Occitanie in Southern France
Occitanie was created with the territorial reform that took effect on January 1, 2016.
It replaces the former Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Rousillon regions.
It includes 13 departments:
Formerly in Languedoc-Roussillon: Lozère (Mende – 48), Gard (Nîmes – 30), Hérault (Montpellier – 34), Aude (Carcassonne – 11) and Pyrénées Orientales (Perpignan – 66)
Formerly in Midi-Pyrénées: Aveyron (Rodez – 12), Tarn (Albi – 81), Lot (Cahors – 46), Ariège (Foix – 09), Haute-Garonne (Toulouse – 31), Hautes-Pyrénées (Tarbes – 65), Gers (Auch – 32 and Tarn-et-Garonne (Montauban – 82)
The prefecture is Toulouse.
The other main towns are Montpellier, Nimes, Perpignan, Béziers and Montauban.
The name Occitanie refers to the Langue d’Oc or Occitan language which is widely spoken in this southern region.
The region Midi-Pyrénées was created in the late 20th century and has no historic nor geographical meaning.
Languedoc-Roussillon, on the other hand, includes the historic County of Roussillon.
This southern region has been a traditional wine-growing area for centuries.
Its vineyard covers an area of 2,996 km2 and is three times larger than the Bordeaux vineyard!
Vine is indigenous to this area which is blessed with a Mediterranean weather and rocky – clayey soil, both highly favorable for its cultivation.
Some 2000 years ago the Romans domesticated the vines and planted the first vineyards around Narbonne and Béziers.
It is said that one out of 10 bottles of wine produced worldwide during the 20th century came from Occitanie!
However, Languedoc-Roussillon wines don’t benefit from the same fame as other French wines because they obtained their first AOC only in the 1980s.
Occitanie is also a region of sea and mountains and boasts 8 UNESCO heritage sites:
Area: 72,724 km2
Population: 5,626,858 (2012)