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As big as Ireland or Austria, the Occitanie region has nothing to envy to the vast expanses of Connemara or the summits of the Eastern Alps. At the time of sustainable tourism, where our travels are going green and where our travels are decarbonizing, our 100% Occitan team Flockeo helps you prepare your future sustainable escapade in Occitania.

Occitania is the sea, the mountains, the city and the countryside… nothing else! Whether you prefer the hills of the Tarn, the peaks of the Pyrenees, Toulouse the bustling pink city or the fine sand of the Gulf of Lion. There is something for everyone.

Indeed, this diversity makes Occitania the perfect playground for sustainable tourism! Discover in this article our favorites to discover the region differently… tested and approved!

Breathtaking hikes at the end of the railroad

Who said that access to the outdoors was difficult without a car? There are many hikes accessible thanks to the Lio trains and bus, the regional transport of Occitania.

Discover these trails on the application of the French Federation of hiking in Occitania.

The advantage of travelling by regional train (TER)?

  • A low CO2 emission compared to other means of transport with thermal technology. According to ADEME, the consumption of a TER is only 0.025 kg CO2e compared to 0.19 kg CO2e per kilometer traveled by car. The TER is therefore 50 times less polluting than the car and 80 times less polluting than the plane! Moreover, the journey is already a journey where you can discover a sequence of landscapes in all tranquility.
Calculette C02 Flockeo Tourisme durable
Calculette C02 Flockeo Tourisme durable

So, if you want to test your own consumption and compare means of transportation, feel free to use the C02 calculator Flockeo. 

Port la Nouvelle – La Combe Redonde in the Aude
Port la Nouvelle en Occitanie
(Port la Nouvelle ©Canva)

Between the gentle hills of the Corbières and the beauty of the pink flamingos in the heart of the ponds, the area around Port-la-Nouvelle is fascinating. The TER to Port-La-Nouvelle from Toulouse is a journey in itself.

Follow the yellow markers and walk or bike the 7.5 km from Port la Nouvelle to La Combe Redonde.

Villefranche-de-Rouergue – Le sentier des Sources in Aveyron
Vallée de l'Averyon en Occitanie
(Vallée de l’Aveyron ©Canva)

For this hike, walk along the water and go back to the springs. Leave from Villefranche-de-Rouergue and walk the 13,5 km of this path in the heart of the Aveyron valley, its countryside and its hamlets. Nothing better to discover Occitania differently. All accessible by regional train of course!

Génolhac – La Coste in the Gard
Les Cévennes, idéal pour le tourisme durable en Occitanie
(Les Cévennes ©Canva)

From Génolhac in the Gard, discover this GR at the doors of the Cevennes National Park. On the slopes of the Mont Lozère, this shaded path in the forest lasts about 4 hours. Without great difficulty, it is ideal for families and the less sporty among you! Accessible by TER from the Génolhac train station.

Langogne – le circuit de Langouyrou in Lozère
Langogne, terre durable en Occitanie
(Langogne ©Canva)

Discover the north of Lozere during an excursion on the circuit de Langouyrou. This family walk allows you to discover the meadows and groves on the edge of the forest. It is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. To discover from the station of Langogne.

Olette – The Garrotxes’s door in the Pyrénées Orientales
Les Pyrénées Orientales en Occitanie
(Les Pyrénées orientales ©Canva)

This itinerary, starting from Olette station, gateway to the Garrotxes region, is renowned for its breathtaking panoramas and its biodiversity reserve. Meaning “dry and rocky lands” in Catalan, discover the history of the Garroxes with the medieval vestiges of Evol. Also, you can find yourself at the foot of the great massif of Canigó and visit cool spots like the caves of Canalettes.

Getting around by bike along the greenways

For cycling enthusiasts, the Occitanie region offers nearly 30 greenways ranging from ten kilometers to almost 80 for the most motivated. The greenways are cycle routes developed in a dedicated area, reserved for bikes and pedestrians. près de 30 voies vertes

Our little extra tip: many routes can be taken from the Occitan train stations, think about the intermodality!

The green way of the Canal du Midi
Le canal du midi
(Le canal du midi ©Canva)

The Canal du Midi is nearly 240 kilometers long and stretches from Toulouse to Sète. This Unesco world heritage site allows you to discover the region under the shade of plane trees and history.

The particularity of this greenway is the development on the old towpaths along the canal. Do not miss on your way the octagonal basin of Naurouze, the bridge-canal of Carcassonne, the aqueduct of Argent or the 7 locks of Fonséranes near Béziers

The Lido greenway
Le Lido de Thau
(Lido and étang de Thau ©Canva)

Pedal between Sète and Marseillan along the Lido greenway, between the Mediterranean and the Etang de Thau.

All along your journey, access numerous beaches for a cool interlude… and a little splash!

For the more curious, don’t stop on the way! The Thau lagoon is the perfect playground for water sports enthusiasts: canoeing, paddling, oyster tasting, Roquerols lighthouse where Georges Brassens liked to stay, etc.

The green way Uzès / Pont du Gard / Beaucaire
Le Pont du Gard, Occitanie
(The Pont du Gard ©Canva)

The greenway of the Pont du Gard, it’s 31km and 3h00 of road for the youngest as well as for the oldest. Immerse yourself in the Roman history of the Gard by visiting the Pont du Gard. Visit also the cities of Art and History Uzès and Beaucaire.

