Itinerary around Montolieu

Itinerary around Montolieu
Itinerary around Montolieu

Number of kilometres: 60 km
Total visiting time: 4.5 hours
Suitable for: everyone

The village of Montolieu, which used to be fortified, stretches out on a rocky bluff between the steep valleys of the Dure and the Alzeau which join together to form the Rougeanne..
"From the Cabardès to the Canal du Midi», Montolieu,
Village of Books, from garrigue to forest."

Map around Montolieu
click to enlarge
>> 2 roads can take you to Montolieu: the fastest leaving Carcassone is to follow the signs indicating Toulouse (RD6113) and then turn right after Pezens, towards Moussoulens on the D629 as far as Montolieu.

>> The more picturesque road leaving Carcassone is to follow the signs indicating Toulouse (RD6113) and turn right towards Pennautier, go through the village and take the D38 towards Ventenac Cabardès then Moussoulens and the D629 as far as Montolieu. This road winds around the hills above the Valley of the Rougeanne.
  Montolieu, village of books Montolieu, village of books:
Known for a long time as the ‘Church village’ making a living from the wool and cloth industry, Montolieu is now the ‘Village of Books’: A visit to the Conservatory of Bookmaking Arts and Crafts (Michel Braibant Museum) and the 15 bookshops, some of which are English, German or Spanish (OIT: as well as the different artisans applying their Bookmaking crafts and Arts will give you the opportunity to explore the old streets of the village. (vestiges of corbels showing Medieval origins, gothic windows ...).
The 14th century St André’s church, listed as an historical monument, has an impressive bell-tower, 38 metres high!
The 14th century St André’s church in Montolieu
  Note two 13th century statues of the Virgin with Child, one in stone to the left of the altar and the other in polychrome stone above the entry porch. Don’t miss the viewpoints, from the bridge on the Saissac road and from the «Place de l’Espérou». Short halt and wine-tasting, at l’Estanquet, getting some tips from the cellar master, and a look at the ‘Atelier’, an art exhibition gallery, then the book-binding workshop in the Town Hall street (rue de la Mairie), and the Calligraphy workshop, rue du 8 mai, on the way down to the village outer quarter: Note, as you go along, the wrought iron cross in the square (Place du Pradel) and continue on the rue des Pyrénées towards the Royal Factory (1734). At the end of the Impasse de la Manufacture, in the former cloth factory, visit the Art Glassmaker’s, the Book workshop and a large bookshop. A few metres further along the Alzonne road, you will come across a former cooperative wine cellar which has been converted into an Art and Literature Centre : not to be missed! By car or by foot, go towards Fraisse Cabardès on the D148, to discover Saint Roch hill, with its chapel and centuriesold cypress trees, a natural site listed on the Heritage inventory. Surrounded by scrubby garrigue vegetation and dry-stone cabins, you will have a magnificent panoramic view over the village.

>> On the road again towards Saint Martin Le Vieil on the D64 to visit:
L’Abbaye de Villelongue:   L’Abbaye de Villelongue
In the hollow of the Vernassonne Valley, the attraction of this former Cistercian abbey founded in the 12th century lies in its confidential family atmosphere. It is original for its many sculpted decors representing allegorical figures : griffon, owl, rooster, lion, monk … and even 2 representations of the Devil! Have fun looking for them in the peaceful cloister which contrasts with the Cistercian rigor of the refectory. Religious architecture of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries is revealed as you visit the chapter room and the ruins of the abbey church (the Lay Brothers’ Cellar and the Sacristy can be visited upon request). In the shade of the dovecote, the fishpond - used for breeding Tench and Carp fish for the vegetarian monks - is still in working order, and this since the 12th century. Sit for a moment in the calm of the garden filled with flowers and a superb collection of colourful marrows and pumpkins. (tel : 04 68 24 90 38).

>> From Saint Martin le Vieil, finish the itinerary by taking the D34, going through Raissac sur Lampy and Alzonne before taking the D33 as far as Villesèquelande.
  Canal du Midi Canal du Midi:
Go for a boat ride on the Canal du Midi, registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list. This exceptional engineering masterpiece was realised by Pierre Paul Riquet in the 17th century under the reign of Louis XIV! A concentrate of the hydrographical, topographic, geometric and architectural skills of its time, the Canal continues to surprise us today.

