Lagrasse, Aude: tourism & sightseeing
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Lagrasse, oficially listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages of France', is about 30 kilometres south-east of Carcassonne, in the Aude department of Languedoc-Roussillon.
In the valley of the River Orbieu, Lagrasse is in the foothills of the Pyrenees in a region renowned for the wine produced in the surrounding hills - this is the Corbières wine region, the largest wine-producing region in France.
Lagrasse is an attractive village, and dates from the time the abbey was built - permission for the construction was given by Charlemagne in 783. The village later developed around the abbey.
The two 'highlights' of the village are the Abbey and the bridges, although the narrow medieval streets of the village itself are also very attractive, and remains of the town walls can still be seen.
The Abbey of Sainte-Marie dominates the village and was active from the 8th century until the revolution, when monasteries in France were dissolved. After 150 years of neglect an extensive programme of restoration began, giving us the impressive monument we see today and culminating in an order of monks becoming re-established here in 2004.
Highlights in the abbey, which is largely divided into a larger more recent part and a smaller medieval part, include the cloisters and the dormitory and an attractive courtyard overlooked by balconies as well as numerous features carved in stone such as the fireplace in the Salle des Gardes.
Several beautiful houses can be seen, especially around the central square in Lagrasse. The central square also houses a covered hall with stone pillars and built in the 14th century, giving the local artists opportunities to display their works: the village is home to numerous pottery workers and artists, attracted by the place itself and the renowned natural light of the region.
There are two attractive bridges in Lagrasse, one dating from 1303. This part of Lagrasse along the river has some of the best views in the village. The parts of the ramparts and tower that you can see here are also very ancient and part of a wall that once protected the village.
When you tire of art galleries and medieval architecture you can sit in the shade of a plane tree and enjoy a pleasant drink as you watch the world (largely other tourists) go by. Then, now recuperated from the hot southern France sun, you should now walk up the road towards Narbonne and see the view of Lagrasse from the hill. Beautiful.
In the summer you can cool off by swimming in the river at Lagrasse. In winter perhaps not!
On the hill above the village you can see the ruins of the Priory of Saint-Michel de Nahuze, built in the 11th century.
The area around Lagrasse is best known for its historical struggles, such as those suffered by the cathars in the region. This history is perhaps best seen in the magnificent fortified town at Carcassonne, and we also recommend you visit one or two of the cathar castles such as those at Chateau Peyrepertuse and Chateau Quéribus, our personal favourites.
If you plan to visit the Mediterranean coast to the east, Leucate is one of the most popular resorts in the region and just under one hour drive from Lagrasse.
Photos of Lagrasse
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Map of Lagrasse and places nearby
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Lagrasse is classified as a one of the most beautiful village in France (plus beau villages)
Address: Lagrasse, Carcassonne, Languedoc-Roussillon, 11220, France || GPS: latitude 43.09, longitude 2.6197
Plan your visit to Lagrasse, Aude
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Gorges de l'Orbieu: site of natural beauty (17 km)
- Abbaye de Fontfroide (Narbonne): religious monument (22 km)
- Forêt de Fontfroide: site of natural beauty (22 km)
- Carcassonne City: grand site of france (24 km)
- Cité de Carcassonne: site of natural beauty (24 km)
- Carcassonne: heritage site (25 km)
- African reserve of Sigean: zoo or wildlife park (27 km)
- Gorges de Galamus: site of natural beauty (30 km)
- Minerve: most beautiful village (31 km)
- Gouffre de Cabrespine: site of natural beauty (33 km)
The French version of this page is at Lagrasse (Francais)