Things to See in the Languedoc: Historic
Villages and Bastides
|Circular villages. In
medieval times villages of this region were often situated
on hilltops and built in a circular fashion for defensive
purposes. Many examples can be found in the Razès.
They are now called circulades. You can see
numerous of examples of Circulades in the Languedoc-Roussillon
by clicking on the following link to a page dedicated
People have been building fortified hilltop settlements
here since prehistoric
times. They are called oppida
and you can visit a spectacular example, the Oppidum
de Enserune, near to the modern village of Nissan-lez-Enserune
in the Hérault
Bastides. The word bastide covers
two types of settlement. The first is the small defensive
hill-top hamlet or village, possibly but not necessarily
a circulade. The second is a sort of medieval planned
settlement, typically laid out on a grid pattern, rather
like many modern purpose-built cities. (Indeed the idea
of laying cities out like this came from medieval bastides).
A good example of this grid-like bastide, the Bastide of
St-Louis,can be seen at the heart of the new city of Carcassonne.
Plus Beaux Villages de France. literally the most beautiful
villages in France. To qualify even for consideration the
village must have no more than 2000 inhabitants and possess
at least two sites classified as of historic interested
("Listed" in UK speak). The following villages
in the Languedoc have been granted the accolade:
département: La Garde-Guérin, Sainte-Enimie
département: Castelnou, Eus, Evol, Mosset, Villefranche-de-Conflent ( Vilafranca)
Wesite of "Les
Beaux Villages de France"
Languedoc-Roussillon Villages of interest:
Bugarach and the Pic de Bugarach: in the
département - becoming famous as the place where
you can sit out the end of the world in December 1012. Bugarach and the Pic de Bugarach
Rennes-le-Château: in the Aude
département - the site of a famous French mystery.
Click on the folling link for more on Rennes-le-Château
Rennes-les-Bains: in the Aude département - an ancient spa town. Click on the following link for more on Rennes-les-Bains
Tautavel: in the Pyrénées-Orientales
département, where some of the earliest human
remains in Europe have been discovered, and where there
is an exceptionally good international museum on prehistoric
man. Click on the foolling link for more on Tautavel
Cordes-sur-Ciel: ( Còrda)
a spectacular hill top village, increasingly dedicated to
tourism. Click on the foolling link for more on Cordes-sur-Ciel
a pretty valley village. One of the "plus beaux villages"
in France, built around a ninth century Abbey. Click on
the following link for more on Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert
Gruissan: a small Mediterranean sea port built around
a tenth century tower. Click on the following link for more
Marsa: a small village in the Rebenty Valley. Click
on the following link for more on Marsa
Camon: Near Mirepoix. A village with fortifications
and abbey, classified as one of the most beautiful in France.
in the Pyrénées-Orientales
département. One of the "plus beaux villages"
in France and also the sunniest spot in the country.