The Minervois is a wine growing ‘pays’ with stunning scenery between Carcassonne and Narbonne in the Languedoc region, the tidiness of the vineyards contrasting with the wild countryside that is also typical of the area. Both scenery and climate are typically ‘Mediterranean’ but the Montagne Noire and the Parc Naturel Regional du Haut-Languedoc are only a few kilometres to the north with shady forests and mountain lakes.
This is a great place for holidays at any time of the year. In the summer there is the on site pool and swimming and bathing are also possible at a number of other places. The coast ( Narbonne or Gruissan) is about an hour away and there are a number of easily accessible lakes or river swimming sites, such as the Lac de Jouarres near Olonzac, the Lac de Cavayére near Carcassonne, the Lac des Montagnes near Mazamet and the Lac de Pradels, in the mountains north of Caunes.
This is a wonderful area for walking or cycling. There are several walks which start in the village itself and many waymarked walks in the area generally. Cycle hire is available locally. Birdwatching is great, especially in spring and autumn. For the more adventurous there are opportunities locally for climbing, caving, canoeing and horse-riding. During April, May and June this is a wonderful area for wild flowers. The Canal du Midi (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is a popular visit, either for a stroll along its banks or for boat hire . There are golf courses at Carcassonne and Mazamet.
The region is rich in natural features such as the caves at the Grotte de Limousis and the Gouffre Geant de Cabrespine. There are also many interesting historical and architectural sites; the Abbaye de Caunes, of course, but also the abbeys at Lagrasse and Fontfroide.
The Languedoc is famous for its many Cathare castles and sites; Minerve, Lastours, Montsegur, Peyrepetuse and Queribus as well as the mediaeval walled cité at Carcassonne (also a UNESCO World Heritage site) The Pyrenées and the Spanish border are a little over an hour away. There are a number of local markets, the larger ones include Olonzac, Lezignan Corbieres, St. Pons and Carcassonne.
There are many festivals and fetes celebrated throughout the year which can be interesting and fun, with opportunities to sample local wines and produce. The wines of the Minervois have improved greatly in recent years and you will be welcomed for a tasting at any of the cave co-operatives or producers. There are also local opportunities for wine tours and a cooking school.