>> The towpaths are maintained for walking and bike-riding in the shade of the centuries-old plane trees. Return to Carcassonne on the D33.
A.O.P. Cabardès

Red Wine
= Red Wine

White Wine
= White Wine

= Rosé
Alzonne - Domaine des Sesquières - Phone
Montolieu - Wine cellar L’Estanquet «Regional wines» - Phone
Pezens - Gilbert Salvo, Wrought iron craftsman Unique pieces (e.g. 18th century gate) - Phone
Montolieu - Village of Books Art glassworker, Julienne Daniaux, « Diversion » - Phone

Book Artisans:
• Book-binding workshop, Sandrine
Book-binding workshop, Sandrine

• Bernard-Breitel,« Au chat Kireli » - Phone

• Calligraphy workshop, Lucile Gesta - Phone

• Caricature workshop, Laurent Malard - Phone /

• Computer Graphics - Photography, Visual Production - Phone
• Illustrations workshop, Nathalie Louveau - Phone

• Atelier du Livre (Book workshop) Book-making, individual workshops and school trips (paper manufacture, typography, engravings, marbled paper) - Phone

• Conservatory of Bookmaking Arts and Crafts : Michel Braibant Museum Follow the history of books, since the birth of writing and the history of its different supports, to the wonderful adventure of mechanical printing - Phone
• 15 bookshops Vintage and second-hand books and collectors
Montolieu, village du livre
• The Cooperative Centre for Art and Literature : contemporary art, bibliophilism, lectures, performances, publications of artists’ books and welcoming guest authors - Phone

• Montolieu Village of Books and Graphic Arts Exhibitions and cultural events. Learning workshops for groups and individuals (calligraphy, computer graphics, illumination of manuscripts, caricatures, writing, illustrating, engraving, typography, book-binding, paper manufacture) - Phone
• « L’Atelier » Photograph exhibitions, sculptures and paintings by Chris and Francis - Phone /

• Exploring the Saint Roch and Capitelles site Topoguide, circuit 11, available at the Office Intercommunal de Tourisme

• The Cactus Garden - Production and sale of cactus and other succulent plants. Visit the gardens: 1000 species! - Phone

Worth seeing nearby:
• Explore the Alzeau and Dure Gorges
• Pays Cathare castle in Saissac
• Biches de Picarel deer farm in Saissac
• Paper mill at Brousses
• Picturesque village of Aragon
Explore the Alzeau and Dure Gorges
Calendar - Festivals:
• « Les Ampélofolies du Cabardès » Moussoulens Wine and Truffle Festival
Les Ampélofolies du Cabardès
Easter weekend
• «Vintage Montolieu


• «Escritura» Occitan literature and culture in Montolieu


• « Cactus Fair» 3rd weekend, La Cactuseraie Montolieu
• Concerts on Thursday evenings at the «Café du Commerce» in Montolieu
• Concerts at the Abbaye de Villelongue
Concerts à l'Abbaye de Villelongue
• Abbaye de Villelongue: Open on Wednesday evenings
• Picnic lunch with Pays Cathare producers on 15 August
• Pays Cathare producers’ market Montolieu (Thursday before 15 August weekend)
• «Night of the Papyvores» 14 August at Moulin de Brousses (paper mill) (jazz, French songs…) - 


• «Marrow Festival» 3rd weekend, Abbaye de Villelongue
• «Art Crafts and Skills Day», Heritage Day Sunday, Montolieu
• «Truffle Markets» Moussoulens
Truffle Market - Moussoulens
April to October
• Concerts « Les Anges au Plafond » Restaurant, Montolieu
• «Truffle Markets» Moussoulens
Literary and artistic events at the Museum of Bookmaking Arts and Crafts and the Montolieu
Foie gras de canard

Alzonne - Chez Martine et Claude ** - Phone
Aragon - Hotel Restaurant La Bergerie *** - Phone
Brousses-et-Villaret - La table du Rebombier ** - Phone
Fontiers-Cabardès - Club 620 * - Phone 04.68 26 53 48
Montolieu - Restaurant tea salon Les Anges au plafond * - Phone
Montolieu - Casquette et Chapeau * - Phone
Montolieu - Bar Lounge Apostrophe * - Phone
Montolieu - Le Café du Commerce * - Phone
Moussoulens - Le Romarin * - Phone
Bram - Le Clos saint Loup * - Phone
Pezens - Restaurant l'Ambrosia *** - Phone
Saint-Martin-le-Vieil - La Table Fermière ** - Phone
Villesèquelande - La Halte Romaine * - Phone

