Languedoc
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The Province of Languedoc (; , ; oc, Lengadòc ) is a former province of France. Most of its territory is now contained in the modern-day
region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lan ...
of Occitanie in
Southern France Southern France, also known as the South of France or colloquially in French language, French as , is a defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Marais Poitevin,Louis Papy, ''Le midi ...
. Its capital city was
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
. It had an area of approximately 42,700 square kilometers (16,490 square miles).


History

The Roman province of
Gallia Narbonensis Gallia Narbonensis (Latin for "Gaul of Narbonne", from its chief settlement) was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in Southern France. It was also known as Provincia Nostra ("Our Province"), because it was the ...
fell to the
Visigothic Kingdom The Visigothic Kingdom, officially the Kingdom of the Goths ( la, Regnum Gothorum), was a kingdom that occupied what is now southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to the 8th centuries. One of the Germanic peoples, Germanic su ...
from the 5th to the 8th centuries. Occupied briefly by the Emirate of Córdoba between 719 and 759, it was conquered and incorporated into the Kingdom of the Franks by Pippin the Short in 759 following the Siege of Narbonne. Under the
Carolingians The Carolingian dynasty (; known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Franks, Frankish noble family named after Charlemagne, grandson of Mayor of the palace, mayor Charles Martel and a descendant ...
, the counts of Toulouse were appointed by the royal court. Later, this office became hereditary. Part of the territory where Occitan was spoken came to be called ''
langue d'oc Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no ), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speakers, and sometimes also referred to as ''Provençal'', is a Romance languages, Romance language spoken in Southern France, Monaco, Ital ...
'', ''Lengadòc'' or Languedoc. In the 13th century, the spiritual beliefs of the area were challenged by the See of Rome and the region became attached to the
Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France; frm, Royaulme de France; french: link=yes, Royaume de France) is the historiographical name or umbrella term given to various political entities of France France (), officially the Fr ...
following the
Albigensian Crusade The Albigensian Crusade or the Cathar Crusade (; 1209–1229) was a military and ideological campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc, southern France. The Crusade was prosecuted primarily by the French crown ...
(1208–1229). This crusade aimed to put an end to what the Church considered the Cathar heresy, and enabled the
Capetian dynasty The Capetian dynasty (; french: Capétiens), also known as the House of France, is a dynasty of Franks, Frankish origin, and a branch of the Robertians. It is among the largest and oldest dynasty, royal houses in Europe and the world, and cons ...
to extend its influence south of the
Loire The Loire (, also ; ; oc, Léger, ; la, Liger) is the longest river in France and the 171st longest in the world. With a length of , it drains , more than a fifth of France's land, while its average discharge is only half that of the Rhône ...
. As part of this process, the former principalities of Trencavel (the Viscounty of Albi, Carcassona, Besièrs,
Agde Agde (; ) is a commune in the Hérault department in Southern France. It is the Mediterranean port of the Canal du Midi. Location Agde is located on the Hérault river, from the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea c ...
and Nîmes) were integrated into the Royal French Domain in 1224. The County of Toulouse followed them in 1271. The remaining feudal enclaves were absorbed progressively up to the beginning of the 16th century; the County of Gévaudan in 1258, the County of Melgueil ( Mauguiò) in 1293, the Lordship of Montpellier in 1349 and the Viscounty of Narbonne in 1507. The territory falling within the jurisdiction of the Estates of Languedoc, which convened for the first time in 1346, shrank progressively, becoming known during the Ancien Régime as the province of Languedoc. The year 1359 marked a turning point in the history of the province. The three
bailiwick A bailiwick () is usually the area of jurisdiction of a bailiff, and once also applied to territories in which a privately appointed bailiff exercised the sheriff's functions under a royal or imperial writ. The bailiwick is probably modelled on the ...
s (''sénéchaussées'') of Bèucaire, Carcassona and Tolosa had the status of ''bonnes villes'' (towns granted privileges and protection by the king of France in return for providing a contingent of men at arms). In that year, the three entered into a perpetual union, after which their contribution of royal officers was summoned jointly rather than separately for each of the three sénéchaussées. Towards the end of 14th century, the term "country of the three seneschalties" (''pays des trois sénéchaussées''), later to become known as Languedoc, designated the two bailiwicks of Bèucaire-Nîmes and Carcassona, and the eastern part of Tolosa (Toulouse), retained under the Treaty of Brétigny. At that time, the
County of Foix The County of Foix (french: Comté de Foix, ; oc, Comtat de Fois) was an independent medieval fief in southern France, and later a province of France, whose territory corresponded roughly the eastern part of the modern ''département'' of Arièg ...
, which belonged to the seneschal of Carcassona until 1333 before passing to Toulouse, ceased to belong to Languedoc. In 1542, the province was divided into two ''
généralité ''Recettes générales'', commonly known as ''généralités'' (), were the administrative divisions of France under the Ancien Régime ''Ancien'' may refer to * the French word for "ancient Ancient history is a time period from the Histo ...
s'': Toulouse for Haut-Languedoc, and Montpellier for Bas-Languedoc. This lasted until the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, ...
in 1789. From the 17th century onward, there was only one intendance for the whole of Languedoc, with its seat in Montpellier.


