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Languedoc

Languedoc is part of Languedoc-Roussillon, a région of France. Languedoc covers an area of 17,000 km² in the south of France, roughly the region between the Rhône and the Aude, extending northwards to the Cévennes[?] and the Massif Central[?]. It contains the départements Gard, Hérault, and Lozere.

The area has only a few major settlements and supports a population of around 1.6 million. The regional capital is Montpellier; other cities include Nîmes, Narbonne and Béziers[?]. Languedoc is a significant producer of wine, historically of indifferent quality, and a major contributor to the surplus known as the "wine lake[?]". Today it produces more than a third of the grapes in France, and is undergoing something of a renaissance due to an increased focus on quality and outside investment. Other crops include olives, fruit and rice. In hilly areas sheep and goat are raised for meat and cheese. The coastal area is, naturally, a source of fish and shellfish. The area is a popular tourist destination.

The Mediterranean coast of Languedoc has been settled by the Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans, and invaded by the Alamanni, Vandals, Visigoths, and Saracens. Some parts of this area have been part of the dominions of the kings of Aragon and the kings of Majorca; it did not come under French control until the 16th century.

The modern administrative region Languedoc-Roussillon only includes part of historical Languedoc. Historically, the name Languedoc referred to the region roughly located between Gascogne and Provence. Its main city used to be Toulouse (now in région Midi-Pyrénées) .

The name Languedoc derives from Occitan (French: langue d'oc), the Romance language spoken in the region before French became the general usage language.

In the late Middle Ages, Languedoc was the center of the Cathar religious movement. The Roman Catholic Church declared them heretics, and the Albigensian Crusade wiped them out.



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