Limoux is a delightful market town on the banks of the river Aude about 30 km due south of Carcassonne. A lively, truly French café culture exists here with food and drink being the favourite local pastime. At the heart of the town is the arcaded place de la Republique. This wide square holds some fine stone arcading and a number of medieval timber framed houses. Large Cafes and outside terraces adorn the square making this the ideal place to stop, relax and watch time go by. Be sure to visit on a Friday to sample the vibrant local market. Surrounding the square is an array of narrow, old streets to explore and shop.
Carnival Capital of France
Ideal base for
Winter festival ‘Fecos’
Local Vineyards, Blanquette de Limoux
The Cathar trail
Monastery at Fanjeaux
St Hilaire Abbey
Medieval ‘Circulade’ villages
Activities In the area
to see the wines produced in Limoux
The town is probably best known for its winter clown festival ‘Fècos’ which runs from February to April every year. This is the longest carnival in France and is conducted in the traditional Occitan language. Every weekend different groups of folk dancers perform in the square to traditional, centuries old songs.
Limoux is also famous for the sparkling wine which shares its name, Blanquette de Limoux. Discovered by Benedictine monks at Sainte Hilaire abbey the hills surrounding Limoux are now filled with vines growing the Mauzac grape. Not as popular as it’s more famous rival Champagne, the Blanquette de Limoux will always be the world’s first sparkling wine and provides a lively, refreshing alternative at an excellent price. Drop into any of the local wine caves to take some home or better still, try one of the wine tours in the area to enjoy the undulating scenery, learn more about the area’s wine history combined with a spot of wine tasting.
Driving northwest from Limoux you reach the town of Fanjeaux where, after taking the sighting of a comet as a sign from God, St Dominic decided to build a monastery for Cathar women returning to Catholicism. The first monastery was destroyed during the Revolution and subsequently replaced in 1879.
In and around Limoux you will find many interesting villages. In medieval times, the villages of this region were often situated on hilltops and built in a circular fashion for security reasons. Many examples of these ‘Circulades’ exist in this area including Alaigne, Bellegarde du Razès, Cailhau, Lasserre-de-Prouilhes and Mazerolles du Razès.