Geographical extent

The traditional provinces of the kingdom of France were not formally defined. A province was simply a territory of common traditions and customs, but it had no political organization. Today, when people refer to the old provinces of France, they are referring to the ''gouvernements'' as they existed in 1789, before the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, ...
. ''Gouvernements'' were military regions established by the Crown in the middle of the 16th century; their territories closely matched those of the traditional provinces. However, in some cases, small provinces were merged with a large one into a single ''gouvernement'', so ''gouvernements'' are not exactly the same as the traditional provinces. Historically, the region was called the County of Toulouse, a county independent from the kings of France. The County of Toulouse was made up of what would later be called Languedoc, but it also included the province of
Quercy Quercy (; oc, Carcin , locally ) is a former province of France located in the country's southwest, bounded on the north by Limousin (region), Limousin, on the west by Périgord and Agenais, on the south by Gascony and Languedoc, and on the east ...
(now the ''
département In the administrative divisions of France, the department (french: département, ) is one of the three levels of government under the national level ("territorial collectivity, territorial collectivities"), between the regions of France, admin ...
'' of Lot and the northern half of the ' of
Tarn-et-Garonne Tarn-et-Garonne (; oc, Tarn e Garona ) is a department in the Occitania region in Southern France. It is traversed by the rivers Tarn and Garonne, from which it takes its name. The area was originally part of the former provinces of Quer ...
) and the province of
Rouergue Rouergue (; ) is a former province of France The Kingdom of France was organised into provinces until the National Constituent Assembly (France), National Constituent Assembly adopted a more uniform division into Departments of France, departme ...
(now the ' of
Aveyron Aveyron (; oc, Avairon; ) is a Departments of France, department in the Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania, Southern France. It was named after the river Aveyron (river), Aveyron. Its inhabitants are know ...
), both to the northwest of Languedoc. At some times it included the province of
Agenais Agenais (), or Agenois (), was an ancient region that became a county A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburg ...
(now the eastern half of the ' of
Lot-et-Garonne Lot-et-Garonne (, oc, Òlt e Garona) is a Departments of France, department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Regions of France, region of Southwestern France. Named after the rivers Lot (river), Lot and Garonne, it had a population of 331,271 in 2019.
) to the west of Languedoc, the province of Gévaudan (now ' of
Lozère Lozère (; oc, Losera ) is a landlocked department in the region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "ear ...
), the province of
Velay Velay () is a historical area of France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the ...
(now the central and eastern part of the ' of
Haute-Loire Haute-Loire (; oc, Naut Léger or ''Naut Leir''; English: Upper Loire) is a landlocked Departments of France, department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regions of France, region of south-central France. Named after the Loire, Loire River, it is su ...
), the southern part of the province of
Vivarais Vivarais (; oc, Vivarés; la, Vivariensis provincia{{cite web , url=http://www.columbia.edu/acis/ets/Graesse/orblatv.html , title = ORBIS LATINUS - Letter V) is a traditional region in the south-east of France France (), officially ...
(now the southern part of the ' of
Ardèche Ardèche (; oc, Ardecha; frp, Ardecha) is a Departments of France, department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regions of France, region of Southeastern France. It is named after the river Ardèche (river), Ardèche and had a population of 328,278 ...
), and even all the northern half of
Provence Provence (, , , , ; oc, Provença or ''Prouvènço'' , ) is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the France–Italy border, Italian border ...
. After the French conquest the entire county was dismantled, the central part of it being now called Languedoc. The ''gouvernement'' of Languedoc was created in the mid-16th century. In addition to Languedoc proper, it included the three small provinces of Gévaudan,
Velay Velay () is a historical area of France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the ...
, and
Vivarais Vivarais (; oc, Vivarés; la, Vivariensis provincia{{cite web , url=http://www.columbia.edu/acis/ets/Graesse/orblatv.html , title = ORBIS LATINUS - Letter V) is a traditional region in the south-east of France France (), officially ...
(in its entirety), these three provinces being to the northeast of Languedoc. Some people also consider that the region around Albi was a traditional province, called Albigeois (now the ' of Tarn), although it is most often considered as being part of Languedoc proper. The provinces of
Quercy Quercy (; oc, Carcin , locally ) is a former province of France located in the country's southwest, bounded on the north by Limousin (region), Limousin, on the west by Périgord and Agenais, on the south by Gascony and Languedoc, and on the east ...
and
Rouergue Rouergue (; ) is a former province of France The Kingdom of France was organised into provinces until the National Constituent Assembly (France), National Constituent Assembly adopted a more uniform division into Departments of France, departme ...
, despite their old ties with
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
, were not incorporated into the ''gouvernement'' of Languedoc. They were attached to the ''gouvernement'' of Guienne and its far-away capital
Bordeaux Bordeaux ( , ; Gascon language, Gascon oc, Bordèu ; eu, Bordele; it, Bordò; es, Burdeos) is a port city on the river Garonne in the Gironde Departments of France, department, Southwestern France. It is the capital of the Nouvelle-Aquita ...
. This decision was probably intentional, to avoid reviving the independently spirited County of Toulouse. In the rest of this article, Languedoc refers to the territory of this ''gouvernement'' of Languedoc.


