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Geography of Languedoc
Home > Explore The Region > Travel Information > Geography > Climate & Terrain

Languedoc's 4 main climate & terrain types

 

The climate, topography and terrain-types of Languedoc Roussillon, South France are surprisingly diverse. If you thought all of the region was rolling vineyards under a Mediterranean climate - think again. We've divided the region into four main terrain and climate types - each surprisingly different. Hopefully, our guide should ensure you don't end up wasting time searching for property or spending your holiday in an area of Languedoc-Roussillon, south France, that doesn't suit your needs.

Languedoc's climate

Languedoc's 4 main terrain and climate types:

 

1: Mountains

 

MountainsThe mountainous regions of the Pyrénées, Black Mountains and Cévennes are the least built-up of our four area types, so you'll probably spend more time in the car, driving to the nearest supermarket or town.

 

The climate is wetter and colder - homes in St Pons, for instance, are about 5 degrees Celsius cooler than those on the coast - a godsend during heatwaves, but not much fun in winter.

 

Properties for sale and rent tend also to be sightly cheaper here, both because of the weather and because of the extra distance to Languedoc's beaches. Houses here are also more likely to lack mains water and gas, and even electricity and telephone lines. Fosses septiques (septic tanks) are also more common.

 

Gardens in mountainous areas tend to be larger than in other areas, as the vines don't dominate every inch of spare land. But plots tend to be steeper, so often need to be terraced to be usable. Views can be absolutely stunning, and in cooler months the air is clear enough to be able to see the Pyrénées from Aude and Hérault, and the Alps from Gard and Lozère.

 

2: Foothills

 

FoothillsPerhaps the most picturesque of areas, the foothills of the Pyrénées, Montagnes Noirs and the Cévennes combine the best of both worlds - warm temperatures and beautiful scenery.

 

The countryside here is absolutely stunning - perhaps some of the most beautiful in the world. Patchworks of vineyards undulate under hills of pines, with mountains towering in the distance. The plants are predominantly 'garrigue' a mix of scrub and herbs, with Rosemary, Thyme, Fennel and wild Mint growing everywhere.

 

With vines covering nearly every square inch of spare land, finding villas with large gardens can be a bit tricky in this area.

 

This is truly walk country - the gently rolling hills offering endless treks through the vines and across the many rivers. Relatively good roads also mean that Languedoc's cities and commercial centres are never too far away.

 

3: Coastal Plain

 

Coastal plainThe coastline of Languedoc is a little disappointing. Straight and flat, it mostly lacks the coves and islands that make Provence's coastline so much more interesting. (The Côte Vermeille - just south of Perpignan - does offer lovely coves and more intimate beaches, however. Check out our Beaches pages for more information.) The flatness of the coast continues inland for about 20 minutes by car, before it starts to turn into the foothills described above.

 

The coastal plain offers fewer beautiful views and less interesting walks, and the predominance of vines can make the terrain seem a little monotonous. These areas are also more built-up - they're home to Montpellier, Perpignan, Narbonne and Béziers and their suburbs of industrial and retail developments. So you'll be closer to shops and the region's main roads.

 

Again, vines mean that properties with large gardens can be scarce. If you're thinking of buying a property on the coast itself - read our guide to Languedoc's beaches to find out which parts of the coast are nicest.

 

4: Farmland

 

West of CarcassonneBeyond Carcassonne, the landscape changes again, becoming more undulating, with vines giving way to cereals and sunflowers. This area looks more like England - it is softer and less rugged than the Mediterranean strip, with less of the scrubby 'garrigue' plants.

 

The climate is still hot, but slightly less so than the coastal areas and also slightly wetter..

 

Properties here often boast large gardens, but you'll often find yourself surrounded by fields - which can make finding nearby walks more difficult. Roads are good, and with Carcassonne, Castelnaudary and Toulouse nearby, shops and town life are easy to access.

 

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