- Matisse madness Captivating Collioure, the main town of the Vermilion Coast, was where Matisse and Derain went crazy with color and created the Fauvist art movement in the early 20th century.
- Fairy-tale Carcassonne Complete with towers, turrets, and battlements, Carcassonne’s fortified upper town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that feels like a medieval theme park.
- Tumultuous Toulouse With rosy roofs and redbrick mansions, the "Pink City" is a place where high culture is an evening at an outdoor café.
- Albi's Toulouse-Lautrec Presided over by the fortresslike Cathédrale Ste-Cécile, Albi honors its most famous native son, Toulouse-Lautrec, with the largest museum of his works.
- Abbey in the sky At an altitude of nearly 3,600 feet, the picture-postcard medieval Abbaye St-Martin du Canigou enjoys a perch that (literally) takes your breath away.
Need a break from the big city? View 42-hour itineraries from 13 cities.More