Planning Your Time

Getting to know this vast region would take several weeks, or even years. But it's possible to sample all of its finest offerings in nine days, if that's all the time you have. Begin by practicing your "olé's" in Spanish-soul Toulouse; after two days and two nights in this vibrant city, veer west to the Gers département to spend Day 3 in Albi and take a virtual art class with Toulouse-Lautrec at the famous museum here devoted to his masterworks. On Day 4, continue some 112 km (70 miles) south to once-upon-a-timefied Carcassonne to introduce your kids to the Puss-in-Boots fantasy of this castellated wonder. After a night filled with medieval history and glamour, travel southeast on Day 5 to the Vermilion Coast. It's time to pack your crayons for a trip to Matisse Country and head to the Roussillon's coastal town of Collioure to channel the spirits of the famous Fauve painters. Spend all of Day 6 here. Then on Day 7, drive north past Perpignan, the historic hub city of the Roussillon, and head to marvelous Montpellier. After your seventh night, enjoy Day 8 by touring this city's fascinating Vieille Ville (Old Town), steeped in culture, history, and young blood (a famous university is based here). Add on a Day 9 to chill out before returning to reality.

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