This area corresponds in large part to Occitania; that to say, the territory in which Occitan ()—as distinct from the of northern France—was historically the dominant language. The regions of Auvergne and Limousin are also a part of Occitania but are not normally referred to as southern France.
The term Midi derives from mi (middle) and di (day) in Old French; compare Mezzogiorno, the south of Italy. The time of midday was synonymous with the direction of south because in France, as in all of the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is in the south at noon. The synonymy existed in Middle French as well, where can refer to both midday and south.