Built along an old railroad, this greenway will make you discover the wonders of the Gard between preserved heritage, vineyards and scrubland.

In summer, you can even swim in the Gardon!

Occitania, a diversity of natural parks to preserve for a more sustainable tourism

Parcs Naturels Régionaux d'Occitanie

The 8 regional natural parks of Occitanie @Flockeo

Traveling in slow tourism in Occitania is also taking the time to discover its natural parks.

Indeed, the region has 2 national natural parks (the Cévennes and the Pyrénées) and 8 regional nature parks covering nearly a quarter of the territory (see map above).

To find out what activities are possible in the heart of these parks, don’t hesitate to go directly to their websites. To inspire you, we present our favorite ecotourism activities.

The Causses of Quercy by Bike
causses du quercy
(Causses of Quercy ©Canva)

The causses of Quercy invite you to a cycling itinerary in the heart of the green valleys. To do this, take the Lot loops and discover the geological wonders of the Lot valley around Saint-Cirq-Lapopie. Over a dozen kilometers, discover the “most beautiful village in France” and its locks.

Discover the biodiversity of the Ariège Pyrenees
Pyrénées ariégeoises, tourisme durable en Occitanie
(Pyrénées ariégeoises ©Canva)

A large part of the park’s heritage is concentrated around its forests. Several itineraries, along the groves and clearings, allow you to meet the local biodiversity, outside the most popular hiking trails. For example, in the forest of Sainte-Croix-Volvestre, learn to differentiate the typical tree species and spot the different mushrooms present.

Discover the lagoons, marshes and wetlands of the Narbonnaise en Méditerranée
Vue sur Gruissan en Occitanie pour le tourisme durable
(Vue sur Gruissan ©Canva)

The coastal lagoons commonly called “ponds”, will allow you to discover an astonishing mix of marine and fresh water species. We can mention La Palme, Bages-Sigean, le Doul, l’Ayrolle, Gruissan or Pissevache. Idea for a sustainable activity: let off steam on one of the 3 mountain bike networks of the park. There is something for all tastes and all levels!

The geological discoveries of Aubrac
L'Aubrac, tourisme durable, Massif Central
(Aubrac plateau ©Canva)

Volcanic plateau of the Massif Central, Aubrac extends over nearly 3000 km. It is always possible to spot basalt flows, volcanic minerals, cones of slag or lava lakes. A tip: visit the Aubrac at the end of May to attend the transhumance where the cattle are driven to their summer pastures.

Discover the Tarn gorges by canoë in the Grandes Causses
Les gorges du Tarn, Tourisme durable en Occitanie
(Les gorges du Tarn en canoé ©Canva)

Classified as a UNESCO world heritage site since 2010, The Tarn gorges possible to survey these gorges by canoe. Here, each one advances at his own pace. Several walks are available to you to discover the mineral and aquatic curiosities of the Tarn.

In the heart of the legends of the Pic du Canigou: sacred place of the Catalans in the Catalan Pyrenees
Pic du Canigou, tourisme durable en Occitanie
(The massif of Canigou ©Canva)

Culminating at 2784 meters of altitude, this Pyrenean summit has been cherished for centuries by the Catalan people. Dominating the plain of Roussillon, it is the source of many local legends

In the Middle Ages, this place of deep forests and steep mountains was considered a place of refuge for witches and demonic creatures. According to local folklore, several Wicca convents were even established at that time to take advantage of the energetic benefits of Canigou.

However, this mountain was explored for the first time in 1280 by Peter II of Aragon who, once arrived at the top, would have made a dragon spring from the water by throwing a stone. It is to pay homage to him that every year, on the night of June 23, the Catalans light the fire of Saint John. It is the ideal time to discover the local traditions.

Birdwatching in the Haut Languedoc
Aigle dans le Haut Languedoc Hérault et Tarn Tourisme durable
(It is possible to observe Bonelli’s Eagle in the park ©Canva)

While the sinuous curves of the Massif Central are already taking shape, you can still enjoy the sweetness of the Mediterranean here. Located between the Hérault and the Tarn, this park shelters a singular biodiversity to be preserved absolutely.

Birdwatching friends, amateurs or experts, arm yourself with your best binoculars for this overview. The park has more than 250 species of birds, some of which are particularly endangered, such as Bonelli’s Eagle, the Golden Eagle, the White-tailed Eagle and the Ortholan Bunting. However, be discreet. Stay on the paths and never approach an occupied nest.

Occitanie : a destination made for sustainable tourism

“Traveling in Occitania is not traveling more, it is traveling better”.

Traveling more slowly is an opportunity to take the time to do what our fast-paced lives prevent us from doing.

Indeed, it also means changing the way we look at travel, often seen as the unpleasant part of a vacation. What if we conceived travel as a journey in its own right?

See you soon in Occitanie!

This article was written as part of the release of our podcast Le Vert à Moitié Plein ! with the le Comité Régional du Tourisme et des Loisirs d’Occitanie (CRTL), committed to the development of sustainable tourism. A CRTL is a regional institution whose missions are the observation, the organization of tourism and the promotion of the region at the national and international level.

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