I have been looking at some linguistic maps of France, like this one:
It seems there are local non-French languages everywhere, but I wanted to test that with a local person. Today I got my opportunity. I went for a haircut, armed with some basic haircut-related vocabulary: plus cour (shorter), derriere (back), avant (front), a cote (side). I managed to communicate what I wanted: number four back and sides, and shorter all over. Like every other hairdresser I have met, my hairdresser today was up for some conversation.
I found out that he was born in Quillan and lived nearly all his life here. He was aged about mid-30s. I asked him what the local language is. In Quillan? He looked at me like it was a very stupid question. French. So you grew up speaking French? Yes. Any other language? Now I think he saw what I was asking about. Patois. I had learned that term recently; it means a local dialect. You speak patois? Yes. What language is it? Occitan. I knew there were multiple occ or occitan languages. Languedocian? He corrected my pronunciation, but then said C’est ca. (That’s it.) Languedocien. He said his grandparents in a nearby village Mijanes have a different patois. He said it (not sure whether he meant the Quillan patois or the Mijanes patois) is not like French, but not like Spanish or Catalan either. I asked if it is a written language. Yes, it’s a proper language. Most of that he said in English because my French was so obviously poor. I do envy and admire people who have multiple languages.