Southern France

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Southern France, based on a split along the 45th parallel. France Midi 45deg Latitude.jpg
Southern France, based on a split along the 45th parallel.

Southern France, also known as the South of France or colloquially in French as le Midi, [1] [2] is a defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Marais Poitevin, [3] Spain, the Mediterranean Sea and Italy. It includes: Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the west, Occitanie in the centre, the southern parts of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in the northeast, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in the southeast, as well as the island of Corsica in the southeast. Monaco and Andorra are sometimes included in definitions of Southern France although they are principalities. [4]

Contents

History

Rock formations in Calanques National Park between Marseille and Cassis, among the oldest in metropolitan France Calanque d"En-vau.jpg
Rock formations in Calanques National Park between Marseille and Cassis, among the oldest in metropolitan France

The area corresponds in large part to Occitania, the territory in which Occitan (French : langue d'oc) – as distinct from the langues d'oïl of Northern France – was historically the dominant language. Though part of Occitania, the regions of Auvergne and Limousin are not normally considered part of the South of France. The biggest cities of Southern France are Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nice and Montpellier. The Pyrenees and French Alps are also located in the area, respectively in its southwestern and eastern parts.

The term Midi derives from mi (middle) and di (day) in Old French, comparable to the term Mezzogiorno from the Southern Italy. The time of midday was synonymous with the direction of south because in France, as in all of the Northern Hemisphere north of the Tropic of Cancer, the sun is in the south at noon. The synonymy existed in Middle French as well, where meridien can refer to both midday and south. The Midi is considered to start at Valence, hence the saying "à Valence le Midi commence".

Tourism

Nice, Alpes-Maritimes is often considered to be Southern France's best known city abroad, although it is not the largest Nizza-overview-4070938-PanoPS.jpg
Nice, Alpes-Maritimes is often considered to be Southern France's best known city abroad, although it is not the largest
Lavender fields are a well known feature of the South of France, mainly located in Provence Champ de lavande,France.jpg
Lavender fields are a well known feature of the South of France, mainly located in Provence
A view of vineyards in Vaucluse, producing Provence wine Terroir Vacqueyras.jpg
A view of vineyards in Vaucluse, producing Provence wine
Traditional landscape of the historical province of Bearn, in the department of Pyrenees-Atlantiques LescunVueVersPasDAzuns.jpg
Traditional landscape of the historical province of Béarn, in the department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Notable touristic landmarks include the Roman-era Pont du Gard and Arena of Nîmes, the Canal du Midi, linking Toulouse and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the natural regions of Camargue and Médoc. The French Riviera is located in Southern France's southeastern quadrant. Several towns in Southern France are renowned for their architecture and surroundings, such as Roussillon, Ménerbes, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Gordes, Rocamadour, Les Baux-de-Provence, Lourmarin, Gassin, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Seillans, Crillon-le-Brave and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

Films set in Southern France

See also

Related Research Articles

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Occitanie Administrative region of France

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Bastir!

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References

  1. Lyons, Declan (18 February 2009). Cycling guide to the Canal du Midi, Languedoc, France, Europe. Midpoint Trade Books. ISBN   978-1-85284-559-9.
  2. Passy, Paul (1904). International French-English and English-French dictionary. Hinds, Noble & Eldredge.
  3. Louis Papy, Le midi atlantique, atlas et géographie de la France moderne, Flammarion, Paris, 1984.
  4. "The Regions of France – Midi (from the Pyrenees to the Riviera)". about-france.com. Retrieved 2009-09-18.