In the south of France lies the rustic village of Cantignergues. It is no more than a hamlet located in a small valley at the end of a narrow mountain road. The village is located between Narbonne and Carcassonne, within an hour’s drive of the Mediterranean Sea. The nearest village which has a small supermarket and bakery is La Livinière.
The region is known for its green hills, the Great Valley and in the distance you can see the mighty Pyrenees. The Canal du Midi which runs through the Great Valley, stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to Toulouse, and even further to the Atlantic Coast. Cantignergues is situated in-between the luscious green hills, at the border of the Great Plain, and is hidden in an oasis of peace. In some places you get stunning views, reaching as far as the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees.
The valley was formed by the small river, the Cesse, which runs through the village. When travelling further down, this gorgeous valley quickly changes into a rough, small canyon with caves and steep rocks. The canyon eventually reaches Minerve, a very well-known village because of its strategic position and Catharan history.
Cantignergues is surrounded by oaks and chestnut-trees and is an official nature reserve. In the evening the only sound you hear comes from the water of the river Cesse. The road ends in Cantignergues; therefore there is not much traffic. This road continues into a rough track which offers opportunities for strolls or mountainbike challenges.
Curiosité de Lauriole
The Curiosité can be found near Lauriole and from Cantignergues, by following the road to Minerve, and far right for Fauzan to the right towards Fournes. If you cross this village and follow the asphalt you will come to the Curiosite.
The road seems to run up and down, and this is regarded by scientists as a Curiosity and can not be explained. When you park the car halfway, put a bottle of water on the ground or roll a ball, all of them seem to roll up …
There are various rumors about how this may happen, the most mentioned of which;
- Optical illusion
- An unknown magnetic field
- An anomaly gravity …
- Experience yourself how crazy it’s when your car drives up! Many reports have already been broadcast, and quite a few tourists come to this particular piece of France. So if you drive along, it might be worth stopping.
From Villeneuve-Minervois there is a road, about 3.5 kilometers up to the Dolmens – Palet de Roland. These stone formations are accessible to all and remains of the 9th century. Here are remnants of people, flint and ceramics. The rock formations have probably been graftombs for multiple people. The upper part of the tomb has disappeared, so only the entrance and tomb chamber can be seen.
This site is fun to visit because these are ancient antiquities. The name of this Dolmens comes from a legend about a certain Roland, the cousin of Charles the Great. He has edited a sunstone, which he then laid on two other stones. It was his wish to be buried nearby.
About this site are two expanded and well-marked short walking routes. On the information stands there is plenty of information about the site and about the flora and fauna in this area.
From Cantignergues this site can be reached in about 40 minutes.
Carcassonne, also called “la ville aux deux cités”, consists of two parts: the fortified city, la Cité, and the city center, la Bastide Saint Louis.
In about an hour driving from Cantignergues, this enchanting city can be reached.
La Cité, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, is the largest intact medieval fortified city in Europe and has recently been fully restored. Within the mighty walls there are many sights such as: the basilica, the giant grave castle, the theater, the medieval streets and the cozy little squares where the inner man is excellently … try the dishes of this city throughout France Fame, fame, the Cassoulet!
A visit to Carcassonne is compulsory for those who love medieval romance and tragedy!
Link to the official website of the city of Carcassonne and the tourist service: www.carcassonne.org
La Livinière is an ancient wine village with a Cave Cooperative and a number of private caves with its own test room and sale.
The village is located in the middle of vineyards, on the southern side of the Pyrenees and on the north side, the Montagne Noire. There are ample opportunities for cycling and hiking and enjoying the scenery. In La Livinière there is a small but modern supermarket, a fine bakery and a small post office.
About 25 minutes drive from Cantignergues lies Olonzac, a lively village with cozy cafés. Olonzac has many shops, banks, a post office, terraces, pizzerias and restaurants. From the main street you can reach the child-friendly park, with ponds, tennis courts and a bowling alley.
