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72Regional Information - France72thomsonalfresco.co.ukPlaces Of Interest & Things To SeeCap d'AgdeIs a modern lively resort which has some excellentbeaches. There are a number of impressive museumsto visit, one example is 'Musée de I'Ephèbe', whichdisplays antiquities discovered locally, many of themfrom beneath the sea.SèteHome to France's largest Mediterranean fishing port,this quaint fishing village is renowned for itssalt lakeand seafood specialities, many of which are servedinthe quayside restaurants. The houses in SèteareItalianate in style with wrought iron balconiesoverlooking a network of canals and bridges. From theharbour you can climb to the Cimetière marin - thesailors cemetery where the poet Paul Valéry is buried.There is also the 'Musée Paul Valéry' which has aroom devoted to him, plusa collection of modernFrench paintings. Don'tforget to visit the 'Vauban'sFort St-Pierre' Sète's very own open-air theatre.Argelès-sur-MerHere you will find enormous sandy beaches, a palm-fringed promenade and a fine view of the Albèresmountains.PerpignanThe capital of Roussillon and home of the FrenchCatalan people. The city is rich in museums, andCatalan is still spoken in the Old Quarter. Here youwill find palm-lined promenades, vibrant paintedhouses of turquoise and pink and a preservationoffolklore and tradition. There area number ofhistoric sites to view, there is the imposing 'PalaisdesRois de Majorque', built in the 13thcentury or'Le Castillet' in the centre of the town. Don't missthecathedral, medieval town gate or ChâteaudeQuéribus.The CamargueThis area in the Rhône delta is half land, half marshand is home to a wide range of wildlife. Including thearea's famous white horses, flamingos, vultures, turtlesand small black bulls. In the Parc Naturel Régional dela Camargue the bird life is unique in Europe. It is theonly place in Europe where flamingos flock and nest.CarcassonneThis fairy tale ancient walled city, with its towers,dungeons, moats and drawbridges is one of themostimpressive examples of medieval France. Withtwo miles of ramparts and fantastic views over thesurrounding area it is one of the greatest sights ofEurope. Inside the city lies the basilica of St-Nazaire,amedieval castle and narrow streets lined with shopsand cafés. This medieval city has excellent sound andlight displays throughout the summer.BéziersThis is the wine producing capital of Languedoc,famous for wine, rugby, bull fights, its antiquemarkets and its 13th century St Nazaire cathedralwhich stands at the foot of the Minervois hillsoverlooking the River Orb. There are many things tosee from the 17th century town houses, theatre, theEnglish style garden, 'le Plateau des Poètes', createdin 1865, the bullring, the 12th-13th century Basilicaof Saint Aphrodise, 19th century market halls,theMuseum of Fine Arts and Biterrois Museumoflocal history. MontpellierIt's one of the liveliest cities in the south of France,with a buzzing atmosphere and many street cafésandbars. The 'Place de la Comédie' with its livelycafés surrounding a fountain, is the centre of activity.However, there are many other plaves worth a visitsuch as the 'Opéra' - an ornate 19th century theatre,the Gothic cathedral and the 'Musée Fabre', which hasa display of 17th to 19th century, French, Spanish,Italian, Dutch, Flemish and English paintings includingworks by Raphael. Just to the north is 'Jardin desPlantes' one of France's oldest botanical gardens.CollioureThis picturesque old fishing port near the Spanishborder was put on the map by Picasso. It nestlesinside a deep bay and with its apricot houses, orangetiled roofs and striking vermilion cliffs it stillattractsmany artists today. Behind the harbour you will findthe old quarter of Mouré which is a shoppers paradisewith narrow streets bursting with craft shops.Fun For All The FamilyAqualand Waterpark Based at Cap d'Agde this is an American stylewaterpark which has many exciting slides, pools andaraft river with rapids.Canal du MidiHere you could take a half day cruise along thispoplar-lined canal running from Toulouse toMarseilles. The canal is on the UNESCO WorldHeritage listGorges de LavalThis is great for walking, you can walk around thegorge in the Pyrénéen foothills, and could swim inoneof the rock pools around Soréde.DinosauriaGreat for the younger children, Dinosauria is athemepark near Perpignan.Here you can see bones and dinosaur eggs whichwere found more than 65 million years ago.The Laboratoire Arago Aquarium - inBanyuls-sur-MerIt is one of the oldest in France and exhibits somerare fish donated by local fishermen.Beaches to visit:. Sète. Cap-d'Agde. Valras. Vias. St Cyprien. ArgelèsThings To Do. Windsurfing - With its fantastic beaches andMediterranean water, it is a perfect locationforwindsurfing.Local SpecialitiesMost of Languedoc's cuisine is rich and stronglyseasoned.. Thick Sausages. Bouillinade - a creamy fish stew.. Langouste à la sètoise - a spicy lobster dish.. Boles de Picolat -small balls of chopped up beefand pork, garlic and eggs served with tomatoesandparsley . Aïgo Bouido - Garlic Soup.. Cargolade - Snails stewed in wine.Languedoc

