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Places to visit

The Languedoc is rich in traditional French culture.  Unspoilt, uncommercialised and uncluttered - with hundreds of interesting and historic places to visit and with activities to suit all of the family. Cathar castles, beautiful lakes and classic Mediterranean villages and towns nestling next to the sea all set against the stunning backdrop of the mountains intertwined with rivers and gorges - truly a place to explore.  Below we have begun to put together a directory of places to visit and below things to do, many of them suggested by our guests.

Alet Les Bains

 

Carcassonne

 

Limoux

 

 

Minerve (1 hour)

The fortified village of Minerve is the jewel of the Minervois as it perches on a high ridge in the wild landscape of the Causses with deep river gorges on either side.  The medieval village is fully preserved and access by cars is not not allowed, save those delivering to the local restaurants and shops - visitors park 200 yds away and walk across the triple arched bridge into the village.  The village has a long and oustanding history and in 1210 Simon de Montfort at the head of 7000 men laid siege to the stronghold.

This village is made up of very narrow streets with small craft shops, cafes and caves where you can sample the local wines.  As you walk past the sandy coloured houses you find yourself walking up to the chimney like tower of the ruined castle past the 900 year old St-Etienne church.  An excellent place to visit for 1/2 day and to enjoy lunch - then out into the rugged countryside to see some of the tremendous views, enjoy some of the local walks and for the more adventurous a swim and sunbathe by one of the local rivers.  In summer try to get there a little before noon to ensure you get into a restaurant of your choice. 

Mirepoix (35 mins)

This medieval bastide town sits on the river Hers.  The main square is surrounded by late 13C-15C houses. These half-timbered houses supported on wood pillars, create a magnificent covered arcade. The ends of the joists of the richest houses are sculpted, and the most beautiful sculptures are on the house of the Justice du Seigneur, which became in 1500 the Maison des Consuls, showing women's faces, bearded heads, a tortoise and other fantastical images.

This is a very pleasant place to have lunch and while away a few hours looking through the array of small shops.  Just off the square is the the French Gothic Cathedral which was begun in 1343 and completed in 1865.  There are a number of escellent little cafe's and restaurants.  On Monday's they have a market in the square. 

Puivert (and Lake) - 25 min

 Situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by tree lined cliffs the village stands just above lake Puivert which is a summer draw for local people with its small sandy beach and swimming facilities.  Parking is 1 to 2 euros for the day - take a picnic, relax and take in the views.  The valley has its own 14C castle which you can visit - some of the walls are still intact including the 115 ft high keep. 

There is also a local museum that houses displays of local life.

Sete

 



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