Area and location of Languedoc

The province of Languedoc covered an area of approximately 42,700 km² (16,490 sq. miles) in the central part of southern France, roughly the region between the river Rhône (border with
Provence Provence (, , , , ; oc, Provença or ''Prouvènço'' , ) is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the France–Italy border, Italian border ...
) and the
Garonne The Garonne (, also , ; Occitan language , Occitan, Catalan language , Catalan, Basque language, Basque, and es, Garona, ; la, Garumna or ) is a river of southwest France and northern Spain. It flows from the central Spanish Pyrenees to the ...
(border with
Gascony Gascony (; french: Gascogne ; oc, Gasconha ; eu, Gaskoinia) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provi ...
), extending northwards to the Cévennes and the
Massif Central The (; oc, Massís Central, ; literally ''"Central Massif"'') is a highland region in south-central France, consisting of mountains and plateaus. It covers about 15% of mainland France. Subject to volcano, volcanism that has subsided in the l ...
(border with
Auvergne Auvergne (; ; oc, label= Occitan, Auvèrnhe or ) is a former administrative region in central France, comprising the four departments of Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Cantal and Haute-Loire. Since 1 January 2016, it has been part of the new region ...
).


Capital

As the center of the
County of Toulouse The County of Toulouse ( oc, Comtat de Tolosa) was a territory in southern France consisting of the city of Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of ...
and the regional ''parlement'',
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
is often considered the "capital" of Languedoc. On maps (both ancient and modern) showing the provinces (i.e., ''gouvernements'') of France in 1789, it is always marked as such. However, the intricate entanglement of administrations and jurisdictions permitted
Montpellier Montpellier (, , ; oc, Montpelhièr ) is a city in southern France near the Mediterranean Sea. One of the largest urban centres in the region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania, Montpellier is the prefecture of the Departments of ...
to also claim that distinction. In the 18th century, the monarchy clearly favored Montpellier, a city much smaller than Toulouse, with less history, and with fewer autonomous local authorities such as Toulouse's ''parlement'' and capitoulate.