7373thomsonalfresco.co.ukRegional Information - FrancePlaces Of Interest & Things To SeeMarais PoitevinMarais Poitevin is known as 'Venise Verte' or 'GreenVenice'. This area was originally covered by the sea, butas the water retreated the land reclaimed the area.Now Marais Poitevin is a national park with a networkof canals through 40,000 hectares of marshlands. It isa marvellous wetland, and for those of you interestedin nature, there are rich andvaried birdlife. To reachthe heart of the Marais Poitevin you can take a trip ona punt or rowing boat. You can even hire flat bottomedboats to explore the canal close up.MaillezaisThe majestic ruins of Abbaye de St Pierre dominatethe island. The abbey was built in the11th centuryand was added to in 14th and 16th centuries.St Jean de MontsSt Jean de Monts is a modern seaside resort withagreat beach. If you like shopping, then visit onaSaturday, when it has a lively market in the townsquare where you can buy local produce. There arealso museums of local life, and at night you could visitthe casino or fairground. Château de Coudray-SalbartOverlooking the valley of the Sévre Niortaise standingon a rocky cliff are the ruins of the château. This wasbuilt by the lords of Parthenay inthe 13th century.One of the towers 'the double tower' has walls over6m thick!Les Sables d'OlonneThis seaside resort is renowned for its excellent sandybeach which is over a kilometre long and itsthrivingsardine fishing industry. The resort has many things tosee from it's extensive harbour, marina, golf course,zoo and fort to a local history museum, and when youare worn out from all these there are plenty of shops,boutiques and restaurants nearby.La RochelleLa Rochelle was one of the great trading ports fromthe 14th to 17th century, and twin towers still guardthe narrow harbour entrance. The whole town issteeped in history with cobbled streets, beautiful parksand stylish shops. One of the focal points isthe line ofcafés and restaurants which line the old port. Why notvisit the 'Porte de la Grosse Horloge' (Clock gate),orthe the 'Musée duNouveau Monde' (Museumofthe New World) displaying a large collection ofmaterial on early French exploration and settlementofthe Americas.Île de NoirmoutierThe island is approximately 20km long and featuresbeautiful sandy beaches. It is connected to the mainland at low tide via the Gois causeway, or from themainland bridge at Fromentine (a3mile bridge). Theisland is home to the ruins ofa 7th century monasteryfounded by St Philbert, a château and for the childrenthere is the 'Océanile Waterpark'.Île de RéIle de Ré island is 30km long and has its ownmicroclimate. Known locally as the 'white island bathedin light'. Some say it is named this due tothe 'ratis'the fern which it was covered in in prehistoric times. Itis best known for its oysters, sandy beaches, prettyvillages, wild birds and white washed cottages.St Gilles Croix de VieThis is a very modern resort with a busy fishing port.Home to a great beach, there are lots of sportingactivities and the resort provides a great choice ofrestaurants and cafes to enjoy the local cuisine. Fun For All The FamilyLe Puy-du-FouLe Puy-du-Fou is both a historical and ecological park,with 30 hectares of countryside where you can stroll bymeadows and through woods. You can enjoy a 'livingmedieval village', displays of falconry, jousting and stuntriding near the château and you can even see someViking and Roman battles in theamphitheatre. Thisruined Renaissance château forms the perfect settingfor spectacular son et lumiére (sound & light)performances during the summer involving over700participants!Lake ApremontA little way inland you will find a beautiful lake 'LakeApremont' with a famous château. A great place tovisit with the children, where you can see the freshwater lake, visit the castle ruins, or try your hand atwindsurfing and sailing at the large reservoir.Océanile WaterparkLocated at Île de Noirmoutier, this water park makesagreat day out for the children with its shipwreckthemed attractions and an indoor pool.Les Sables d'Olonne ZooThis is an excellent zoo, which makes a great day out.It is home to many animals and endangered specieswhich are all housed in a natural habitat.Motor MuseumLocated at Talmont St Hilaire, there are 150 differentvehicles in working order on display. Motorcars, horse-drawn vehicles, cycles and motorcycles. The collectionbegins in 1885 and ends with the 1960's.Beaches to visit: . Île de Noirmoutier. Île de Ré. Les Sables d'Olonne - (over 2km of fine beach). La TrancheBlue Flag beaches:. St-Jean-de-Monts. St-Hilaire-de-RiezThings To DoLes Sables d'OlonneIf you like to be active then you will enjoy it at LesSables d'Olonne. There are numerous well markedtracks which make the surroundings a paradise forhikers and cyclists.Local Specialities. Mouclade - Mussels cooked in wine, egg yolks andcream and served with Pineau des Charentes.. Seafood of all varieties.. Fluffy loaves of brioche - a sweet bread made withadash of rum or orange flavoured water.. Fricassee of eels. Sauce aux lumas - snails in red wine. Fiefs vendéens and Mareuil wine.Vendée