to the medieval ramparts, so you can enjoy the view from the comfort of the very modern pool and deck.
- The Château de Cavanac is one of the best places if you're using Carcassonne as a base to explore the whole region. This ivy covered château is a wonderfully rural retreat, with plenty of space for a pool and tennis courts. With rooms starting from less than £60 a night this is also a great choice for those on a budget.
- If you want to be central you can't beat Hotel La Maison de Sophie. Art Deco in style this townhouse B&B has furniture dating from the same period and large rooms full of character.
- The Jardins Secrets offers a little haven amid the busy centre. It's a gorgeous 18th century coaching inn with lovely bedrooms, outdoor pool and spa, yet just minutes from the city's highlights.
Perpignan and the Coast
- The Hotel Ile de la Lagune is a luxurious private island hotel in a lagoon not far from the Mediterranean. There are 24 rooms and suites, a choice of restaurants, pool, thalassotherapy spa and it’s surrounded by luscious tropical gardens. The decor is contemporary, think dark wood and white and pastel furnishings.
- If you're looking for a hideaway in the hills check out Le Tresor. There's plenty of outdoors type activities to keep you entertained, from tennis to sailing, with beaches and lakes a short drive away. With only five rooms and one villa, this is also probably one of the best places if you are travelling with a group of friends.
- If you fancy a château break, Château des Ducs de Joyeuse should tick all the boxes. With its round corner turrets it looks like something out of a children's book. Inside is just as lovely and old fashioned. There are four poster beds, high ceilings and open fireplaces.
- Ecuries de Sainte Croix is an intimate rustic stone farmhouse just outside Carcassonne. With only three rooms this is a tranquil hideaway.
- Mas de Boudan is a fabulous, Michelin-starred restaurant with four rooms attached. The stunning menu is proper ‘haute couture cuisine’ in an atmospheric converted farmhouse just 3kms outside Nîmes.
Best Country Châteaux
- If you're looking for luxury, try the Domain de Verchant. Set in hectares of vineyards, this is a spa resort and country-château-hotel type affair. it is the kind of place where you can have everything just to your liking - from traditional decor to super modern, private dining or spa experience to a separate self catering villa for your whole family.
- The Château de Cavanac is one of the best places to stay in the Languedoc-Roussillon if you're using Carcassonne as a base to explore the whole region. This ivy covered château is a wonderfully rural retreat, with plenty of space for a pool and tennis courts. With rooms starting from less than £60 a night this is also a great choice for those on a budget.
- Chateau Les Carrasses is a gorgeous 17th century castle plus wine estate now boasting luxury accommodation from suites to villas with private pools. Foodies won't be disappointed either with excellent gourmet dishes paired with superb local wines.
- The Domaine de Biar is a stunning country house located on the edge of Montpellier. Lovingly converted throughout, keeping its distinctly French feel, with contemporary architectural touches. Country-style gardens, roaming horses. A gorgeous pool quickly aids relaxation (as does the spa). Thoroughly spoiling.
- Le Spinaker is situated in the marina of Port Carmargue and has great views of all the craft moored there. Rooms are comfortable and tasteful. It's an ideal stop off for weary sailors or a base for exploring the surrounding area.
- If you're planning a romantic break the Hotel de la Cite will fit the bill nicely. Nestled into the ramparts of Carcassonne, this charming, ivy covered building has wonderfully traditional features which have been retained and sumptuously added to. With its Michelin star restaurant this is perfect for foodies.
For a Family Escape
- Chateau St Pierre de Serjac is a luxury family option. Set amid 200 acres including its own vines, the chateau offers 8 rooms and 35 self catering properties. Add to this a kids club, fine dining restaurant, spa and outdoor pool and you have something for everyone in your brood!
- Just out of Carcassonne’s Ville Basse, you'll find La Bastide Saint Martin. It's an understated country villa with just 15 rooms and set large grounds. So if you're travelling with a family who likes to spread out then this is certainly one to bear in mind.
- Located just 5 minutes from the Carcassonne city centre, the Château de Palaja, mixes traditional charm with contemporary style. With a laid-back feel this is an ideal spot for groups of friends and families.
- For an easy family holiday, try La Fauceille, a modern hotel just south of Perpignan with 35 contemporary rooms and suites and an excellent gym and spa. There’s also a great gourmet restaurant and a relaxed atmosphere.
- L'Enclos des Lauriers Roses is out of town, set amongst the vineyards and orchards of Provence, so it’s a great place for foodies. The surrounding space - and the family suites also make it ideal for families or larger groups.
Best Guesthouses and B&Bs
- The B&B Demeure Saint Louis is an 18th century guesthouse located just outside the medieval city of Carcassonne. Interiors are everything you want from a french property, chintz fabrics, sash windows and intricate antique furniture.
- Le Huit is a delightful guesthouse with just five rooms arranged around a swimming pool and mini-spa. The decor is contemporary meets original features, and the dining is table d’hote style featuring the best of today’s market.
- The Château de Cavanac is one of the best places to stay if you plan to explore the whole region. This ivy covered château is a wonderfully rural retreat, with plenty of space for a pool and tennis courts. With rooms starting from less than £60 a night this is also a great choice for those on a budget.
- L’Oustau Camarguen is a welcoming hotel with spacious rooms and contemporary design features. It's a great base for exploring the local region or you can relax by the pool. It's a family favourite, and excellent value with doubles from just €90 per night.
- Ecuries de Sainte Croix is an intimate rustic stone farmhouse just outside Carcassonne. With only three rooms this is a tranquil hideaway.
- The picture perfect sandstone country house, La Bastide Saint Martin, offers very reasonably priced rooms and a charmingly relaxed atmosphere.
- Marquis de la Baume is a charming, 17th century townhouse in Nîmes. With 34 elegant rooms and suites, the best with large French windows, and all with opulent fabrics. The interior has some wonderful original features and the exterior includes a charming, plant-filled courtyard. Romantic and affordable, with prices from around £75 per night.
For an Apartment, cottage or Villa
If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private villa we recommend you visit our online partner booking.com.
- Montpellier–Méditerranée Airport is ten kilometres from Montpellier and has connections to the UK and the rest of Europe. Nîmes airport, or Nîmes–Alès–Camargue–Cévennes airport, is nine kilometres south of the city in the village of Saint-Gilles, and is served by Ryanair and Iberia - at the moment. Carcassonne Airport, which is three kilometres outside the centre of town, also has a few connections outside of France. The Languedoc-Roussillon is also extremely well connected to France and the rest of Europe by rail - high speed in many instances.
- If you want to hire a car - which we highly recommend if you’re staying in the Languedoc-Roussillon and want to see the best of the region - we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
- The most popular time to visit the Languedoc-Roussillon region is summer - especially July and August, when the beaches are packed and there are back-to-back festivals and ferias. Between April and June and September and October the weather is still good and the school and summer holiday crowds have dissipated, so if you’re looking for good value these are the best times to visit.