Lagrasse is officially one of the "most beautiful villages in France". It was built around an old Benedictine abbey dating from the time of Charlemagne. The town lies on the river Orbieu, in the Corbières (Aude département) about 30 minutes drive from both Narbonne and Carcassonne. The town, on one bank of the river, is linked by stone bridges to the abbey on the other bank. The abbey and the pretty village buildings have attracted a large foreign (largely English) community, along with painters, sculptors, potters and other artists.
Start from the 12th Century humped-back bridge that crosses the River Orbieu. Here you can see bathers and anglers in the deep river waters. Walk into the town centre to see the attractive Covered Market surounded by 14th - 16th century houses. Medieval streets run off in all directions, filled with art galleries, craft shops and restaurants - all there because of the passing tourist trade. Take a detour to the church, or carry on parallel to the river and the ruins of a defensive tower. Cross the foot bridge wich doubles as a small dam (which creates provides a place to swim in the Summer. Walk between the gardens and the Abbey and you will come out near the entrance to the Abbey. If you do not want to visit the Abbey, turn right. You might like to visit the extravagent cemetry, or just continue to the other side of the hump backed-bridge where you started.