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Blason de Caunes-Minervois   Caunes-Minervois
Apart from the abbey, the attraction of Caunes lies in its rich historical and architectural heritage. The façades of the buildings are adorned with numerous architectural features dating from the 15th and 18th centuries.
the Benedictine abbey
Certain renaissance houses are worthy of particular attention: the Hôtel Alibert (part of which nowadays houses a hotel and gastronomic restaurant) is built around a courtyard with a beautiful canopied well with three columns, two galleries with decorative busts and small columns, two turrets with a spiral staircase in each and numerous mullioned windows.

The Hôtel Sicard has a wealth of mullioned windows, plain and criss-crossed, with arched openings or windows at right angles. There are two bay windows on the ground floor of this former mansion, the larger of which appears to have been a shop front.

Remains of the fortified walls which surrounded Caunes can be seen on a walk through the village. Other more recent monuments which reveal a way of life and traditions now dying out are also worthy of mention, such as the old wash houses, the irrigation channel and the cobbled lanes.

Tours and Sightseeing:
  • The Benedictine abbey
  • Hôtel d’Alibert
  • Hôtel Sicard
The Marble Quarries
  • The Marble Quarries
  • Notre-Dame du Cros
  • The Carrière du Roy
  • Les Soulanes Château de Citou
  • Le Plateau de la Matte
  • La Route des Moutons
Situated at the foot of the Montagne Noir in the Aude and overlooking the Minervois plain, the village of Caunes-Minervois has a heritage rich in history and culture. Close to the Mediterranean but firmly rooted in the foothills of the mountains, its micro-climate is ideal for the production of its renowned AOC Minervois wines. Caunes was built around its Benedictine abbey; the Argent Double, a small tributary of the River Aude flows through the village year-round. The old lanes of the village are of particular interest and the surrounding countryside (vines, garrigue, forest…) is equally noteworthy - an attentive rambler will discover many hidden treasures! Caunes is also the world capital of red marble: quarried since Roman times, this special marble has been used in the adornment of many very beautiful palaces and public buildings.
Caunes is also the world capital of red marble
  Notre Dame du Cros:

Situated 2km from Caunes, Notre Dame du Cros is a remarkable site with a chapel dedicated to the worship of the Virgin Mary. Following a miraculous cure by the spring water, three small dry stone chapels were built on a steep slope with three statues, the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and Saint John. This is the origin of the pilgrimage of the Cros.

Notre Dame du Cros

A larger chapel had to be built as the number of devotees grew. Pilgrimages and processions were regularly organised to coincide with the feasts of the Assumption and the Nativity and the relics of the Caunes martyrs were associated with processions asking for rain, for the protection of the harvest etc. Religious rituals were also observed during Easter week. A few pilgrimages and celebrations have survived to the present day, specifically on 15 August and 8 September. Inside the church, the chancel is lavishly decorated with paintings framed with marble and gilded wood and the beautiful communion table, pulpit and font are all made of marble.
Gorges de Cros
Its exceptional natural surroundings and layout make this a very appealing place. Meals taken in the shade of the plane trees, the Cros gorges, the natural spring, the marble quarries and the steep cliffs ideal for rock climbing are just some of the elements which contribute to the appeal of Notre Dame du Cros as a picturesque meeting place for all generations.
A legend speaks of a shepherd who used to keep his animals near the source with his sick child. One day while she was praying the Virgin, asking her to have pity, she felt a force to go and ask him to drink from the source.

The child was instantly healed. The villagers were grateful, they built three chapels in dry stone, leaning against the cliff. They are the capeletos ", only one remains today. Three statues were placed on the Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John.

Under its chapels is a small cave surmounted by a huge stone, closely resembling a table of dolmen ... It celebrated the worship of three niches, before building, following the increasing number of pilgrims, a church on the other side of the River.  

