The village is a typical 'chateau village' with around 250 inhabitants and large village square - the Place des Marroniers, with shady chestnut trees.
It has its own Mairie
(the Mayor is very helpful) and church, which has been beautifully restored. Mass is sung once a month. The church bells ring the hour (twice) and the half hour, but mercifully not during the night!
The village has a
children's' playground and football/ rugby pitch. There are lovely views of two other chateaux in the valley from the play area.
There is a small boulangerie and hairdresser. The butcher calls twice a week.
The villagers are extremely friendly; Languedoc has long had a reputation for tolerance and welcoming strangers. The local accent is a little difficult at first- it has a tinge of Catalan in it, presumably from the time when the Langue D'Oc (i.e. east of the Rhone) was spoken.
In Spring, the hedgerows are full of irises and poppies.
In Summer, the village is surrounded by wheat fields and the golden glow of thousands of sunflowers.
Restaurant and Shops
Castelnaudary, famous for le Cassoulet (reputedly developed to sustain its inhabitants when under siege by the Black Prince), is 7 km away with shops, banks, a post office, market, restaurants, supermarket and boating on its large lake leading to the Canal du Midi.
of general interest to visit
There are numerous vineyards to visit (with
free wine to sample), boating on the Canal du Midi, paddle boats and canoeing on the local lakes, one of which (le Bassin de Fereol) is about 8 km away and boasts a sand beach fringed with pine trees, a large fountain and a waterfall.
The nearest coastal beach is at Narbonne Plage - an enormous man made beach- about 1 ½ hours' drive away.
The Cathar chateaux in the foothills of the Pyrenees are a must. The chateaux, dating from the late C12th and early C13th, are impossibly perched on rocky crags and are quite spectacular. Montsegur and Queribus are particularly recommended.
The area abounds with mediaeval towns in astonishingly good condition.
La Cite´ at Carcassonne, a complete mediaeval city beautifully restored in the C19th, is like something out of a fairy tale with its 50 odd towers- it is magical floodlit. It has a particularly good confectionary shop and sells masses of china dolls and tapestries.
Mirepoix, a delightful black and white town with magnificent cathedral, can be visited on the way to the Pyrenees.
The Montagne Noire are worth seeing. There is a llama farm where the owners take visitors on guided tours, lakes, caves and spectacular scenery.
Albi has an amazing cathedral which dominates the city. Castres is famous for the Musee Goya.
Near Carcassonne there is an Australian animal park and near Narbonne, a Safari Park. At Esperaza, near Limoux (another old town worth seeing) is a dinosaur museum and some very famous prehistoric caves
as well as a wonderful almost English country garden.
The C8th Abbaye de St Papoul, is nearby. It has a beautiful 14th century cloister and a magnificent church.
Montolieu, the book village of France (modelled on Haye on Wye) is tiny village near by, boasting 12 book shops.
The pink brick centre of Toulouse is an excellent shopping centre. Nearby is the 'Cite´ de l'espace' - a space park well worth visiting.
Glass table ware at Villepinte
Les Mont D'olmes