Wednesday, July 21, 2010

MINERVE - something else

Minerve was something else. We had read about it in the DK travel guide of France. I was intrigued by its Cathar history. Why we left it to our second last day in the Languedoc, we will never know. To say it just blew us away is an understatement. We didn't enter the village immediately as we were awestruck by its savage beauty.

Minerve sits on the confluence of the rivers Cesse and Briant. We did eventually walk across the bridge leading to the village as only residents cars are allowed there. Possibly only 100 people still lived on this rocky outcrop.

We walked to the church and there before us was the shape of a dove carved from a huge piece of stone - the symbol of the Cathars. Inside the church was an alter table believed to be from the 5th century.

Some information from Wikipedia
In 1210 a group of Cathars sought refuge in the village after the massacre of Béziers during the Albigensian Crusade. The village was besieged by Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester. The attacking army besieged the village for six weeks before it capitulated. They set up four catapults around the fortification: three to attack the village, and the largest, Malevoisine, to attack the town's water supply. Eventually the commander of the 200-strong garrison, Viscount Guilhem of Minerve, gave in and negotiated a surrender which saved the villagers and himself after the destruction of the town's main well. However, 140 Cathars refused to give up their faith and were burned to death at the stake on 22 July.
(I've only just noticed that as I write this, tomorrow is July 22)

Minerve will always be in our memory as one of the most amazing villages of France, even now after four visits to this diverse country. I don't think my photos do Minerve justice - But my memory does.
From the Languedoc, our travels take us briefly through Provence to Italy, but not before we stay at Menton on the border of France and Italy. Why? Because our home suburb of Mentone took its name this city in France.


  1. Jennifer of "chez Loulou"
    doesn't live very far from Minerve.
    It is a beautiful village.

  2. Wonderful photos, this is a place we still have to visit. Diane

  3. Yes, we love the area and we returned in 2008, but that's a future blog.

  4. Nice post! Definitely Minerva is such a beautiful village. I'm spending my holidays in France enjoying local tours in Paris and I think we should visit Minerva, I cannot believe I've never heard about this town!

    Thank very much for the recommendation!



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