Languedoc Roussillon Departments
Languedoc Roussillon description
A Heterogeneous Relief
Languedoc-Roussillon in south-west France curves around a corner of the Mediterranean, from Provence in the east down to the borders with Spain and Andorra in the south. The modern region was formed when two historic provinces were merged. Languedoc takes its name from langue d'oc, a language closely linked to Catalan, and Roussillon in the far south was known as France's Catalonia, but today Catalonia is confined to an autonomous region in north-eastern Spain.
The southernmost extension of the Massif Central can be found in the north. Here, the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut Languedoc is, to the west made up of deciduous forest, and to the east dry and craggy. The very isolated and mountainous Lozère is a wilderness where hermits and exiles have long sought refuge. To the west of the région are the Grands Causses, deep canyons above which lie limestone plateaus. The Montagne Noire, Corbière hills and the Cévennes are all areas of dramatic hills, mountains and deep river gorges.
The landscape flattens around the tranquil Canal Du Midi, which cuts across the region's middle with Carcassonne, a world heritage site, at its centre. South of the canal gentle rolling foothills start to ascend, climbing to the dramatic peaks of the Pyrennees.
The region's Mediterranean coast is an area of river deltas and coastal plains. In some places there are ugly purpose-built developments but there are also some more alluring seaside places such as the picturesque port of Collioure in Roussillon and attractive fishing villages such as Sète and Palavas. The coastline of Lower-Languedoc is cut off from the hinterland by marshy étangs (lagoons), which have prevented the same sort of furious development that has blighted the Cote d'Azur and the Spanish Costas.
An Appealing Service Oriented Area
Languedoc-Roussillon has a good mix of lively cities and picturesque medieval villages. The big Spanish city of Barcelona is an easy day-trip (and possible commute) on the other side of the mountains and there is good autoroute and TGV access to Paris. For many years the région was in decline as people moved from their villages to northern cities, but now more and more people are moving back.
It is growing in popularity with second home owners as property is cheaper here than in Provence and Côte d'Azur and it is easily accessible from the UK thanks to an increasing number of airports served by budget airlines. It is not the best place to find work as it has a high level of unemployment, mainly due to a population growing more rapidly than the supply of new jobs and it is one of the least industrialized régions in the country with only 21% of its GDP accounted by industry. Employment is highly service-oriented, with 68% of its work force employed in the service sector. Telecommunications is a large industry and there are many call centres. As regards agriculture, goat, sheep and cow milk production is important and the major crops are peaches, nectarines, apricots, melon and rice. Béziers is the capital of the région's wine industry; with some excellent wines such as Corbières, Minervois and Côtes du Roussillon.
Languedoc Roussillon Population
- Population: 2,295,648
- Pop.density (people per km2): 87