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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
Fontiers-Cabardès - Club 620 * - Phone 04.68 26 53 48
Fontiers-Cabardès - Auberge de Pantouquet ** - Phone
Lacombe - Restaurant À La Prise d'Alzeau ** - Phone
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!!
Maison de Mallast

Maison de Mallast - Montolieu

Guest Rooms - Bed & Breakfast - Gîtes - Chambres d'hôtes
Maison de Mallast is a beautiful old house in the center of Montolieu, the "book village", close to historic Carcassonne. Restaurant, bed & breakfast rooms and a gite with two bedrooms. In the center of Montolieu, this restaurant offers different dining environments depending on the season. In good weather, guests can dine in the peaceful walled garden or on the terrace next to the charismatic 13th-century house. In winter, the comfortable dining room provides a warm environment for couples or groups. Choose from French or world cuisine, such as traditional duck breast, an exotic Asian curry or a popular British specialty. Children are welcome and vegetarians are also catered for. The wine list offers only wines from the Occitanie region...

Les Anges
au Plafond

Les Anges au Plafond - Montolieu

Guest 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...

de Montolieu

Campsite de Montolieu - Montolieu

The campsite provides an excellent base for touring the Aude in a picturesque setting at the foot of the "Mont des Oliviers". You can enjoy a tranquil, peaceful holiday or simply spend a couple of nights, as a stop over, relaxing as you travel through the famous wine region of the Languedoc. Situated 15km from the World Heritage City of Carcassonne, with its Medieval Castle and just 90 km from the "Pink" City of Toulouse, 80 km from the Mediterranean and 100 km from the Pyrenees, the campsite "Camping de Montolieu" offers 47 emplacements for Caravans, Tents and Motor homes as well as Mobile-Homes for rental...


L'Apostrophe - Montolieu

Guest 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...

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...

La Table Fermière

La Table Fermière - Saint-Martin-le-Vieil

From the ground to the plate, Fabienne and Philippe invite you to discover: A peasant cooking made only with products of local agriculture (farmers, vegetable gardeners, growers, beekeepers ...). Thematics renew meal once a month (French gastronomy regions). A table of exchange and discovery around a single menu completely transformed and prepared by Philippe, a Head Chef became "Cooker Farmer". All year round, from Wednesday to Friday lunch with the formula Business Farmer, from 4 people. (Business meals, meetings, Clubs ...) The Gourmet Lunch Weekend (Couples, birthdays, weddings, baptisms ...) - Menu Petit Gastronome Paysan (for children until 5 year old) 10€/child: Dish of the day and mashed potatoes parmentier way + dessert + fruit juice...

Le Café
du commerce

Le Café du commerce * - Montolieu

In the heart of the charming village of Montolieu, a village of books and art, located in the Aude, Café du Commerce welcomes you in a simple and friendly atmosphere. Depending on the season, you can have lunch on the terrace to taste our brasserie menu, our wood-fired grills or our home-made pizzas. You can then stroll through the streets of this charming, quintessentially south-western village to discover bookstores, artist galleries, the Book Museum, the Cooperative - Cerès Franco collection and the beautiful view of the surrounding nature...

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