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21 Dec 2017

Surroundings holiday house Cassagnoles «Grandil»

Our house is situated in the Minervois countryside, stretching from the southern slopes of the low mountain range «Montagne Noire» to the Ortriver Aude and the Canal du Midi in the Languedoc plain. Through the influence of the nearby Mediterranean Sea, the region enjoys a mild climate. The fertile soils of the plain weinbergehave long been favouring the cultivation of wine. Since 1985, it is mainly the red wines that have got the status «Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée». The delightful Mediterrean heath in the hills is called «Garrigue». The limestone landscape near Cassagnoles is dominated by worth seeing gorges. Numerous prehistoric caves, roman churches and charming villages can be visited. The area takes its name from the main village Minerve, a former stronghold of the Cathars.

Miverve (16km away)
The small town of Minerve is labeled one of the most beautiful villages in France. Surrounded by the deep gorges of the rivers Cesse and Brian, the medieval settlement was built Schlucht Minerveon a steep cliff. Just a bridge leads into the village with its winding alleys and old stone houses. The Romanesque church Saint-Etienne was consecrated in the year 456 and is known for its white marble altar. The ancient Cathar Minervebastion was destroyed in 1210 by the crusaders of Simon de Montfort. An exhibition is devoted to the history of the Cathars. At the Museum of Archaeology and Palaeontology you can find amongst other things 600 Million years old fossils as well as prehistoric objects. The surrounding caves were inhabited 170.000 years ago. Two impressing tunnels, which has the river Cesse dug into the limestone, form a unique natural monument.

Caunses Minervois (18km away)
At the foot of the Montagne Noire rises Caunes-Minervois, surrounded by vineyards. The village protected by a fortress wall in earlier days, Caunes Minervoishas some remarkable patrician houses whose facades exhibit many elements from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. In the Benedictine abbey Saint-Pierre and Paul, which was founded Marmorbruch bei Caunesin 780, you can see all architectural eras. It is known for its sanctuary, a masterpiece of the Southern French Early Romanesque. The abbey church is splendidly embroidered with local red marble. You may also visit the modest cloister and the crypt. The chapel «Notre Dame du Cros» and the marble quarry «Carrière du Roy» are worth seeing in the surrounding area. The famous red marble was used in Toulouse, in Versailles, in the opera of Paris and in many other European magnificent buildings and is still mined today.

Homps an the Lac de Jouarres (20km away)
The wine village Homps is known for its harbour on the Canal du Midi. Abendstimmung über den PyrenäenHere you can rent house boats and start boat tours. The artificial lake «Lac de Jouarres» invites for swims, fishing and windsurfing. On the green banks of the lake, you can sunbathe, have a snack or take beautiful walks in the nearby pine forests.

Canal du Midi (20km away)
The 240km long «Canal du Midi» was constructed in the late 17th century by the engineer Pierre-Paul Riquet. About 12 000 workers of born men and women built it in only 14 years. Its water is supplied by Canal du Midithe rivers of the Montagne Noire which are being led to an artificial lake for that reason. The canal is supposed to be one of the greatest engineering achievements at that Schleusetime and now has the status of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It starts in Toulouse, continues through Carcassonne and Béziers and flows into the Mediterranean Sea close am Canal du Midito Agde. Together with the «Canal Latéral à la Garonne», which runs from Toulouse to the Atlantic Ocean, it provides a navigable connection between the two seas which was once the most important traffic route in France. It became irrelevant for freight traffic in the 20th century and is now a touristic attraction. You can cruise on it with a houseboat or cycle along the river bank beneath the shade of beautiful old trees. Interesting are furthermore the numerous floodgates which are sometimes still manually operated by lockmasters. A particular attraction is the flight of locks «Fonserannes» next to Béziers which consists of eight chambers and surmounts a height difference of 25m.

Montagne Noire (20km away)
The «Montagne Noire» (eng.: Black Mountain) is the southernmost foothills of the French Massif Central. The highest peak is the Pic de Blick über Cassagnoles auf die Montagne NoireNore with 1211m. The central region of the uplands is dominated by a rough climate with high rainfall due to the altitude, whilst the climate at the Southern slopes is rather mild and Mediterranean. Montagne NoireThe mountains are part densely forested and seem dark and mystical and that is how the mountains received their name. Many caves and grottos were formed in the Karsts, like the «Gouffre de Cabrespine» Reitenand the «Grotte de Devèze». The geologically interesting rock formations are also known for their abundance of fossils. Sheltered sunny locations and many springs and lakes foster the abundance of animals and plants. A major part of the region belongs to the nature reserve «Parc Naturel Régional du Haut Languedoc». The stunning and varied landscape offers many beautiful possibilities for hiking, climbing and cycling, especially as the area is sparsely populated and little developed for car traffic.

Carcassonne (40km away)
Carcassonne is located on a hill overlooking the valley of the Aude and the Canal du Midi, at an ancient trade route between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The city was founded by the Romans in the first ReitenCentury BC, founded and is one of the best preserved fortified towns in Europe. The «Cité», the historic old town is still inhabited today. It is enclosed by a 3km-long city wall, consisting Reitenof two circular walls and 52 towers. The largest part of the Cité, with the exception of the medieval castle, can be visited free of charge: The Basilica Saint-Nazaire, the dungeon areas, the town gates, and the Reitenbustling streets of the historic centre with its shops and restaurants. In the 13th Century, the fortress housed the central administration of the Inquisition in Southern France. It was also a centre for the Cathar heresy and with Toulouse is one of the most important cities in the historical region of Occitan. Die Festung wurde im 19. The fortress was restored in the 19th Century and declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.

Narbonne and the Mediterranean beaches (50km away)
Narbonne was the first Roman colony outside Italy. A small part of the Roman road Via Domitia has been excavated near the Cathedral of CapitanerieSaint Just. When approaching the cathedral can be seen from afar, the silhouette of which dominates the city. It was built in the 12. Century and has never been completed. Narbonne, Tour Barberousseonce a seaport, is now 15 km inland. The picturesque «Canal de la Robine» runs through the historical centre and links Narbonne to the Mediterranean Sea. Extensive sand beaches are stretching along the tourist places Gruissan, Narbonne Plage and St Pierre la Mer with its strange crater lake «Gouffre de l'Oeil-Doux». The unique stilt houses of Gruissan Plage served as the scenery for the film «Betty Blue». The narrow streets of the old city centre of Gruissan are crowded in a circle around the ruins of the «Tour Barberousse», high on a rock.