Old administrative divisions

The governors of Languedoc resided in Pézenas, on the Mediterranean coast, away from
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
but close to
Montpellier Montpellier (, , ; oc, Montpelhièr ) is a city in southern France near the Mediterranean Sea. One of the largest urban centres in the region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania, Montpellier is the prefecture of the Departments of ...
. In time they had increased their power well beyond military matters, and had become the real administrators and executive power of the province, a trend seen in the other ''gouvernements'' of France, but particularly acute in Languedoc, where the duke of Montmorency, governor of Languedoc, even openly rebelled against the king, then was defeated and beheaded in Toulouse in 1632 by the order of Richelieu. The kings of France became fearful of the power of the governors, so after King
Louis XIV Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was List of French monarchs, King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the Li ...
(the Sun King) they had to reside in
Versailles The Palace of Versailles ( ; french: Château de Versailles ) is a former royal residence built by King Louis XIV located in Versailles, Yvelines, Versailles, about west of Paris, France. The palace is owned by the French Republic and since 19 ...
and were forbidden to enter the territory of their ''gouvernement''. Thus the ''gouvernements'' became hollow structures, but they still carried a sense of the old provinces, and so their names and limits have remained popular until today. For administrative purposes, Languedoc was divided in two ''
généralité ''Recettes générales'', commonly known as ''généralités'' (), were the administrative divisions of France under the Ancien Régime ''Ancien'' may refer to * the French word for "ancient Ancient history is a time period from the Histo ...
s'', the ''généralité'' of Toulouse and the ''généralité'' of Montpellier, the combined territory of the two generalities exactly matching that of the ''gouvernement'' of Languedoc. At the head of a generality was an ''
intendant An intendant (; pt, intendente ; es, intendente ) was, and sometimes still is, a public official, especially in France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also compri ...
'', but in the case of Languedoc there was only one ''intendant'' responsible for both generalities, and he was often referred to as the ''intendant'' of Languedoc, even though technically speaking he was in fact the ''intendant'' of the generality of Toulouse and ''intendant'' of the generality of Montpellier. The generality of Toulouse is also referred to as Upper Languedoc (''Haut-Languedoc''), while the generality of Montpellier, down to the level of the sea, is referred to as Lower Languedoc (''Bas-Languedoc''). The ''intendants'' of Languedoc resided in Montpellier, and they had a sub-delegate in Toulouse. Montpellier was chosen on purpose to diminish the power of Toulouse, whose ''
parlement A ''parlement'' (), under the French Ancien Régime, was a Provinces of France, provincial appellate court of the Kingdom of France. In 1789, France had 13 parlements, the oldest and most important of which was the Parliament of Paris, Parl ...
'' was very influential, and which symbolized the old spirit of independence of the
county of Toulouse The County of Toulouse ( oc, Comtat de Tolosa) was a territory in southern France consisting of the city of Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of ...
. The ''intendants'' replaced the governors as administrators of Languedoc, but appointed and dismissed at will by the king, they were no threat to the central state in
Versailles The Palace of Versailles ( ; french: Château de Versailles ) is a former royal residence built by King Louis XIV located in Versailles, Yvelines, Versailles, about west of Paris, France. The palace is owned by the French Republic and since 19 ...
