Castles and ramparts

  • This village is the birthplace of painter Toulouse-Lautrec’s family and is also famous for its pink garlic of which it is the main French producer. Of the ramparts, only the Caussade gateway remains intact and this leads to the central square where visitors can still admire 14C timber framed and corbel houses. The pale blue of Saint Rémy’s Collegiate Church is a reminder that you are in "Pays de Cocagne" here

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Collegiate Church of Saint Rémy
    • Castles and ramparts : Caussade gateway, ramparts
    • Panoramas : View of the Lacaune Mountains, the Black Mountains and Castres plain from the Calvary

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  • Just about 20 kilometers from Auch, the impressive Lavardens' castle, lays as a ship on a rocky spur watching over the village and the undulating landscapes. This former capital of the counts of Armagnac has kept some medieval heritage : the ramparts and the small alleys with its charming houses and hollyhocks.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : the castle (16th C) and vestiges of the ramparts
    • Panoramas : views of the countryisde from the castle

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  • A gothic bridge spans the Loir to get to this village that lies nestled at the foot of a fortified castle that withstood an attack by Richard the Lion Heart but was taken by Henri IV’s troops. Today, visitors can admire what is left of the walls and towers and the 26-metre-high keep. There is a mix of architectural styles and periods in the village, from cave dwellings to gothic and Renaissance houses.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Saint Genest
    • By the waterside : River Loir
    • Castles and ramparts : Fortified castle
    • Wine : Coteaux du Vendômois wines

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  • Le Poët-Laval is nestled in the Jabron valley amid lavender and wheat fields some twenty kilometres from Montélimar. The village was a former commanderie of the order of Knights Hospitaller and has kept the castle, ruins of the Romanesque chapel of Saint Jean des Commandeurs and ramparts from that time.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The castle dating back to the 12C, 13C and 15C
    • Unusual sights : Dauphiné Reformation Museum
    • Panoramas : View of the Jabron valley from the top of the village

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  • Les Baux-de-Provence lies perched like an eagle’s nest in the heart of the Alpilles and is a must-see place in Provence which artists, craftspeople and makers of local produce keep alive all year round.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : Les Baux Castle
    • Gastronomy : AOC olive oil from the Valley of Les Baux
    • Unusual sights : Carrières de Lumière 
    • Panoramas : Les Alpilles scenery
    • Wine : AOC Baux-de-Provence wines

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  • Perched on a promontory that offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Dordogne valley and the surrounding castles, Loubressac invites visitors to discover its charming medieval houses built of ochre stone and capped with pointed roofs. The church of Saint Jean Baptiste and the château, a manor dating back to the 15C and 18C, are worth the short climb it takes to reach them.

    Themes

    • Castles ands ramparts : The château and fortified gate
    • Panoramas : View of the Dordogne and Bave valleys

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    Lourmarin sprang up at the foot of the gash that the River Aiguebrun cut in the Luberon and it stands amid vineyards and olive groves. Its fountain-lined streets thread their way around the Castellas and a charming Romanesque church and lead to the magnificent castle. This was built in the 15C by the Agoult family and today houses a well-stocked collection of furniture and objets d’art. Lourmarin is an artists’ village and, among others, attracted Henri Bosco and Albert Camus who are both buried in the cemetery.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The castle
    • Gastronomy : AOC Côtes du Luberon wines
    • Unusual sights : The graves of Henri Bosco and Albert Camus

     

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    • Ménerbes cadran solaire

    From the top of a rocky spur overlooking the Luberon garrigue and vineyards, the fortified village of Ménerbes and its castle watch over the neighbouring Most Beautiful Villages of Gordes and Roussillon. Inside, the narrow streets reveal a wealth of heritage : old houses, the town hall square with its 17C belfry and bell tower. Like many villages in the Luberon, Ménerbes has attracted several famous artists such as Picasso who used to have a house there.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Saint-Hilaire abbey
    • Castles and ramparts : The citadel and castle
    • Unusual sights : Corkscrew Museum and Truffle and Wine Centre
    • Panoramas : View of Coulon valley and the villages of Gordes and Roussillon from the deserted cemetery
    • Gastronomy : AOC Côtes du Luberon wines

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    • Minerve vue village et pont

    Surrounded by deep gorges cut where the Brian and Cesse meet and situated at the very end of a limestone plateau, Minerve is a stony village in the heart of the Languedoc hinterland. It was an old Cathar bastion that was destroyed by Simon de Montfort in 1210 and the village has a column in memory of a stake at which 140 Cathars were burnt at that time. Minerve is also famous for its wine that has been produced here by local winegrowers for centuries

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The remains of the fortress (Candéla : eight-sided tower), old rampart walk
    • Unusual sights : The underground passageway beneath a limestone vault leading to the postern, column in memory of a Cathar stake
    • Panoramas : View of the gorges from the rampart walk
    • Wine : AOC Minervois wines

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  • Mirmande’s houses lie hidden behind the village walls and are intertwined in a maze of alleyways ; they still retain their beautiful stone facades and old doors. After the disappearance of silkworm farming in the late 19C, fruit growing ensured Mirmande’s growth and fame as did the celebrities who stayed here : the painter André Lhote lived here and French geologist Haroun Tazieff was the mayor from 1979 to 1989.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Sainte Foy
    • Castles and ramparts : The ramparts
    • Gastronomy : Fruit juice, fruit and seasonal vegetables
    • Panoramas : View of the Rhône valley and the Vivarais Mountains from Sainte Foy

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