Saint-Chinian, Languedoc-Roussillon: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Saint-Chinian (Languedoc-Roussillon, France)
Saint-Chinian, 27km north west of Beziers, is a bustling village dating back to the founding of a monastery here in 825, and situated at the foothills of the Cevennes.
The village prospered with the monastery, surviving the Cathar Crusade (1209 - 1229) relatively unscathed, and emerging in the 18th and 19th centuries as a centre for the manufacture of cloth. Since the 19th century, the village has concentrated on wine production, and now it is perhaps best known for this.
Saint Chinian is much more than just one small town, it is in fact twenty communes and a wine region with its own appellation, producing mainly red and rosé wine. The vines grow on hill sides facing the sea at an altitude of between 100-200m, and the more the vines have to struggle on the hillsides the better the wine, I am told.
One winery of particular note is Domaine Les Eminades run by Luc and Patricia Bettoni. One of their wines is made from 110 year old Carigan vines and called ‘Vielle Canaille’ which means ‘Old Rascal’. Luc and Patricia will welcome you for a tasting, but if you can’t fit any more wine in your suitcase, you can always contact Bella Wines UK for suppliers.
During the French revolution the abbey of St Chinian was dissolved and its buildings put to new uses. The former abbey church is now the village hall, which hosts anything from exhibitions to villages dances. You can see what remains of what was once the cloisters behind the hall.
On a clear sunny market day (on Thursday and Sunday mornings), the village comes alive. With stalls situated on the main square beneath the plain trees, it’s a veritable feast to the eyes. With such a colourful array of goods on offer, you will be hard pushed not to spend a euro or two, and if you like cheese there’s plenty to try. Generally the market sells regional produce, groceries, clothes and souvenirs. Organic vegetables are very reasonably priced at the market - look out for a little green sign that says AB or BIO (agriculture biologique) and there is even an organic supermarket in the village, also open on sundays.
After a stroll through Saint-Chinian market you certainly deserve a petit café. And there are several cafés to choose from, the most popular being opposite the market square which has tables on the pavement outside in the summer. This is great for people watching. If this proves too busy, walk further down in to the village and find a few other similarly bustling cafés to enjoy. Pick up a morning croissant and the sunday paper on your way down (the newsagent sells most of the english papers).
With over 300 days of sunshine a year, this is the place to be outdoors. The area really lends itself to walking and cycling, and in just under 20 minutes you can even find places for canoeing at Cessenon-sur-Orb and horseriding at Creissan.
Map of Saint-Chinian and places to visit
Visit near Saint-Chinian with France This Way reviews
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Address: Saint-Chinian, Béziers, Herault, Languedoc-Roussillon, 34360, France || GPS: latitude 43.4231, longitude 2.94778
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Olargues: most beautiful village (15km)
- Minerve: most beautiful village (18km)
- Enserune: national monument (18km)
- Grotte de la Devèze: site of natural beauty (20km)
- Mont Caroux: site of natural beauty (21km)
- Beziers: secteur sauvegarde (23km)
- Fraisse-sur-Agout: ville fleurie 4* (24km)
- Narbonne: secteur sauvegarde (27km)
- Jardin des carrières de Saint-Adrien: remarkable garden (28km)
- Haut-Languedoc: regional natural parc (29km)
Market days in Saint-Chinian, France
Regular market(s) are held in Saint-Chinian each Thursday & Sunday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Saint-Chinian (Francais)