. By 1789 they were the most important element of the local administration of the kingdom. For judicial and legislative matters, Languedoc was overseen by the
Parliament of Toulouse The Parliament of Toulouse (french: Parlement de Toulouse) was one of the ''parlements'' of the Kingdom of France, established in the city of Toulouse. It was modelled on the Parliament of Paris. It was first created in 1420, but definitely estab ...
, founded in the middle of the 15th century. It was the first ''parlement'' created outside of Paris by the kings of France in order to be the equivalent of the ''Parlement'' of Paris in the far-away southern territories of the kingdom. The jurisdiction of the ''Parlement'' of Toulouse included the whole of the territory of the ''gouvernement'' of Languedoc, but it also included the province of
Rouergue Rouergue (; ) is a former province of France The Kingdom of France was organised into provinces until the National Constituent Assembly (France), National Constituent Assembly adopted a more uniform division into Departments of France, departme ...
, most of the province of
Quercy Quercy (; oc, Carcin , locally ) is a former province of France located in the country's southwest, bounded on the north by Limousin (region), Limousin, on the west by Périgord and Agenais, on the south by Gascony and Languedoc, and on the east ...
, and a part of
Gascony Gascony (; french: Gascogne ; oc, Gasconha ; eu, Gaskoinia) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provi ...
. The ''Parlement'' of Toulouse was the supreme court of justice for this vast area of France, the court of last resort whose rulings could not be appealed, not even to the ''Parlement'' of Paris. The ''Parlement'' of Toulouse could also create case law through its decisions, as well as interpret the law. It was also in charge of registering new royal edicts and laws, and could decide to block them if it found them to be in contravention with the liberties and laws of Languedoc. Finally, for purposes of taxation, Languedoc was ruled by the States of Languedoc, whose jurisdiction included only Languedoc proper (and Albigeois), but not Gévaudan,
Velay Velay () is a historical area of France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the ...
, and
Vivarais Vivarais (; oc, Vivarés; la, Vivariensis provincia{{cite web , url=http://www.columbia.edu/acis/ets/Graesse/orblatv.html , title = ORBIS LATINUS - Letter V) is a traditional region in the south-east of France France (), officially ...
, which kept each their own provincial states until 1789. Languedoc proper was one of the very few provinces of France which had the privilege to decide over tax matters, the kings of France having suppressed the provincial states in most other provinces of the kingdom. This was a special favor from the kings to ensure that an independently spirited region far-away from
Versailles The Palace of Versailles ( ; french: Château de Versailles ) is a former royal residence built by King Louis XIV located in Versailles, Yvelines, Versailles, about west of Paris, France. The palace is owned by the French Republic and since 19 ...
would remain faithful to the central state. The States of Languedoc met in many different cities, and for some time they established themselves in Pézenas, but in the 18th century they were relocated definitively to
Montpellier Montpellier (, , ; oc, Montpelhièr ) is a city in southern France near the Mediterranean Sea. One of the largest urban centres in the region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania, Montpellier is the prefecture of the Departments of ...
, where they met once a year, until 1789. For Christian religious purposes, Languedoc was also divided into a certain number of ecclesiastical provinces, including the archdiocese of Toulouse, the archdiocese of Narbonne, and the archdiocese of Albi.


