Unknown, unspoilt and probably under-watched, the Haut Languedoc regional park, not far from the Mediterranean coast and half-way between the Pyrenees and the Cévennes, is worth a visit for the scenery alone. Steep-sided limestone gorges, lake-topped plateaux and low mountains are home to a wide range of southern species with birds of prey being of particular interest. The list is long, here we give a few of the more interesting: Griffon vulture, Bonelli’s eagle, Eagle owl, Blue Rock thrush, Crag martin, Hoopoe, continental Dipper, and many of the Mediterranean warblers. Summer nesting visitors include Alpine swift and Red-rumped swallow (not always easy to find!) whereas winter visitors include Wallcreeper and Alpine accentor.
The area can be very good for raptor migration (particularly Honey Buzzards) in early autumn.
Other wildlife is also of great interest and butterfly enthusiasts will enjoy southern species such as Provence Orange Tip and Cleopatra, to name just two of many.
Take a train via Lille or Paris to Montpellier, where you can rent a car.