Alet-les-Bains Things to Do
Nostradamus (Michel de Nostradame) lived from 1503-1566. His writings are thought to predict events in world history far into the future with a remarkable degree of accuracy, according to some. According to others, his writings have been twisted around so that such interpretations of his writings might make it appear to be that he was much more successful in predicting things than he may actually have been. I don't know enough details about his writings to be able to say one way or the other.
There is a house that Nostradamus was reputed to have lived in while in Alet. Is this possible? Well, it appears to be so. Firstly, Nostradamus spent his student years not far away, in Avignon and Montpelier. It is during this time that Nostradamus may well have had a logical reason to live in Alet. The plague has closed his school in Avignon. He then went into the countryside researching herbal cures. Perhaps tying these to the reputed cures attributed to the thermal waters at Alet les Bains is not unreasonable.
It is also possible that at the end of his life Nostradamus might have had a logical reason to stay in Alet. Nostradamus is known to have been afflicted with gout in his later years. It does not appear that common treatments for gout worked too well. It is certainly possible that he may have come to Alet to seek temporary relief from the pain in the thermal waters.
There has been some speculation that Nostradamus might have been connected with the strange happenings at nearby Rennes le Chataeu, though these are at best disputed. Part of these stem from the fact that Nostadamus family was converted from Judaism. In Alet there is a house nearby the house that Nostradamus is said to have occupied that displays the Star of David prominently. Coincidence? Well the house is known to have been occupied by a Jewish trader, however beyond that it is hard to establish much of a connection.Related to:
- Historical Travel
There is a casino at the edge of town, thankfully not so close to the main attractions of the town that it distracts from their value and beauty. The new casino is just off route 118
it has gaming tables, slot machines, so if you have an urgent need to get rid of your money, this would be a place to do itRelated to:
- Casino and Gambling
You have to wonder when you look at the ruins of the abbey why something so grand would have been built in such a small town. After all, Alet is not an economic powerhouse, doesn't control great strategic location. So why then?
Well, one explanation was that Alet became the head of its own bisophric, which happened in 1318. Until then, Alet had been a roman settlement of uncertain size, and a relatively minor player.
A Benedictine abbey had been set up possibly as early as the year 813, though city sources now admit that the documentation is a bit scant in this regard. The turning point seems to have come when pope Urban offered the abbey a relic of a piece of the True Cross. After that, Alet became a place of pilgrimage. It is in this singular event that you can justify the large abbeys and cathedrals.Related to:
- Religious Travel
2 more images
We were staying in the Carcassonne area and had left our daughter at the airport in Toulouse. We decided a day in the country might be relaxing so we drove to Alet-les-Bains. We toured the beautiful Abbey and walked through the village snapping photos.
Lunch approached and nothing appeared to be open. We remembered we had passed this hotel-restaurant walking from the car park to the Abbey so we walked back and it was open. The day was perfect and we took a table under a large tree by the Aude River. Life is good.
The ambience and service were wonderful and we even had a bit of local character during dessert. They have a resident cat who leaves tourists alone but is a bit too friendly with the owner's chickens. At one point a waiter went tearing through the front garden after the cat who had taken aim at a chicken peacefully pecking away at whatever chickens eat. The chicken was saved and the cat banished. It was quite exciting.
Favorite Dish: Favorite Dish: Here is my journal entry for the day:
We sat on their lovely terrace shaded by huge trees and warmed by a friendly yellow tom cat. We ordered the 18 euro menu (no choices) and started with a fabulous crudité platter to share containing two generous slices of melt-in-your-mouth foie gras and two shredded vegetables in marinade. Next came a crock of “Basque” chicken, four generous pieces of chicken baked with autumn vegetables . . . yum . . . and accompanied by very thin, crisp frites. We had ice cream from a selection of about eight desserts and it was topped with a very light meringue. Delicious and in a perfect setting.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
The best way to get to Alet les Bains on public transportation is with the bus that runs between Quillan and Limoux. The trip takes about 40 minutes from end of the line to the other and passes through mostly small towns. The bus will drop you on on D 118 at the entrance to the town, just cross the bridge and you are there.
Please note- this bus also runs on weekends, however, you will want to check the bus schedules in advance for times as it does have limited service on weekends.
Bus line number is 53- runs between Axat and CarcassonneRelated to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Alet-les-Bains Local Customs
I was coming into Alet les Bains and spotted this memorial near the bus stop.
to the Spanish guerilleros (FFI) of the Aude who died for France.
The FFI was the Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur, resistance forces at the end of World War II. As France was liberated, these forces were absorbed into the regular French military.
This memorial was interesting in that it acknowledged the contributions of Spaniards. As you may know, there are good numbers of Spaniards who have lived in this part of France for several generations now. Many came following the Spanish Civil War, others came later during the Franco Regime. During World War II there were some bands of Maquis (resistance fighters) that were composed entirely of left wing veterans of the Spanish Civil War.
Interestingly, just down the road is the memorial to US 1st Lt Paul Swank, who died at this place leading an American operation. Apparently, the area around Carcassonne was important to German supply lines.
For more on the war in this area:
- Historical Travel