Welcome to Languedoc Roussillon

Travail réalisé par nos deux étudiantes Italiennes Maria et Chiara dans le cadre de leur stage Leonardo da Vinci à ALFMED. En partenatriat avec l’Université de Firenze (Italie). Perpignan le 8 Janvier 2007

THE LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON

GEOGRAPHY
Located in the south of France, boarding the Mediterranean Sea, in 1999 the Languedoc-Roussillon reached the number of 2.300.000 inhabitants.

The area comprises five departments: Lozère, Gard, Hérault, the Aude and the Pyrénées-Orientales.
In the south it borders with 2 countries: Spain and Andorra, and in the North it is bordered by the French regions of the Midi-Pyrenees, Auvergne, the Rhone-Alps and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur.

Extending over 27.376 km2, Languedoc Roussillon offers a large variety of landscapes: beaches, lagoons, vineyards, scrublands and mountains, a diversity which deeply influenced the inhabitants’ way of living and habits.
All this diversity goes on around the Mediterranean basin (Gulf of Lions) which is also called the Mediterranean arc.

The coastline has this wonderful balance between the land and the sea, the plain, different cultures of the land taking you from the coast up to the mountains.
The Languedoc climate is Mediterranean, with hot dry summers, rainy winters, and moderate springs and autumns.

You can expect to get 300 days of sunshine a year in the Languedoc, but the region covers a large area, and for various reasons the weather can vary considerably within its borders : the coastline tends to be sunnier than and warmer than the inland areas ; the mountains of course tend to be cooler, and valleys damper.

Heavy rains come in autumn and sometimes in spring.

CULTURE
The traditional carnivals, festivals and bullfights which take place in the lake district along the Camargue (Bouvine), fishermen festivals of Gruissan, Sète or Bouzigues, Languedoc Joust tournaments in Sète and Mèze are all part of the culture of the area…

With a still intact back-country and a protected littoral, Languedoc-Roussillon also astonishes by its historical and cultural richness: with its many sites and monuments, abbeys, castles and its works classified with the world inheritance of UNESCO: Le Pont du Gard, Le Canal du Midi, the City of Carcassonne and the Routes of Santiago de Compostela, the Catalan castles and the numerous abbeys.

carcasonne

In the area people speak two languages:

  • The Occitan language which is a Roman language, is considered as a transitory language between the Roman languages of the south (Italian or Castilian) and French, and is close to the Catalan.Today, a few people speak the Occitan but its decline seems to cease, and it’s understood by a good number of the population. Since its standardization it is taught again and receives funds from the local communities
  • The Catalan language, born from Latin, belongs to the family of Roman languages.In our area the Catalan is spoken only in Roussillon, which in the past was part of the Catalan counties attached to Spain and which was annexed to the kingdom of France under Louis XIV, in 17th century. It shares many features with both Spanish and French, and is the language nearest to Occitan.
    Indeed, when comparing the modern descendants of Latin, Catalan is often thought of as a transitory language between the Iberian Roman languages (such as Spanish) and Gallo-Roman languages (such as French).

    The Catalan linguistic region includes the southern part of France (Roussillon), the Principality of Andorra, Catalonia (Barcelona), and the Valencian Country.

ECONOMY
Famous for the diversity of its products, Languedoc-Roussillon proposes an authentic and tasty gastronomy based on:

  • Basil, garlic, olive oil…;
  • Cheeses, honey and fruits;
  • Fine wines and liquors more and more famous all over the world

Tourism in Languedoc Roussillon represents a major economic activity thanks to its diversified landscape.

Inheritance, soil, landscapes, sea and sun are the undeniable assets of this friendly region.
Classified at the 3rd place among the French areas in terms of capacity of reception, regional tourism has represented a key sector of the economy in strong progression for three decades.

Roussillon vine growing is in full progression and it reached high levels of quality very quickly.
Resulting from a secular tradition, the knowledge to make wine was able to exploit the climatic and geological conditions as well as the grapes of Syrah, Carignan and Merlot.

Agriculture too is an important field of research in Roussillon, large producer of fruit and vegetables.