Lagrasse, in the Aude department, south-east of Carcassonne, is labelled one of les plus beaux villages de France, and its position on the banks of the river Orbieu at the heart of the rolling Corbieres hills is lovely, particularly when the evening sunlight makes the yellow stone houses glow golden.

The town is split in two by the river - the Benedictine abbey, with its ruined abbey church on one bank, and the mostly medieval town with its quaint twisting streets on the other. In the summer the river is partly dammed to make a swimming pool for the local children.


Part of the abbey buildings are now in private ownership, but the church is used for concerts in the summer, and the bell tower can be climbed, with a great view of the town and the surrounding countryside to be had from the top.

The market hall used to hold the biggest market in the area, in the days when the village’s economy was centred on the fabrication of sheets and other textiles; these days the main income is from wine, so you will easily find something good to drink with the other local produce (cheese, olives, bread) that you can buy in the weekly Saturday market.

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