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Tour the secret gems of the ‘real’ south of France

Colourful wooden boats in the harbour of Collioure, Occitanie

Maybe you’ve visited the Languedoc region before. Or maybe you’d like to visit more of the off the beaten track parts of the Languedoc in southern France. ‘Real’ South of France Tours “More Secrets” tour takes you deep into the heart of Occitainie. To its most beautiful seaside towns, enchanting villages and superlative vineyards. Visit captivating castles and caves, marvellous monuments and historic places that most visitors are unlikely to find without local knowledge. You’ll also be spoiled with the most fabulous gastronomy and wines. And a gorgeous chambre d’hôtes will be your home while you discover the authentic glory of what many call the ‘real’ south of France…

Discover the secrets of Occitanie

You’ll discover Collioure, one of the best kept secrets of coastal France. Its exquisite charm and beauty has long attracted artists – from Matisse to Picasso. Here, the light bounces off the walls and every hour of the day offers a new dazzling display. From the quays lapped by the turquoise Mediterranean sea to the top of the Citadel designed by Vauban, Louis XIV’s military engineer, and the streets of colourful houses,  this is one of the most enchanting seaside towns in France.

You’ll also visit beautiful Marseillan, home to the famous Noilly Prat Vermouth. Nothing like the similar sounding Marseille, this is a peaceful pretty port town that feels as if time has stood still. Nearby, the Étang de Thau is a string of lagoons and a protected eco-system, famous for the oysters that flourish in the salty water.

Mirepoix will cast its spell on you with its enchanting beauty. This small architectural jewel is brimming with pretty half-timbered houses. You’ll also visit Saint-Chinian on market day and stroll the cobbled streets of Elne, the ancient capital of Roussillon. And the riverside village of Roquebrun will really wow you.

The majestic and monumental 17th century Château de Pennautier near Carcassonne will take your breath away. Its pale beauty and gorgeous gardens were designed by Louis XIV’s favourite gardener Andre le Notre. Plus, you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch in the chateau restaurant. The 15th century Fortress de Salses is also vast, but in a completely different style. It’s imposing presence marks the ancient border between France and Spain. And dive back further in time at the Cabrespine Cavern, the oldest cave open to the public in France and whose roof is higher than the Eiffel Tower.

Fabulous Food and Wine

With 260,000 hectares, including 36% of all organic plots of French vineyards, and combining 87 appellations – the vine shapes the nature of Occitanie. The sun-drenched Languedoc is the biggest wine producing region in the world and offers an incredible variety of flavours. Languedoc’s first cru was created around the hilltop village of La Livinière. It’s from here that the cru takes its name and it’s where vines were first cultivated by the Romans. You’ll enjoy a private vineyard tour and delicious tasting in the Minvervois where families from many generations grow a great variety of wines that are hardly known outside the area. The locals say they are so good, they keep them to themselves!

And you’ll visit the beautiful Abbey of St Hilaire. It was here that the monks produced the world’s first recorded sparkling wine in 1531. And, of course you’ll enjoy a tasting of the effervescent fizz. Plus you’ll enjoy a wine tasting evening with a wine expert who will teach you the secrets of the Languedoc wines.

Devil's Bridge, Olargues one of the secrets of the real south of France

Relax and enjoy the tour

All meals provided on the week-long tour include local wines. Restaurants have been hand-picked for their authentic menus and delicious dishes. They include restaurants the locals love and a renowned Michelin rated restaurant overlooking the Pond du Diable in the village of Olargues, officially one of the prettiest villages in France.

You’ll stay in an award-winning chambre d’hôtes ranked among the top 25 B&Bs in France. And you’ll be transported everywhere in comfort. No rushing about. No being herded from coach to coach. Everything is taken care of by your hosts Kay and Mark. All you have to do is relax and enjoy the stunning beauty revealed in this More Secrets of Languedoc tour II.

Find out more about ‘Real’ South of France’s Languedoc II More Secrets Tour

And if you’ve not visited the area before, we recommend the ‘Real’ South of France’s Languedoc 1 Best Kept Secrets Tour.

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