It is difficult to make a choice among the essential sites of Occitanie. This sun-drenched region has many advantages. Massifs, rivers, coastline, towns and villages are a real call to discovery.
In the south of France, Occitanie is a vast region made up of 13 departments. Nestled between the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, this land of contrasts is rich in 41 labeled towns, villages or natural sites Large site in Occitanie South of France. We offer in these lines, discover some of the unmissable sites of Occitanie.
The cave of Niaux and the prehistoric heritage of Ariège
In Ariège, one of unmissable sites of Occitanie, offers a journey through prehistory. The caves of Niaux, Mas-d'Azil and La Vache are an immersion in the daily life of the first men. In the heart of a preserved natural environment, the cave of Niaux is exceptional. On reservation, admire in privacy and by the light of torches, the authentic cave paintings of Magdalenian men. During your visit, do not miss the Prehistory Park, located just a few minutes from Tarascon-sur-Ariège.
Carcassonne and the citadels of vertigo in the Aude
In the Aude, the medieval city of Carcassonne is labeled Grand Site de France. With its 52 towers and its double enclosure, it is representative of medieval architecture. The ramparts of the City, the count's castle, the basilica and the alleys offer visitors moments suspended in time. The castles of the Cathar country perched in the Corbières are an invitation to discovery. Lastours, Quéribus, Peyrepertuse, Aguilar, Termes and Puilaurens offer a journey through Catharism, but also breathtaking panoramas. They totally deserve their nickname of Citadels of Vertigo.
Bastides and gorges in Aveyron
From Belcastel to Najac, the bastides and picturesque villages follow one another along the Aveyron river. Among them, with a rich commercial past, Villefranche-de-Rouergue is a typical country house of the region. The Chartreuse Saint-Sauveur is a treasure of Gothic architecture. In Najac, ranked among thehe most beautiful villages in France, the narrow gorges of the Aveyron can be admired from the impregnable medieval fortress. In Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, Caylus or Villeneuve-d'Aveyron, many discoveries also await holidaymakers. During your passage in Aveyron, do not leave without having admired the gorges. On foot or by canoe, they are ideal for a family outing.
Aigues-Mortes and the Camargue in the Gard
In Mediterranean, among the unmissable sites of Occitanie, Aigues-Mortes and the Gard Camargue are major destinations. The fortified city and the salt flats of Aigues-Mortes offer an absolute change of scenery. The ramparts, the rampart walk, the Tour de Constance and the craftsmen's workshops fascinate visitors. The salt marshes draw sumptuous landscapes. In the Camargue, the lagoons, marshes and ponds are rich in an astonishing biodiversity. The best way to find out is undoubtedly a horseback ride from a herd.
Marciac in the Gers
Marciac is an emblematic bastide of the art of living in Gers. This step on the ways of Compostela, located between the Adour valley, Côtes de Saint-Mont, Armagnac and Madiran vineyards, is a must-see cultural site. Sweetness of life, gastronomy, heritage, but also jazz, are lived intensely in Marciac. The Jazz in Marciac festival is indeed recognized worldwide. It has hosted the greatest jazz artists every summer since 1978. No less than fifteen days of concerts, master classes and street shows, in the land of d'Artagnan ...
Toulouse in Haute-Garonne
Impossible to talk about unmissable sites of Occitanie without mentioning Toulouse. Because the Pink City celebrated by Nougaro, is none other than the capital of Occitanie. Between sun, heritage, Garonne and Canal du Midi, it proudly carries the values of its region. Shaped by 2000 years of history, this dynamic city is rich in exceptional monuments. Don't miss the Capitol, the Saint-Sernin basilica, the Jacobins Convent or the Assézat Hotel. During your visit, discover the local gastronomy in one of the many restaurants in the old town. And if you are passionate about science, the Cité de l'Espace, the Quai des Savoirs and the Natural History Museum will satisfy you.
Sète in the Hérault
Sète is one of the most beautiful fishing and trading ports in the Mediterranean. Nicknamed the Venice of Languedoc, it proudly emerges between sea, canals and ponds. The colorful facades, the fishing district of Pointe Courte or the Quartier Haut celebrate the past of this maritime city of character. Here, the sea and the Thau pond have given rise to a culture, gastronomy and traditions that are still very much alive. Every year, the games of Sète thousands of people gather around the canals. During your visit, do not forget to taste a delicious tielle or seafood on the terrace.
