Lagrasse Things to Do
If you are looking for fresh market produce, organic food, healthy fruit juices, local olive oil etc., try the Lagrasse market every saturday morning. Located in the centre of the village, place des Halles, it is a wonderful play to go. The "halles" date back to the Middle Ages. Don't forget to buy a drink at the fresh fruit juice stall. It is 100%...more
"No visit to Lagrasse is complete without a tour of the abbey itself, one of the oldest and richest in France. It was founded in the 8th century, allegedly by Charlemagne after seeing seven hermits reproduce the miracle of the bread and fishes. Charlemagne is also less nobly commemorated in the name ascribed to a hollow in the nearby hills:...more
For some years there has also been a literary festival of a somewhat philosophical bent (Le Banquet du Livre) at the abbey during August. The broad main boulevard, shaded by the inevitable (but beautiful) plane trees, offers ample opportunities for dining al fresco, or the classic French holiday activity of sitting in a café watching the world go...more
The market place is tucked away in square in the centre of the old town. Despite much research I can't get a date on its age but I would guess around the 14th or 15th century judging by other I saw around France, such as the one at Nolay.The town has become a haven for potters and artists and many of the attractive medieval houses (some dating back...more
By the end of my walk around Lagrasse I was more infatuated with the humpback bridge than anything else. At around a thousand years old it predates any architectural thing we have in Australia by a considerable margin.It also has an air of authenticity about it that I loved.You can walk across, around and underneath it, although the latter isn't...more
You can see the church of St. Michel from the Abbey across the river. After you've visited the Abbey, cross that lovely bridge again and follow the tower to the Church of St. Michel, a gothic-style church in the Old Town section of Lagrasse.It is large, lovely, well kept and very interesting. You will pass the tourist office on the way so stop in...more
Leave Old Town Lagrasse via the medieval stone bridge. You get beautiful views of both the Old Town and the Abbey on opposite sides of the Orbieu River. Cross and walk along the river to the easily visible Abbey. The Abbey is in the process of restoration so visiting hours are somewhat limited. The more modern part of the Abbey was closed the day...more
The first thing we always do when we arrive at a new town is take a walk. It's so much easier to see things and get a feeling for the place when you are on foot. You can peek into gardens, visit churches, stop for a coffee . . . even talk to people you see on the street.It was a cold rainy day so there weren't many people out and we had the lovely...more
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We unfortunately chose a Monday to visit Lagrasse. Both restaurants in the Old Town were closed on Monday and the cafes out by the road didn't look interesting to us. We retrieved our car and started back up the D212. We had no luck with restaurants in the first town we encountered so we continued on to Fabrezan hoping we would have lunch on my husband's birthday.
Great luck! We saw a sign to Les Calicots and found parking nearby. We followed the signs to the charming restaurant and entered. It was very late, nearly two, but the proprietor cheerfully welcomed us and gave us a table overlooking the courtyard.
They had 12 euro and 13.50 euro lunch menus and both looked excellent, especially for the price.
Favorite Dish: Here is my journal entry for the meal.
"My husband got the 12 euro menu with salmon and I got the 13.50 euro menu with brochettes of duck breast. Mine arrived on a huge square plate with a great rotini vinaigrette, lentils with curry dressing, a green salad and terrific frites. It was all cooked to perfection. Great meal in a charming setting."
My husband was equally pleased with his salmon. The service could not have been better. It was late and we take our time enjoying lunch and they were very nice about it.
The are closed on Tuesday. (Thankfully for us, not on Monday.)Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
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Favorite thing: The foundation charter, dated 779, leads us to believe that a monastery existed here even before that late whilst lapidary elements can also be conclusively dated back to the 17th century.
During the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries it benefitted greatly from possessions and fiefdoms given to it by the local counts, so that it had control over a large area.
At the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries, such was its prestige that it was entrusted with the reorganization of the Roussillon and Catalonia monasteries and it became so powerful they could even loan money to local feudal entities.
During the Abigensian Crusade (Cathars), the abbot Benoit d'Alignan played a mediating role between the local lords and the king. However, when the Cathars were defeated by the unscrupulous king (he owed the Cathars money so assisted greatly in their demise) he also took many possessions from the abbey and this, added to the fewer donations they now received, led to its decline.
Fondest memory: Its recovery in the late 13th century was aided considerably by the abbot Auger du Gogenx (1279-1309) who instituted major reformation of monastic life, organised reconstruction and restoration.
Then came the 14th century, the100 years way and the fortifications were enhanced further after the Prince of Wales had wrought some destruction in the Aude in 1355.
Abbots were now being appointed from outside the area in the 15th century which displeased the locals and created friction.
In 1662 the abbey was attached to the congregation of St. Maur which led to substantial building works which were completed under the abbatial of Armand Bazin de Bezons which lasted, amazingly, from 1701 to 1778.
During the Revolution the abbey was forced to be vacated and was sold in two lots; one to the Berlioz family and the other to Bernard Sarrail,
In 1923, the Berlioz family gave their portion to the Military Medal Nationalist Mutual Medical Society who used it as an orphanage until 1981.
At the end of 2004, it was this portion that was acquired by the Consul General de l'Aude that was further dispensed in 2007 whereupon serious restoration works were begun, starting with the transept and roof of the abbatial lodging. The work continues.Related to:
- Historical Travel