Every Tuesday is the market day in Olonzac. The big roads in the town itself are full of stalls and there is activity all around. This is definitely recommended for a day out. In addition to a street full of hats, soaps, ceramics and other home-garden and kitchen supplies there is a whole street with stalls where (local) French specialties are sold.
Nearby you will find the Lac de Jouarres where you can enjoy sunbathing, surfing, sailing, pedalo or barbecue. Bike, or hike in the vineyards, or along the Canal du Midi
Één uurtje rijden vanaf Cantignergues en vlakbij de Middellandse Zee ligt de oude stad Narbonne. Deze stad dat ooit veroverd werd door de Moren, en dat kun je zien aan veel van de gebouwen in het centrum, is een belangrijke marktplaats in de Aude.
Vroeger had de stad een aanzienlijke havenfunctie maar dat is rond 1320 beëindigd door een plotselinge wijziging van de Aude. In plaats daarvan herleefde de stad in de 20ste eeuw dankzij de wijnhandel.
Een grote stad is Narbonne niet maar het heeft alles om er een hele dag te kunnen ronddwalen: de vele winkeltjes, het Aartsbisschoppelijk paleis, de gotische St. Just kathedraal en een gezellig plein met vele cafeetjes!
Op iets meer dan één uur van Cantignergues ligt de Middellandse Zee met zijn brede stranden en gezellige boulevards. Zeker de moeite waard als u ooit in Cantignergues komt logeren. Een dagje naar de zee is zeker een aanrader. Voor een ieder wat wils: heerlijk zonnen in Narbonne Plage, gezellig wandelen door pittoreske dorpjes als Gruissan, Saint-Pierre-Sur-Mer en Port-la-Nouvelle.
Officiële website van de dienst voor toerisme: www.narbonne-plage.com
Within an hour’s drive, the ancient city of Béziers is located between the vineyards. It is a city that was very important in Roman times, was destroyed during the Albigenian crusade in the 13th century and now one of the centers in the area is for wine and rugby.
Béziers is built on a rock, giving it a beautiful view of the distant surroundings and the river ‘l Orb. The Canal du Midi also flows through the city and west of Béziers lies the nine locks of Fonséranes. An ingenious waterwork that bridges a height of 25 meters or less.
Between the new districts of the second half of the 19th century and the ancient districts of Béziers, a long walking promenade was built, named after the designer and builder of the Canal du Midi: Paul Riquet. The promenade begins on the north side with a neoclassical theater from 1844 and continues south to the plateau of Poetes, a 19th century English-style park. Other sights include the Eglise des Penitents and the Cathedrale Saint Nazaire.
In the west of Beziers, in the vicinity of the Via Domitia are the remains of the Enderune Oppidum (5th century for Chr.).
Official website of the tourism office: www.beziers-tourisme.fr
If you follow the river Cesse then you come out into the mighty canyons and if you follow them again you will come to Minerve.
Minerve is built on a rocky tip in the middle of the canyon and therefore, because of its strategic location, this village is one of the best kept caves of the Cathars. It has already been named “Most Beautiful French City”.
Minerve, where its name is named Minervoix, is a special place that attracts many tourists every year. Not only because of the tumultuous history but also by the excellent wines and a particularly natural phenomenon: natural bridges carved by the river, which bore a path through the rocks.
Official website of the tourism office: www.minerve-tourisme.fr
A nice city to drive is Felines Minervois. The old mill, at the top of the hill ‘thirteen winds’ is a true sight and a walk in this area is definitely recommended.
In the mountains behind Felines, red marble was previously won and you can still see the old quarries at Notre Dame du Cross. When the marble industry stopped, wine-growing became the main source of income for the village and so you will find several well-known wines under the predicament ‘Minervois La Livinière’ today.
During high season temperatures can easily rise to 35 degrees. But also in the spring and late seasons, the temperatures in Cantignergues are very pleasant and there are plenty of sunshine hours. Check out weather forecast.com for the current weather