Minerve Things to Do
The Dove is a work of art created in 1982 by Jean-Luc Séverac, a Minerve artist, to commemorate the 140 Cathar Parfaits (Perfects) who were burned at the stake in 1210. The stele is placed in front of the door to Eglise Saint Etienne in a small square off the rue des Remparts.
In describing his concept, artist Jean-Luc Séverac wrote, "The Cathars raised themselves above the material world.....so I made the dove, not out of stone, but out of light - the absence of matter is the only way to represent the Cathars."
On a clear day, you look through the dove (a cutout in stone) and see the blue sky filled with white clouds. Indeed the dove is made of light . . .Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
You park and walk along the Gorge into Minerve past the Candéla Tower and into the cobblestone village. A small square appears on your right and you see a stone carving that dates from 1982 that is a monument to the Cathar Martyrs. Eglise St. Etienne is by the Monument and will undoubtedly be closed. Don't despair . . . there is a secret.
All the guidebooks say the church is only open on Sundays. Well . . . sort of. If you go the Archeology and Paleontology Museum a bit further on near the Tourist Office, you can ask the museum docent to let you into the church. (S)he is the "keeper of the keys" and if you ask politely, they will be happy to take you up to the church and unlock it for you.
It is worth this little effort because, not only is it a charming church, it contains an ancient altar moved here from St. Nazaire, a now-closed church. The altar dates from the year 456 (this is not a typo). It is reputed to be the oldest altar in France and is dated authentically from inscriptions on the altar. It is called the St. Rustique Altar.
Definitely worth a bit of extra effort.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Located near the Tourist Office, the Museum of Archeology and Paleontology has fossils dating from 600 million years ago, prehistoric objects, Roman and Visigoth documents. There are even old music manuscripts and a stuffed animal or two.
It is a small museum and only takes about a half hour to cover it but while there, look out the windows and enjoy the marvelous views. If, as when we were there, it is raining, the museum is a good place to be until the rain stops. ;^)
Their web site doesn't seem to be working right now so I listed the Annuaire for it as a Website.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
A very old wine cellar where you can purchase famed Minerve wine. The town is known for it's fabulous sweet wine, and this is one of the oldest stores in town. I asked the girl who worked there, "how old is this store?" in very poor French, she answered in very good French,"1000 years old." I'm not sure she understood me, but being in Minerve, I'm assuming that it is accurate. You can see the old barrels and wine cellar in the basement. They offer samples when you walk in, which is a good selling tool since the wine is very good.
What to buy: Minerve Sweet Wine. The wine is not too sweet, but quite delicous and fruity. I'm not much of a drinker, but I do like my sweet wines.
What to pay: About 7 - 15 euros for an excellent bottle of wine.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Minerve Off The Beaten Path
Walk to the back of town. There is a little cafe, its not much more than a 7-11, but the views are very pretty.
Favorite thing: The town is gorgeous, but I thought the people were very sweet and welcoming and made it that much more enjoyable.
Fondest memory: The town is very serene and quiet, which resonates with it's pious history of the cathars. This makes it very slow and peaceful, which makes for a very relaxing afternoon visit.