Modern administrative divisions

Between 1956 and 2016, the province of Languedoc was divided between four : * 55.5% of its former territory lay in the , capital city , covering the of , and the extreme-north of , which accounted for 86.5% of the territory of . The remaining 13.5% is (), a province which was never part of historic Languedoc. * 24.8% of its former territory lay in the , capital city , covering the of , as well as the eastern half of , the southeast of , and the northwest and northeast of , which account for 23.4% of the territory of . The remaining 76.6% was made of and (of which was talked above), as well as the province of County of (which had been a vassal of the county of in the Middle Ages), several small provinces of the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineu ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to C ...
mountains, and a large part of
Gascony Gascony (; french: Gascogne ; oc, Gasconha ; eu, Gaskoinia) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provi ...
. * 13% lay in the , covering the of , which accounted for 12.7% of the territory of . * 6.7% lay in the , covering the central and eastern part of the of , which accounted for 11% of the territory of the modern . In 2016, the French regions were reduced in number, with and merging to form , containing over 80% of historic , and and merging to , with just under a fifth of the historic .


Population and cities

On the traditional territory of the province of Languedoc there live approximately 3,650,000 people (as of 1999 census), 52% of these in the
Languedoc-Roussillon Languedoc-Roussillon (; oc, Lengadòc-Rosselhon ; ca, Llenguadoc-Rosselló) is a former regions of France, administrative region of France. On 1 January 2016, it joined with the region of Midi-Pyrénées to become Occitania (administrative re ...
''région'', 35% in the Midi-Pyrénées ''région'', 8% in the Rhône-Alpes ''région'', and 5% in the
Auvergne Auvergne (; ; oc, label= Occitan, Auvèrnhe or ) is a former administrative region in central France, comprising the four departments of Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Cantal and Haute-Loire. Since 1 January 2016, it has been part of the new region ...
''région''. The territory of the former province shows a stark contrast between some densely populated areas (coastal plains as well as metropolitan area of Toulouse in the interior) where density is between 150 inhabitants per km²/390 inh. per sq. mile (coastal plains) and 300 inh. per km²/780 inh. per sq. mile (plain of Toulouse), and the hilly and mountainous interior where density is extremely low, the Cévennes area in the south of
Lozère Lozère (; oc, Losera ) is a landlocked department in the region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "ear ...
having one of the lowest densities of Europe with only 7.4 inhabitants per km² (19 inh. per sq. mile). The five largest metropolitan areas on the territory of the former province of Languedoc are (as of 1999 census):
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
(964,797),
Montpellier Montpellier (, , ; oc, Montpelhièr ) is a city in southern France near the Mediterranean Sea. One of the largest urban centres in the region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania, Montpellier is the prefecture of the Departments of ...
(459,916), Nîmes (221,455),
Béziers Béziers (; oc, Besièrs) is a subprefecture A subprefecture is an administrative division of a country that is below prefecture or province. Albania There are twelve Counties of Albania, Albanian counties or prefectures, each of which is d ...
(124,967), and Alès (89,390). The population of the former province of Languedoc is currently the fastest-growing in France, and also among the fastest-growing in Europe, as an increasing flow of people from northern France and the north of Europe relocating to the sunbelt of Europe, in which Languedoc is located. Growth is particularly strong in the metropolitan areas of
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
and
Montpellier Montpellier (, , ; oc, Montpelhièr ) is a city in southern France near the Mediterranean Sea. One of the largest urban centres in the region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania, Montpellier is the prefecture of the Departments of ...
, which are the two fastest growing metropolitan areas in Europe at the moment. However, the interior of Languedoc is still losing inhabitants, which increases the difference of density that was mentioned. Population of the coast of Languedoc as well as the region of Toulouse is rather young, educated, and affluent, whereas in the interior the population tends to be much older, with significantly lower incomes, and with a lower percentage of high school and especially college graduates.


Economy


Agriculture

Languedoc is a significant producer of wine. Today it produces more than a third of the
grape A grape is a fruit, botanically a berry (botany), berry, of the deciduous woody vines of the flowering plant genus ''Vitis''. Grapes are a non-Climacteric (botany), climacteric type of fruit, generally occurring in clusters. The cultivation of ...
s in France, and is a focus for outside investors. Wines from the Mediterranean coast of Languedoc are labeled as Languedoc, those from the interior have other labels such as Fronton,
Gaillac Gaillac (; ) is a Communes of France, commune in the Tarn (department), Tarn Departments of France, department in southern France. It had in 2013 a population of 14,334 inhabitants. Its inhabitants are called Gaillacois. Geography Gaillac is a ...
, or
Limoux Limoux (; oc, Limós ) is a Communes of France, commune and Subprefectures in France, subprefecture in the Aude Departments of France, department, a part of the ancient Languedoc provinces of France, province and the present-day Occitania (ad ...
to the west – and Côtes du Rhône towards the east. Other crops include
wheat Wheat is a Poaceae, grass widely Agriculture, cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain that is a worldwide staple food. The Taxonomy of wheat, many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum'' ; the most widely grown is common wheat ...
(the traditional crop which made the fortune of the landlords and parliamentarians based in
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
, and for whose trade the famous
Canal du Midi The Canal du Midi (; ) is a long canal in Southern France (french: le Midi). Originally named the ''Canal royal en Languedoc'' (Royal Canal in Languedoc) and renamed by French Revolution, French revolutionaries to ''Canal du Midi'' in 1789, the ...
was built),
maize Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of Mexico, indigenous ...
(the new and nowadays most common crop in the region),
olive The olive, botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning 'European olive' in Latin, is a species of small tree or shrub in the family (biology), family Oleaceae, found traditionally in the Mediterranean Basin. When in shrub form, it is known as '' ...
s (only on the Mediterranean coast of Languedoc), fruit, and rice (in some coastal areas). In the hilly and mountainous areas of the interior, sheep and goats are raised for meat and cheese. The coastal area is, naturally, a source of fish and shellfish.


