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Spend some time in the Midi-Pyrénées, the country's largest region, and the term "the south of France" takes on new meaning. This western half of France's south is less glamorous (and much less expensive) than the Riviera and Provence but has an array of must-sees, beginning with lively Toulouse. South lies Languedoc, a province of contrasts—of rolling sun-baked plains around storybook Carcassonne, of stone-and-shrub-covered hills spiked with ruins of ancient civilizations. Stretching east to the Mediterranean is the southernmost province of Roussillon, so called for the red color of the earth and home to that artists' paradise, the Vermilion Coast.
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