Bon voyage!!
Les Anges au Plafond

Les Anges au Plafond - Montolieu

Guest Rooms - Bed & Breakfast - Gîtes - Chambres d'hôtesGuest Rooms - Bed & Breakfast - Gîtes - Chambres d'hôtes

Les Anges au Plafond (literally: the Angels on the Ceiling... when you visit us, you'll see why) offers both a Restaurant / Tea Room and a Bed & Breakfast in a charming 19th century house in the heart of Montolieu, Village du Livre (Booktown). We are recommended by the Guide du Routard 2007/08 and by the Petit Fûté. Montolieu is located in the South of France, in the 'Aude', 17 km North-West of Carcassonne, 1 hour East of Toulouse, 1 hour West of the Mediterannean sea.....

Casquette et Chapeau

Casquette et Chapeau - Montolieu

Casquette et Chapeau is a charming restaurant in the heart of Montolieu, le village du livre. It is typical of many such restaurants in villages across France, looking unremarkable and unexciting until you sample what it has to offer. Situated in a small square opposite the church, the best tables for lunch are outside under the shade of the plane trees, but the interior is also airy and welcoming. Service is as it should be, neither too fast nor too slow, and with just the right amount of attention. Remarkably, for France, customers without a reservation were welcomed at 2.00pm without fuss, which makes this restaurant even more exceptional than most...


L'Apostrophe - Montolieu

Guest Rooms - Bed & Breakfast - Gîtes - Chambres d'hôtesGuest Rooms - Bed & Breakfast - Gîtes - Chambres d'hôtes

A Montolieu book town and Art village near Carcassonne ... In an old linen factory, Apostrophe welcomes you in the great mansion: Relaxation lounges, bar lounge, patio, terraces, gardens with trails for exploring the history of the place but also ... a glass blower, the largest bookstore Montolieu and the Book Workshop where children and adults learn to make and print a book. An outstanding site full of history or to live and relax....

de Pantouquet

Auberge de Pantouquet - Fontiers-Cabardès

Sylvie and Dominique Rajol are the owners of the inn Pantouquet, Friday through Sunday and by reservation. Beautiful renovated house of the XIIth, swimming pool, garden at the edge of a river. They offer traditional food, refined, grilled over a wood fire ... In a grandmothers setting that is both rustic and cozy, on the edge of Loubatière...

La Table Cave
du Château
de Pennautier

La Table Cave du château de Pennautier

Set in the former sheep-fold of the château, boasting vast beams and lovely stone walls, the restaurant welcomes you all year round for meals or gourmet snacks. By the fireside in winter or on the terrace in summer, you can enjoy our simple yet delicious fare. The restaurant offers both regional specialities (delicatessen, cheeses, cassoulet, duck magret) and fresh, flavoursome Mediterranean cuisine...

Hotel Restaurant  
La Bergerie

Hotel Restaurant la Bergerie - Aragon

Located on the site of an old and completely renovated sheep fold, everything has been thought through to pamper your five senses. Sight: a vista that opens up as you look out from the terrace over the landscape below. Sound: a tranquil setting just 10 minutes from Carcassonne. Touch: nature is bountiful here, with rock, wood, earth, materials and colours all blending to paint a picture that changes with the seasons. Smell: take your place at the table and breathe in the tantalising scents coming from the kitchen. Taste, of course: Fabien and his team prepare traditional cuisine with a modern twist. What is more, even the illustrious Michelin guide was impressed, awarding the young couple their first star in 2009 in recognition of what they have achieved with their team. Come and enjoy a relaxing stay with inventive cuisine at La Bergerie hotel....

Club 620

Club 620 - Fontiers-Cabardès

A small village bar-restaurant where you eat well, without fuss. Traditional dishes and a varied menu. Yvan Marié, the owner, likes to work stews. Diners are treated to a good stew, a Burgundian, a coq au vin or a good onion soup in the winter, grilled over a wood fire as the breast and large salad as 620 with the gizzards, sliced foie gras and pork summer, all in a festive atmosphere. All year held musical evenings. Saturdays in winter and twice a week in summer, music lovers and players of cards or billiards seasoned mix musicians, sometimes known names of French and international scene. All this small world alongside in the right mood at the counter or on the terrace, shaded groves. Sires sad, so go your way....

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