The Languedoc is a hidden jewel of Europe, and the most discriminating tourists are delighted to discover it. The area has many of the same traits that endear people to next-door neighbor Provence: a warm coastline, outdoor markets, picturesque hillside villages, gourmet dining and vineyards dotting the landscape. Yet Provence is the one with the reputation that causes tourists to flock there, its popularity thanks in large part to books like A Year In Provence, by Peter Mayle. Make no mistake. The Languedoc-Roussillon is as enchanting, if not more so, than its trendier neighbor. Perhaps it's a crisp, dewy morning that reminds you of a dawn stroll to a bakery. Maybe you catch a whiff of some intangible, indescribable smell reminiscent of a mountaintop in the Languedoc. It could even be a dream in which you were there and wake with a longing to return. The Languedoc has a certain immeasurable quality to it. Fond memories cling to you well after you return home. The Languedoc can suit almost any traveler's tastes. It is not densely populated, and there are many wonderful rural outposts for anyone desiring a retreat from the bustle of the big city. Those who prefer to be in the thick of things, however, have the option of visiting the region's larger cities, such as Carcassonne, Montpellier and Perpignan. There are beaches, mountains, valleys and the Canal du Midi. There are medieval villages, ancient Roman ruins, Cathar strongholds and stately cathedrals. Any visit must feature a sampling of the local cuisine, which is delectable. The ancient village of Carcassonne has much to commend it. The best feature is La Cité, the old fortified city that is entirely surrounded by ramparts. Inside, there are museums, cafés and souvenir shops selling medieval tapestries and Cathar figurines. Montpellier, in the Herault, is the capital of the Languedoc. It is home to a 13th-century medical school and museums devoted to this subject. The streets are lined with upscale shops, and the city features ancient Roman aqueducts and arches. Nîmes, in the Gard, is a wonderful destination for those interested in ancient Rome. A restored Roman arena hosts bullfights today, and a former temple is now a museum. This charming city is filled with squares, fountains, statues, bustling markets and bold gardens. There is much, much more and this guide gives you all the details on what to see, what to do, the amazing history, where to stay, where to eat and how to make your trip unforgettable. Hundreds of color photos are included.