The Minervois is always different: plane and sea, heath and mountains, and never ending vineyards. Grapes have been cultivated in the Minervois since the age of the Gallo-Romans. Today Minervois is the most famous wine-growing area of the Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France. But there is much more to discover than wine: prehestorical grottos, countless Roman churches, the abbey of Caunes near Rieux-Minervois, beautiful villages along the Canal du Midi.??
Whether walking or riding a bike alongside it, gazing up to the clouds while lazing on the deck of a canal boat while it winds its way along its tranquil path, picnicking on its banks, or enjoying the pleasure of a Minervois wine in one of its many restaurants, the Canal du Midi offers an escape into tranquility and aesthetic beauty.
In the 17th century, with only shovels, over 12 000 men made possible the seemingly impossible dream of Pierre-Paul Riquet, to create a waterway that would link the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas. The 360km stretch of water, which is the Canal du Midi encompasses over 300 structures. It is a navigable route incorporating aqueducts, bridges (two of which are canal bridges which cross the rivers of the Cesse and Répundre), tunnels, paths for horses to pull boats, resting areas for travelers and animals and most importantly 156 locks, many of which have become tourist stops and promenades today.
The canal, a sacred path, marvelous under its foliage of high plane trees, has allowed generations of locals to export more easily their products, most importantly their wine! Nowadays, the Canal du Midi stands as not only an engineering masterpiece but also a beautiful work of art, appreciated by locals and tourists alike.
The Minervois belongs to both the Departments Aude and Hèrault, with its 68 communities being the smallest administrative region of France ?Nowadays Minervois is the wine-growing region number one of Languedoc-Roussillon; first of all due to the seven communities producing A.O.C. wines, with the best of it being Pic de Loup in Hérault. ??Still nowadays Minervois is a land of vineyards and agriculture, with a splendid landscape and beautiful villages and small cities along the Canal du Midi. Tourism is nowadays if utmost importance for the Minervois and the landscape offers everything to attract visitors.
One of the major landmarks of the Minervois, the cité of Minerve has been widely visited and re-visited, photographed and painted, written about numerous times and is also listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is an old unassailable city, impressive not only for its location, perched on a rock surrounded by a two deep gorges, but for its wild history which includes the cathar burnings of 1210. However, long before this time, throughout the Brian and the Cesse rivers, prehistoric life was rich. In just about every cave throughout these gorges remnants of prehistoric life has been found. Nowadays, Minerve is a lively village that celebrates largely in festival. La fête de la Pierre (The festival of the rock) in August and Les Chemins de Minerve (the roads to Minerve) in October and November.
Modern Troubadours (street performers) have changed a lot, with their modern clothes and new songs, however they reappear in traditional form during times of festival to please the young and old in this beautiful environment of old stones.
The circular village of Aigne. Another site you cannot miss! The moment you walk through the main entrance of the circular village you are in a time warp reaching back to the Middle Ages. An overwhelming sense of history is felt throughout the entire Minervois and this circular village has certainly seen the hardships and the good times, which have marked the region. The historical buildings and village is faithfully maintained within a wavy landscape of little hills (les mourels).
The main street snakes its way into the centre of the village where sculptors, painters and other artists influence the village atmosphere. The church, like an
open history book, dedicated to Saint Martin, has a XI century old Roman nave, XIV century gothic style, and XVIII century old fresco. Wander around like the folk of the past did, centuries ago, when strolling peacefully was common.
There are also great opportunities to invest in the Minervois. It has probably the best selection of quaint, characterful villages in the whole of the Languedoc. If you would like to buy a cottage, house or villa in the region, have a look at the facts.
The Languedoc has seen some of the highest rises in property prices in the whole of France over the last 7 years. Cottages and village houses have been turned into Gite and B&B (Chambre d’Hote) as visitor numbers have been swelling over the last 5 years. To buy a house/ cottage in need of work, you will need to invest about 50 000 euros to acquire the property. Then, a sum to invest of around the same amount, will give you a beautiful home to live in.
It just remains to say, that the Minervois, in the Languedoc, south of France, is one of the most beautiful regions in the whole of France. Come soon, invest in it, and enjoy a great quality of life.