London’s Sud de France Festival

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Roman Amphitheatre Nimes © Frederic de Poligny

Down on London’s South Bank tomorrow, you’ll find the Sud de France Festival – or at least the only UK offering of this celebration of Languedoc-Roussillon.

The free festival is an opportunity for the French region to showcase its food and wines as well as to tell us why we should spend our holidays there in the future. This region is in south east France and reaches from the Pyrenees and Spain to the Mediterranean near the Riviera. It is the largest wine producing area in the world and has some of the biggest visitor attractions in France such as the walled town of Carcassone, the Roman amphitheatre in Nîmes and the nearby aqueduct of Pont du Gard as well as Villeneuve-les-Avignon where mediaeval popes lived for a while.

Beginning at midday and ending with a concert at dusk, you’ll find stands along the Riverside Walkway which will tempt any palate. After all this is the home of cassoulet and roquefort cheese. As you sup some local wine and eat a wedge of cheese you can watch a game of pétanque or watch sand sculptors create some of the best known architectural sites for the region. Yes, that means that Languedoc-Roussillon has buit a beach for the purpose.

Perhaps the person who has introduced the region to Britis readers is the novelist, Kate Mosse, with her Languedoc trilogy of novels (Labryrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel) and she will be there from 4.30 signing copies of her books and, no doubt, chatting about the place where her novels are set, Carcassone.

The weather looks fair for Saturday so what pleasanter way to spend a day than eating, drinking and dreaming of lands not too far away.

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