From the Pic du Midi to Mont Aigoual, from the cirque de Gavarnie to Margeride and Aubrac, protected wide open spaces are the common denominator of the region, jealous of its treasures.

The Pyrenees, Grands Causses, Haut-Languedoc, Causses du Quercy, Ariège Pyrenees, Catalan Pyrenees, Narbonnaise, Cevennes, Margeride, Aubrac, Gévaudan… over the vast territories of nature parks and over the great regional sites like the Canigou or the cirque de Gavarnie everything is a reason to be amazed at the genius of nature and to be moved. We are summoned before the dazzling beauty of the elements facing the treasures of history.  The unexpected is everywhere through landscapes with atmospheres and odours of a thousandfold subtleties to which there is more than one emotional response so numerous are the sources of delight in these great spaces to be explored.

A fine combination of sky and land, of sea and mountain

From the Pyrenees to the Cevennes, nature XXL

The region harbours numerous zones remarkable for their natural, cultural and human wealth. So as to value them and preserve them several of them have been classified. So it is that we can itemize over the thirteen departments of Occitanie, Pyrénées Méditerranée 2 national parks, 6 regional nature parks and 1 marine nature park. The Parc National des Pyrénées protects on the frontier crest with Spain territories of an altitude culminating at 3,298 metres above sea level. The Parc National des Cévennes between Gard and Lozère, also classified as a biosphere reserve, harbours a contrastive mosaic of landscapes and natural environments.

The Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Ariégeoises is rich in a string of magnificent lakes and a historic and prestigious prehistoric heritage. The Parc Naturel Régional des Causses du Quercy combines verdant valleys, limestone plateaux and cliffs. The Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Catalanes is a haven for old glaciated valleys and warm water natural springs. The Parc Naturel Régional de la Narbonnaise harbours altogether marshes, lagoons, scrubland and exceptional vineyards. The mountains and their moors of heather, the dark forests of the Black Mountain are the prerogative of the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut Languedoc. The Parc Naturel Régional des Grands Causses is the setting that contains the gorges of the Jonte, of the canyon of La Dourbie and the narrow steep-sided passes of the Tarn. Adventure is everywhere and even under the water with the Parc Naturel Marin du Golfe du Lion.

Causses and Cevennes, landscapes of character 

This vast territory which is divided between four departments, Lozère, Aveyron, Hérault and Gard is the result of a close relationship between man and nature. The Causses and the Cévennes have grandiose landscapes associated with them and a cultural tradition henceforth recognized by Unesco. Mont Lozère and Mont Aigoual impose their tormented contours. The causses, huge limestone plateaux bristling with rocky chaos, covered with lawns and moors are gouged out with gorges making for turbulent journeys… The valleys of the Cévennes align their terraces with low dry stone walls planted with chestnut trees, vines, mulberry trees and sweet onions. These landscapes are the ever-lively expression of the Mediterranean agro-herding which has fashioned them from ancient times.

On the Causses the ewe comes first with the addition, on high ground, of cattle rearing when goats populate the Cévennes valleys. The Causses and the Cévennes include exceptional natural sites like the Gorges du Tarn and the Gorges de la Jonte, those too of Hérault, the Cirque of Navacelles. Isolated farms, houses grouped into small hamlets, but also thedrailles– transhumant trails – contribute to the charm of the Causses landscape. Certain transhumant trails use old Roman roads while others have been transformed into footpaths, perfect for a day out from the plains to the high plateaux. The gorges themselves are there for canoeing. Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Templar and Hospitaller citadels in Larzac further enrich this exceptional heritage.

Parc naturel marin du Golfe du Lion

Off the coast of the Pyrénées-Orientales and the Aude, the Parc naturel marin du Golfe du Lion is the third biggest French marine nature park.

It follows the coast from Leucate to Cerbère and includes in its perimeter the marine nature reserve of Cerbère-Banyuls, an underwater paradise possessed of remarkable biodiversity. With a total area of 650 hectares of sea, from the port exit of Banyuls-sur-Mer to Cap Peyrefite close to Cerbère, the reserve contains more than 12,000 animal species and 500 vegetable species.

Diving is regulated but the underwater path as well as the diving centres that subscribe to the reserve’s charter grant access to marine depths, coral formations, herbaria of posodonia crossed by groupers, skates, moray eels, while a few big dolphins sometimes venture into the open sea..