Industry

Aerospace (
Airbus Airbus SE (; ; ; ) is a European Multinational corporation, multinational aerospace corporation. Airbus designs, manufactures and sells civil and military aerospace manufacturer, aerospace products worldwide and manufactures aircraft througho ...
,
CNES The (CNES; French: ''Centre national d'études spatiales'') is the French government space agency (administratively, a "public administration with industrial and commercial purpose"). Its headquarters are located in central Paris and it is und ...
, etc.), electronics (
Freescale Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. was an American semiconductor A semiconductor is a material which has an electrical resistivity and conductivity, electrical conductivity value falling between that of a electrical conductor, conductor, such a ...
, etc.), and bio-tech industries in
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
; high-tech, electronics, and computer ( IBM) industries in
Montpellier Montpellier (, , ; oc, Montpelhièr ) is a city in southern France near the Mediterranean Sea. One of the largest urban centres in the region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania, Montpellier is the prefecture of the Departments of ...
; pharmaceutical industry ( Pierre Fabre Group) in Castres. There is also a significant chemical sector in
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
, which has been quite battered since the terrible explosion of AZF on 21 September 2001. It has been decided that chemical industries would be moved out of
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
, and a large campus devoted to
cancer research Cancer research is research into cancer to identify causes and develop strategies for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. Cancer research ranges from epidemiology, molecular bioscience to the performance of clinical trials to evaluate and ...
and bio-tech R&D will be opened on the site. Elsewhere in the region industries are small and in decline, in particular around the formerly mining areas of Alès and Carmaux in the interior of the region.


Services and tourism

Services are the largest sector of the economy in the region. In particular, government services employ a significant part of the workforce, especially in small towns. Key administrations have been relocated to the region, such as France's National Meteorology Office (
Météo-France Météo-France is the French national meteorological Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences (which include atmospheric chemistry and physics) with a major focus on weather forecasting Weather forecasting is the applicati ...
) relocated from Paris to
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
in 1982. The area is also a major tourist destination. There exists three types of tourism. First, a massive summer tourism industry on the coast, with huge sea resorts such as
Cap d'Agde Cap d'Agde () is a seaside resort on France's Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean coast. It is located in the Communes of France, commune of Agde, in the Hérault Departments of France, department within the region of Occitania (administrative reg ...
, Palavas-les-Flots, or Le Grau-du-Roi, built in the 1970s. Tourism related to history and art is also strong, as the region contains the historic cities of
Carcassonne Carcassonne (, also , , ; ; la, Carcaso) is a French fortified city in the department of Aude, in the region of Occitanie. It is the prefecture of the department. Inhabited since the Neolithic, Carcassonne is located in the plain of th ...
, Toulouse,
Montpellier Montpellier (, , ; oc, Montpelhièr ) is a city in southern France near the Mediterranean Sea. One of the largest urban centres in the region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania, Montpellier is the prefecture of the Departments of ...
, countless Roman monuments (such as the Roman arenas in Nîmes), medieval abbeys, Romanesque churches, and old castles (such as the ruined Cathar castles in the mountains of Corbières, testimony of the bloody
Albigensian Crusade The Albigensian Crusade or the Cathar Crusade (; 1209–1229) was a military and ideological campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc, southern France. The Crusade was prosecuted primarily by the French crown ...
). More recently, "green" and sports tourism is on the rise, with the gorges of the Tarn, the Ardèche Gorges, as well as the vast preserved expanses of Cévennes, Ardèche, Lauragais, and other sites. Tourism on the
Canal du Midi The Canal du Midi (; ) is a long canal in Southern France (french: le Midi). Originally named the ''Canal royal en Languedoc'' (Royal Canal in Languedoc) and renamed by French Revolution, French revolutionaries to ''Canal du Midi'' in 1789, the ...
combines history (for example viewing the nine locks of Fonseranes near
Béziers Béziers (; oc, Besièrs) is a subprefecture A subprefecture is an administrative division of a country that is below prefecture or province. Albania There are twelve Counties of Albania, Albanian counties or prefectures, each of which is d ...
) with activities such as boating on the Canal, and walking or cycling on the towpaths. Toulouse and Montpellier are also common places for business congresses and conventions. In April 2019, The
Guardian Guardian usually refers to: * Legal guardian, a person with the authority and duty to care for the interests of another * ''The Guardian'', a British daily newspaper (The) Guardian(s) may also refer to: Places * Guardian, West Virginia, Unite ...
's travel section included two Languedoc locations in its list of ''20 of the most beautiful villages in France''. The two were Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert with "one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in the region" and Estaing, whose "narrow streets have hardly changed over the centuries".


