This predominately rural area has a very rich history as evidenced by its castles, cathedrals, vineyards and museums. Mountains frame both ends of the region - the Cevennes in the northeast and the Pyrenees in the south. Jagged ridges, deep river canyons and rocky limestone plateaus with vast caves beneath make it one of the most scenic spots on earth.
Over the centuries religious and political conflicts have caused much havoc. The ruined castles which cling precariously to hilltops played a leading role in the struggles between Cathars at the beginning of the 13th century. Others guarded the volatile border with Spain. Whole communities were wiped out during the merciless campaigns of the Catholic to rid the area of the Cathar 'heretics', and later when Protestants fought for religious freedom.
The area has become the focus of conspiracy theories involving the Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion and the Holy Grail, Noah's Ark, the treasures of the Temple of Solomon, the Ark of the Covenant, ley lines, geometric alignments on the land, Nazi treasure hunters, and others.