Rocamadour and the Dordogne valley in the Lot
Between heaven and earth, Rocamadour is a sacred city. Hanging above the Alzou gorges, this pilgrimage site has 8 churches. Among them, the Notre-Dame chapel and its statue of the Black Madonna attract a large number of visitors. 216 steps lead to the esplanade of the Sanctuary. Not far from Rocamadour, the Dordogne valley is classified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Its pure waters are suitable for swimming and for walking, cycling or canoeing.
The gorges of Tarn and Jonte in Lozère
In the Cévennes, the gorges of Tarn and Jonte are essential sites in Occitanie. The sumptuous gorges of the Tarn have made their way through the causses. Very popular with whitewater sports enthusiasts, they are dotted with some of the most beautiful villages in France. Saint-Énimie and Saint-Chély-sur-Tarn are essential stages, as are the panorama of Point Sublime. Between the Causse Méjean and the Causse Noir, the Jonte gradually formed magnificent and impressive gorges. Its cliffs are particularly popular with climbers, while the wild river descending from the Mont Aigoual is the playground for canoe enthusiasts. For hikers, the path of the cornices offers sumptuous points of view.
Gavarnie, Cauterets and the Pont d'Espagne in the Hautes-Pyrénées
Formed 50 million years ago by glacial erosion, the circus of Gavarnie offers a breathtaking spectacle. From the village of Gavarnie, an hour's walk is enough to access the exceptional site surrounded by several peaks over 3 meters in altitude. Cauterets recounts the sumptuous past of the XNUMXth century. The large hotels, the facades, the wooden station, but also the thermal baths and the ski resort, are appreciated by all holidaymakers. A few kilometers away, the Pont d'Espagne is the starting point for exceptional hikes. Lakes, forests, torrents and waterfalls await you there.
The Canigou massif in the Pyrénées-Orientales
In Catalan Country, the Canigou massif proudly emerges facing the Mediterranean Sea. At the heart of this territory steeped in Catalan culture, the massif benefits from a rich heritage. Roman art is very present there. Do not miss, for example, the priory of Serrabona and its pink marble gallery, or even the abbey of Saint-Martin-du-Canigou. The Vauban fortifications are also present in Catalonia. Villefranche-de-Conflent was indeed fortified by the famous architect in the XNUMXth century. Another must-see in the region is the traditional Yellow Train of Cerdanya. But the Canigou is also a dream site for lovers of outdoor sports. Mountain biking, hiking and mountain recreation are on the program.
Cordes-sur-Ciel and the medieval towns in the Tarn
In the Tarn, Cordes-sur-Ciel is one of the oldest medieval bastides in Occitanie. Imbued with myths and legends, it clings to the Puech de Mordagne, and offers unforgettable views over the Cérou valley. The sculpted facades of the houses of the Grand Fauconnier, the Grand Écuyer and the Grand Veneur are extraordinary treasures of Gothic architecture. The luxurious residences bear witness to the prosperity of yesteryear. In Cordes, crafts and crafts have a place of honor. The workshops of ceramists and painters delight visitors. Every year, the Medieval Festivals attract young and old alike. In the Cordes region, other medieval cities are appreciated. Puycelsi and Castelnau-de-Montmirail are also among the most beautiful villages in France.
Moissac, Lauzerte and Auvillar in the Tarn-et-Garonne
In the middle of the vineyards and orchards of Tarn-et-Garonne, Moissac, Lauzerte and Auvillar are essential sites in Occitanie. They are important stages on the Puy path which points to Compostela. In Moissac, the abbey is a Mecca of Romanesque art. The 76 capitals of the cloister and the sculptures of the portal constitute an exceptional architectural heritage. The Canal des Deux Mers spans the Tarn thanks to the impressive Cacor canal bridge. Not far from here, Lauzerte is known to be a magnificent example of an Occitan country house. Auvillar can as for it be proud of its round grain market and its medieval houses.