Montolieu, Languedoc-Roussillon: tourism & sightseeing
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The small town of Montolieu, a few kilometres north-west of Carcassonne in the Languedoc region of southern France, is best know as for the number of booksellers in the town that attract enthusiasts of old books from far afield, but there is much to enjoy during a visit even if you are not interested in old books...
The best view across the village is from the bridge as you arrive from Revel direction, with a scenic view of the church and village above the valley below.
The village itself has lots of small features to discover, such as fountains and houses with interesting colombage woodwork while remaining mostly 'unrenovated', around a substantial church that dominates the centre of Montolieu.
For the last 20 years Montolieu has been officially recognised as a 'book town' and has about 15 shops dedicated to books. Perhaps less well known it is also a regional centre for other arts and crafts and various artists, designers, glass blowers and photographers have also established their studios here.
In the centre of old Montolieu there is also a museum dedicated to books and printing that contains a good number of ancient printing presses, old documents, and font types. You will find it interesting even if old books are not your thing!
There is a surprise down one of the side streets in the town - follow the signs to reach Place de l'Esperou and you discover that Montolieu is built on the edge of a deep ravine.
From this small square there are views into the gorge in both directions, and of the houses that follow the edge of the cliffs. Curious, because from elsewhere in the village you wouldn't guess the existence of this scenic highlight!
To the west of the village in Saint-Martin-le-Vieil you can visit the Abbey de Villelongue, the ruins of a cistercian abbey and its gardens, or you can even stay at the abbey: see chambre d'hote at abbey de Villelongue. Also in Saint-Martin-le-Vieil you can visit an authentic recreation of a medieval garden.
In the Church of Sainte-Marie in the small village of Aragon there is a most remarkable sight: wood panels that were painted with patterns, flowers and religious symbols in the 14th century and were only rediscovered about 30 years ago after being covered for 200 years!
A few kilometres north-west of Montolieu you should visit Saissac, a small and pretty village, then if you continue further in the same direction the road passes through the Regional Natural Parc of Haut-Languedoc to reach Revel and Sorèze, both of which are very pleasant to explore.
Of course, no visit to this part of the Aude department would be complete without visiting the remarkable medieval town of Carcassonne, to the south-east of Montolieu.
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Address: Montolieu, Alzonne, Carcassonne, Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon, 11170, France || GPS: latitude 43.31, longitude 2.2158
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Carcassonne: heritage site (16km)
- Cité de Carcassonne: site of natural beauty (17km)
- Carcassonne City: grand site of france (17km)
- Gouffre de Cabrespine: site of natural beauty (20km)
- Revel: recommended detour (24km)
- Limoux: recommended detour (28km)
The French version of this page is at Montolieu (Francais)