Apr 19, 2014
Saturday mornings are usually taken up with a trip down the road to the market and a coffee at Cafe de la Paix with the rest of Mazamet. This Saturday seemed to be different. The sun was shining and there was a spring in everyone's step, what's more there was some fantastic music being played by a small group of 'Bob Marley' style musicians. It was great and changed the whole atmosphere of the market.
In the afternoon we took a short(ish) drive to Minerve to see the ruins of one of the Cathar Castles. Minerve is classified as 'one of the most beautiful villages in France'. We drove along the road to Bezier and turned right onto the D64 in Labastide Rouairoux. For anyone contemplating this trip it is best to take the D64 rather than head into St Pons before turning right. The drive was spectacular and just before arriving at Minerve it was possible to see the gorge carved out of the rocks by the Cesse river.
The gorge is even more spectacular from the top of the village. The remains of the castle consists of the 'candela' and that's it: not much left of the original. As far as I can tell it's the same with the many Cathar Castles dotted around the area to the south east of Carcassonne. It's worthwhile going into the museum at Mazamet to read about the history of the Cathars and visit the village of Hautpoul just a few kilometres from Mazamet.
Walking down into the village were a number of shops selling wine from the Minervois region of which Minerve is the capital. We stopped in a small book shop where we had a coffee before walking back up the hill to the car and driving back to Mazamet.