The chapel was founded around the year 900. The bull of Pope Gelasius II in 1119, addressed to the Abbe Arnaud de Caunes, cites the villa Cros and his church among the possessions of the monastery. A brotherhood of Notre Dame du Cros Caunes appears at the end of the twelfth century, but there is no information on the processions that took place at Cros until the seventeenth century.
The Marble Quarries
  The Chapel of Notre Dame du Cros
The Carrière du Roy ("Les Carrières et le Marbre de Caunes Minervois"): Appreciated by the Romans (traces have been found in villas in the Minervois and in Spain and also in the Grand Mosque at Cardove) and deployed by medieval sculptors (pre-Romanesque capitals in the abbey and columns at Fontroide), the quarrying of red marble from Caunes was taken over by a sculptor from the Genoese Riviera around 1615....

Les Carrières et le Marbre - Caunes-Minervois
With the development of trade between Carrara (with its white marble) and Caunes, lustrous marble became the material of choice for columns and altarpieces in religious buildings in the Midi. From 1666 marble companies were ordering red “incarnat” and blue “turquin” marble for sculptures at Versailles. The opening of the Canal du Midi in 1681 facilitated transport to the Garonne, thence by sea from Bordeaux to Le Havre and onwards up the Seine to Paris.

A roadway was built by the États du Languedoc to access the port of Puichéric. A royal decree of 1770 granted monopoly of the marble to the monarch and Louis XIV claimed for himself the quarry of Malecasse (nowadays a protected site).
Caunes marble features in the most remarkable royal and imperial monuments from Louis XIV to Napoleon III: Fontainebleau, Versailles, Marly, the Louvre, the Invalides, the Carrousel, the Opera…

The five main quarries were sold in 1807 to a society of masons who exported the marble throughout France and overseas, gaining well-deserved international renown for the village. Since 1965 the marble has been transported in blocks directly to Italy and is shipped principally to the United States, the Arab states and Japan.
Hotel d'Alibert

Hôtel d'Alibert - Caunes-Minervois

A vast residence Renaissance in the middle of the village of Caunes-Minervois. Eight rooms barely for nights of a peace which they had forgotten. For dinners under stars, courtyard in the sculpted galleries. Where, during winter, corner of a big chimney. An incomparable list of regional wines. The tracery of the alleyways which lead towards the very close garrigue, then of tracks of walkings in the Black Mountain. The sea that less than one hour; and Carcassonne, almost visible on the skyline. Everywhere around, the country Minervois. Will the hotel - restaurant of Alibert soon have the pleasure of receiving you?...

La Grande Fontaine

La Grande Fontaine - Caunes-Minervois

Located just down the hill on the main street, inside this is the local bar, while outside is a gathering place for tourists. A morning coffee can be fun. Buy the pastries across the street at the boulangerie, then order coffee. There's no problem with eating breakfast that you've purchased elsewhere, because the Grande Fontaine doesn't sell pasteries. An omelet and salad at noon can be very enjoyable and inexpensive, and full meals are available both at noon and in the evening. Reservations not normally necessary...

La Marbrerie

La Marbrerie - Caunes-Minervois

Set of cottages on the floor of a building with character. All rooms have bathroom and WC, a desk, armchairs, a TV and a computer connected to the internet. La Marbrerie offers labeled country plates as a friendly and gourmet break! You will experience great moments of trading. The Country Platter, is a brand of "de Pays" developed in the network of tourist country. These operations structure of the tourism offer based on a vision of cross-country tourism development local planning and development of animation streams. In tribute to the activity of this building we expound in selling anything or is the Marble. Sculptures, decorative objects or usual, furniture, paintings on marble, paintings....

La Cantine du Curé

La Cantine du Curé - Caunes-Minervois

One of my favourite places in Caunes Minervois is La Cantine du Cure in the shadow of the Abbey. There is always a friendly face to welcome you and a little music keeping you company in the background. The staff are friendly and helpful and attentive and will assist you with your choice of fare - there is normally a choice of 3 or 4 tapas for €5 and perhaps 4 plats du jour (plate of the day)for €10 and normally ice cream for dessert.....

Campsite Municipal les Courtals

Campsite Municipal les Courtals - Caunes-Minervois

This municipal campsite features 32 shaded pitches with electricity, WC, showers, washing up area, children's play area, camper-van waste disposal facilities and football and tennis facilities nearby. Daily bread delivery. Fridge and freezer available at reception during opening hours from 7am to 10am and 5pm to 7pm. The village features a Romanesque abbey...


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