Sports

Rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated at Rugby School in the first half of the 19th century. One of the Comparison of rugby league and rugby union, two codes of ru ...
is the "national" sport in Languedoc, unlike most other parts of France where
football Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, Kick (football), kicking a Football (ball), ball to score a Goal (sport), goal. Unqualified, Football (word), the word ''football'' normally means the form of football tha ...
is more popular. The
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitania (administrative region), Occitania. The city is on t ...
rugby club (
Stade Toulousain Stade Toulousain () ( oc, Estadi Tolosenc), also referred to as Toulouse, is a professional rugby union club based in Toulouse, France. They compete in the Top 14, France's top division of rugby, and the European Rugby Champions Cup. Toulous ...
) is one of the most successful in Europe; it regularly competes for the French championship and has won four European titles (1996, 2003, 2005, and 2010) in the ten years of the European championship's existence.
Bullfighting Bullfighting is a physical contest that involves a bullfighter attempting to subdue, immobilize, or kill a bull, usually according to a set of rules, guidelines, or cultural expectations. There are several variations, including some forms wh ...
and other bull-related events are popular in the eastern part of Languedoc. Sea jousts (''Joutes nautiques'') are held on the coast. Dating from the 11th century, this sport has local leagues and attracts large crowds.


Property

Property in the Languedoc is quite varied and ranges from newly built villas with swimming pools and tennis courts, to old village houses set into the old ramparts of ancient fortified towns. Some of these village houses date back a very long time. A small house in the village of Magalas, Hérault ', has a date of the 13th century carved into its stonework. Being a large area, the type of property available in Languedoc varies a lot, from apartments in beach resorts such as
Cap D'Agde Cap d'Agde () is a seaside resort on France's Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean coast. It is located in the Communes of France, commune of Agde, in the Hérault Departments of France, department within the region of Occitania (administrative reg ...
to isolated bastides in the rural interior.


See also

*
French wine French wine is produced all throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France is one of the largest wine producers in the world, along with Italian wine, Italian, Spanis ...
* Languedoc wine *
Languedoc-Roussillon Languedoc-Roussillon (; oc, Lengadòc-Rosselhon ; ca, Llenguadoc-Rosselló) is a former regions of France, administrative region of France. On 1 January 2016, it joined with the region of Midi-Pyrénées to become Occitania (administrative re ...
* Midi-Pyrénées *
Occitania Occitania ( oc, Occitània , , or ) is the historical region in Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe where the Occitan language, Occitan language was historically spoken and where it is sometimes still used as a second language. This ...
* Septimania timeline * List of Governors of Languedoc * Émile Mazuc, scholar of the Languedocien language


Notes


External links


Languedoc-Roussillon Tourist Board
Official Tourism Website for the Region
The Canal du Midi at Béziers
Official Béziers Website
The Languedoc-Roussillon
Official Site of the Région.
The Hérault tourist board website
Department of Hérault in Languedoc Région. All informations to discover Hérault and to book your holidays in Languedoc. Free brochures and lodging.

including regional overview and main tourist attractions.
Atlas historique de la province de Languedoc, de l'époque romaine à nos jours
by Élie Pélaquier, CNRS.
The Languedoc and Roussillon
history, geography, climate, cities, towns and historic monuments. {{Authority control Former provinces of France Wine regions of France