The history-rich region of Languedoc-Roussillon contains some of the most fascinating terrain in all of France. This region has not only world-class tourist meccas, including the walled city of Carcassonne, but also the venerable university city of Montpellier, the capital of Languedoc, and the Roman city of Nîmes, with one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. Moving with a certain speed, you can take in the chief glories of these provinces in a week. As the distances between the major towns isn't especially great and the superhighways are spread out around the region, you can spend more time in some towns and cut out some of the others.
Day 1: Carcassonne
Carcassonne is a picture postcard of the Middle Ages and one of France's most-visited cities. After checking into a hotel, explore the walled city and visit the Basilique St-Nazaire and Château Comtal. In the late afternoon, head down to the Canal du Midi and perhaps take a boat trip. You can also rent bicycles if you're in the mood for some gentle exercise along the canal towpath. Overnight in Carcassonne.
Day 2: Collioure & the Côte Vermeille
In a rented car from Carcassonne on day 2, head 156km (97 miles) to the charming Côte Vermeille village of Collioure. (You can either take this longer scenic route through the gorges and picturesque villages of the Corbières highlands, or take the A16 and the A9 straight to Collioure. This highway route will save you about 90 minutes but it will mean backtracking later.) Once you reach Collioure, check into your hotel and stroll around the narrow cobbled streets before having a swim in one of its pretty beaches tucked within the rocky cliffs. Overnight in Collioure.
Day 3: Narbonne via Perpignan
On day 3, drive 30km (19 miles) north to Perpignan, the lively capital of French Catalonia. Walk around its historic core and visit Castillet/Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires Catalans. Either stop for lunch here in one of the busy squares or eat once you've driven the 64km (40 miles) to Narbonne. After checking into your hotel in Narbonne, stroll around the old town and along the Canal de la Robine. Visit its major monument, Cathédrale St-Just, and the museums within the Palais des Archevêques. Overnight in Narbonne.
Day 4: Montpellier
On day 4, take the A9 east for 93km (58 miles) to the vibrant university city of Montpellier, the capital of Languedoc. You will use this as a base for the next 2 days to explore some of the neighboring towns. Check into a hotel before strolling through the place de la Comédie towards the Musée Fabre, one of France's greatest provincial art galleries. Allow time for a long stroll along the 17th-century promenade du Peyrou, one of the great terraced parks of southwest France, as well as the Jardin des Plantes. While walking through Montpellier's historic center, you might have spotted where you want to have dinner and popped in to make a reservation. Overnight in Montpellier.
Day 5: St-Guilhem-le-Désert & Sète
On day 5, you can decide how busy a day you want to have. You can explore more of Montpellier at leisure or perhaps visit one of its beaches, which are a short bus ride away. If you feel like venturing out of the city, you can drive 47km (29 miles) to the enchanting hilltop village of St-Guilhem-le-Désert to visit its 9th-century abbey, or you can drive 74km (46 miles) to the bustling port town of Sète, whose quays are lined with dozens of restaurants serving the freshest seafood. On the way back to Montpellier, you can stop at the Etang de Thau village of Bouzigues for some of the best oysters in France. Overnight in Montpellier.
Day 6: Nîmes
On day 6, from Montpellier drive 52km (32miles) northeast to the ancient city of Nîmes, where you can check into a hotel for the night. Set out for a busy day of sightseeing, heading first for Maison Carrée, one of the world's greatest Roman temples, and then visiting the Amphithéâtre Romain.
In the afternoon, visit the Carré d'Art/Musée d'Art Contemporain, then head to the beautiful gardens at Jardin de la Fontaine to take in views of Nîmes' Roman ruins. Try also to visit the city's largest museum, Musée des Beaux-Arts, with its mammoth collection of French painting and sculpture from the 17th century to modern times.
Day 7: Uzès & Pont du Gard
On your final day, day 7, drive 24km (15 miles) north from Nîmes to the beautiful medieval town of Uzès. If you've timed your week right, you might have turned up during its fabulous Saturday morning market. (If you did and you have a car, be prepared for parking difficulties.) Whatever day of the week, it's a delight to wander through the narrow streets of the old town, stopping for a lunch at the one of the restaurants in the place aux Herbes, one of the most splendid squares in France.
In the afternoon, drive 16km (10 miles) to the one of the greatest feats of Roman engineering, the Pont du Gard. Most of it has been reconstructed, but its three levels of stone arches are a wonder to behold. You can have a picnic here with food bought from the Uzès market, or go for a swim in the Gardon River. Once you return to Uzès, it's not far from the large transport hubs of Nîmes and Avignon.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.