Nation profile


General information
16.300.000 inhabitants aprox. (2016)
190.000 km2
Regions of New Aquitaine, Occitania, Rhône-Alpes-Auvergne and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (French Republic), government and National Council (Parliament) of the Principality of Monaco, and General Council of Aran (Catalonia, Kingdom of Spain)
Major cities
Marselha (Marseilles), Tolosa (Toulouse), Montpelhièr (Montpellier), Pau, Niça (Nice) and Lemòtges (Limoges)
State administration
French Republic, Italian Republic, Kingdom of Spain and Principality of Monaco
Territorial languages
Occitan, Ligurian
Official languages
French (France, Monaco), Italian (Italy), Occitan, Catalan, Spanish (Catalonia, Spain)
Major religion
Christianity (mainly Catholicism, also some Protestantism)


Occitania is a Western European country whose borders are defined by the historic area of the Occitan language. It encompasses the south of present-day France, plus Aran (a semi-autonomous county in Catalonia), the Principality of Monaco and the Occitan Valleys in the westernmost area of the Italian region of Piedmont.

Neither in the past nor in present times has Occitania had a common government or State for all of its territories. In medieval times, some independent feudal units covered a significant part of Occitan territory, the largest of which was the County of Toulouse, which was militarily defeated (Albigensian Crusade, 1209-1229) and subsequently annexed by the Kingdom of France (Treaty of Paris, 1229).

Between the 12th and 13th centuries, the Occitan language and culture reached a high level of development and official use. From the 15th century onwards, state authorities began a gradual process of Frenchization, to the present day.

During the second half of the 19th century, a process of Occitan cultural and linguistic renaissance took place, which, in the 1960s and 1970s, led to the formation of an Occitan nationalist movement. Unlike other European stateless nations, Occitan nationalism has failed to become a major force in its own country.

Aran and Monaco are two small territories having their own institutions, dating back to the Middle Ages.


The own and historical language of Occitania is Occitan. It enjoys official status in Catalonia's Aran Valley only, where the local Aranese dialect is used as the language of education and government. In France, it enjoys some degree of recognition and support from the Occitan regional councils as well as the Agglomeration Community of the Basque Country, which recognizes Occitan as the own language of Baish Ador. The administrative regions of Nouvelle Aquitaine and Occitania established in 2015 the Public Office of the Occitan Language with the stated aim to foster its use. In Piedmont, since 1999 an Italian law has been recognizing some rights to its speakers, albeit without granting it official status.

Occitan is a minority language throughout Occitania. French has become the majority language in the Occitan territories of the French Republic, as has Spanish in Aran and Italian in the Occitan Valleys in Piedmont. According to a 2020 survey by the Public Office of the Occitan Language, in traditionally Occitan-speaking areas of the regions of New Aquitaine and Occitania, as well as in Aran, there are 545,000 Occitan speakers over the age of 15, out of a total population of this age of 7.7 million. This equals to 7% of the population in the Occitan-speaking areas of the two regions of France and 62% in Aran. In France, this is an aging population: among those under 45, only 2% say they can speak Occitan.

A 2012 estimation (Fabrice Bernissan) put Occitan speakers in the French Republic at 110,000; INED estimated in 1999 the number of speakers to be 526,000. In Aran, 5,000 speakers can be found (Catalan government data, 2013).

Outside the borders of Occitania, the language struggles to survive in the municipality of La Gàrdia (Guardia Piemontese), in the Italian region of Calabria, where it has been spoken since the 12th century.

Politics and administration

Traditionally Occitan-speaking territories are distributed between four states: France, Spain, Italy, and Monaco. The largest part, by far, lies within France, divided between four regions with executive, but not legislative, autonomy: Nouvelle Aquitaine, Occitania, Provence-Alps-Côte d’Azur and Auvergne-Rhône-Alps. In Spain, the Aran Valley maintains a semi-autonomous regime within the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, governed by the General Council. In Italy, Occitan-speaking areas are found in Piedmont’s western valleys, known in Occitan as Valadas Occitanas (Occitan Valleys). In Monaco, the neighborhoods in the lower area had been historically Occitan-speaking, but the language has now been completely replaced by French and others.

“Occitània” the country vs “Occitània” the administrative region. The term “Occitania” is commonly used to designate the whole country. It should not be confused with the administrative region of the French Republic, created in 2015, which uses the name “Occitania” too, often with the suffix “Pyrenees-Mediterranean”. The region stretches over some 35% of the territory of the whole Occitan country —mainly its central and southern areas—, also encompassing Northern Catalonia.

Several parties claim self-government for Occitania. The most prominent is the Occitan Party (Partit Occitan, green center-left), which demands autonomy for Occitania within France and an official status for the language. In regional elections it usually wins some seats in the various regional councils, usually in coalition with other larger parties. It is a member of Regions and Peuples Solidaires and of the European Free Alliance. The Occitan Nation Party (Partit de la Nacion Occitana, PNO) demands full independence. The País Nòstre movement allied with the PNO to field joint candidates in the 2020 local elections. Socialist-oriented Freedom! (Libertat!) advocates the self-determination of Occitania, as does its split Popular Front for the Occitan Republic (Popular Front for the Occitan Republic, FPRO). These two movements are largely inactive.

Area: 633,60 Km2
Population: 10,175 inhabitants (2020)
Capital: Vielha e Mijaran
Territorial language: Occitan (locally known as Aranese)
Official language: Occitan, Catalan, and Spanish
Political system: Semi-autonomous county within Catalonia
President, party (year): Maria Vergés, UA (since 2020)
Distribution of seats in General Council (2019 election). 13 members:
Unitat d'Aran-Progrés Municipal-PSC (UA-PSC, Unity of Aran-Municipal Progress) – 9
Convergència Democràtica Aranesa-Partit Nacionalista Aranès (CDA-PNA, Aranese Democratic Convergence-Aranese Nationalist Party) – 4

Electoral system: Proportional
Government: UA (since 2019)


Political institutions
Conselh Generau d'Aran (General Council of
Conseil National de Monaco (National Council of Monaco)
Region New Aquitaine
Region Occitania
Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Political parties
Partit de la Nació Occitana (PNO, Occitan Nation
Partit Occitan (PO, Occitan Party)
Unitat d'Aran (UA, Unity of
Converència Democràtica Aranesa-PNA (CDA-PNA, Aranese Democratic
Aran Amassa

Civic movements
País Nòstre (Our Country)
Iniciativa per Occitània (Iniciative for Occitania)
Organizacion Democratica del Pòple Occitan (ODPO, Democratic Organization of the Occitan

Language and culture
Institut d'Estudis Occitans (Institute for Occitan Studies) 
Congrès Permanent de la Lenga Occitana (Permanent Congress of the Occitan Language)
Institut Occitan d'Aquitània (Occitan Institute of
Centre Occitan de Recèrca, Documentacion e d'Animacion Ethnograficas (Occitan Centre for Research, Documentation and Etnographic
Calandreta Confederation
Chambra d'Òc, Occitan Valleys association in the Italian state 
Ostal d’Occitània

Ràdio Occitània
Ràdio País
Ràdio Lengadòc Montpelhièr 
Ràdio Lengadòc Narbona
Ràdio Albigés

(Last updated July 2023)