Right at the heart of Aude, in Occitanie, Lagrasse is famous for its medieval village and prestigious Benedictine abbey, the biggest in Languedoc. A little gem of culture and nature, where serenity reigns supreme, just 30 km from your holiday residence, between Narbonne and Lézignan.
Lagrasse, one of the "most beautiful villages in France"
The small medieval town of Lagrasse is nestled at the heart of the Corbières range, with the peaceful River Orbieu flowing through it. Between the vineyards and the hills, the town boasts a rich architectural heritage and is ranked as one of "the most beautiful villages in France".
Lagrasse has always been a town of arts and crafts. In the Middle Ages, it was home to the biggest market in lower Corbières. Today, the village is reviving its past and hosts a wide range of arts and crafts shops. Lagrasse market is held around Place des Halles, a jewel of medieval architecture. Each Saturday morning it attracts regulars and visitors, drawn by the promise of local produce, including meat and poultry, olive oil, honey, cheese, goats' milk yoghurts, vinegars, spices and Corbières wine.
A few remains of the medieval ramparts are still standing, such as the Tour de Plaisance or "Grand Tourreil" (14th - 15th century) and the Porte de l'Eau, the only route out of the town, to the south. The former presbytery now hosts the Heritage House. Here visitors can see an exhibition dedicated to the architectural treasures of the Aude region. The building features some superb decoration and painted ceilings dating from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, depicting human figures, animals and monsters. Close by, the "Pont Vieux", a medieval structure with three arches topped by two towers, links the village to the famous Benedictine abbey, the pride of Lagrasse.
The Benedictine abbey
After visiting the village, set off to explore Saint Marie D'Orbieu Abbey, founded in 779 by Charlemagne. All through the Middle Ages, Lagrasse was one of the most influential abbeys in the south of France. Its favourable geographic situation between France and Spain meant that the abbots of Lagrasse played a major role in political and religious matters in the region. Today, the canons of Lagrasse welcome curious visitors and the faithful, who come to see the biggest Benedictine abbey in Languedoc. It is listed as a historic monument. A visit not to be missed during your stay at our holiday residence at the heart of the Aude region!
Saint Barthélémy Chapel (or abbot's chapel) is definitely the jewel of the abbey. It was built in 1296 by the abbot Auger de Gogenx, a great church builder with refined taste. He also built the abbatial building, on the other side of the gallery. The pre-Romanesque tower overlooking the garden is one of the abbey's oldest elements. It was built in the 10th century. The visit continues with the Old Palace courtyard, the lower chapel, the sacristy, the monks' dormitory and the big storeroom and monastery bakery. In the Salle des Gardes (Guards' Room), you can see a monumental Renaissance fireplace and very fine French-style ceilings. A room is devoted to the Master of Cabestany, an anonymous sculptor from the second half of the 12th century. A permanent exhibition brings together original white marble works and casts by the Romanesque sculptor, who was among the Middle Ages' most talented artists.
More information : www.lagrasse.fr