Hérault Department, Languedoc
The department of Hérault is possibly the most dynamic in Languedoc Roussillon. With Montpellier as its capital (supposedly Europe's fastest-growing city), and the huge seaside resorts of Sete and Grande Motte bringing in millions of tourists every summer, the Hérault department is bustling and growing like never before. Even sleepy Beziers looks like it will soon attract budget airline flights to its tiny airport.
But despite all the build-up commotion along the coast, the interior of Hérault in Languedoc is as beautiful and unspoiled as it has always been. The Hérault countryside is glorious, as you drive away from the coast and into the foothills of the Black Mountains, you get lost in an ocean of vines, reaching as far as the eye can see.
Some of the villages of Hérault, Languedoc are incredibly pretty. Roquebrun is lovely, with its bridge and old water mill on the river Orb. St Guilhem le Desert is also spectacularly beautiful - and one of Languedoc's top tourist spots.
Traditionally an economy dominated by wine (hosting the domains of St Chinian and Frontignan), Hérault has attracted some big IT names recently, with Dell and IBM both headquartered outside Montpellier. Ikea have just opened their first Languedoc store here too (now you know we have arrived!).
Hérault is also a favourite of Brits looking to move to the area. Pézenas and Lodève are both popular towns - Pezenas was once the region's capital and is unusually beautiful and on its way to becoming quite chic.
The rivers of Hérault are particularly pretty. The Orb, which runs through Beziers, is rock-bottomed and clear, and popular with anglers. And swimming in the rock pools of the Gorges d'Heric is particularly magical. Overall, the department combines beautiful countryside with the buzz and glamour of a major city (Montpellier) - so living in the Hérault in Languedoc feel like less of a compromise.