Sitting atop of a rocky outcrop nestled between two canyons covered in Mediterranean garrigue, Minerve is an imposing Cathar medieval city, listed among the most beautiful villages of France.
Built by the Viscounts of Minerve, the village is surrounded by a network of cliffs, natural bridges, vineyards, olive and chestnut trees.
Take a walk on the rampart, carved into the cliffside, which leads to the Saint-Rustique well, then climb the steps to the village to visit Saint-Etienne church dating from the 11th century. See the Dove stele dedicated to the memory of the Cathar martyrs, at the foot of the Candela, the ruins of the Château Vicomtal, where you can contemplate the two canyons.
Located between the Cévennes and Montagne Noire areas, Minerve is a surprising small mineral village and an exceptional historical site, one of the most surprising of the Hérault department.
This unique site is born from a tumultuous geological history and from the action of water over limestone over eons, which carved the rock into narrow canyons. Le Brian and la Cesse, the two intermittent rivers surrounding Minerve, created this natural rock fortress. What’s more, each summer, when the rivers cease to flow, natural rock arches and tunnels are accessible.
Minerve is also reputed for its great wines. The first vineyards were implanted by the Romans, and for centuries the Minervois area has produced strong fruity and mellow wines.
Know Before You Go
Minerve is accessible via the D10 road, it is located 46 km east of Carcassonne and 33 km west of Narbonne.
Here's a list of things to see and to visit in Minerve:
The natural bridges
The ramparts around the village
The church Saint Étienne and it's altar from the 11th et 12th centuries
The door of « the Templars », rue des Martyrs
The ruins of the stronghold : la candela
Castle wall from the 13th century at the end of the village
The low door (late 13th) and the prison tower
The Leper Colony
The viaduc bridge from the early 20thcentury
The Saint Rustique well
La malvoisine (siege trebuchet)
The museum of paleontology and archeology
The Hurepel museum
The Dove Stele by the artist Jean Luc Séverac
Guide tours of the village and museums for groups
The PGI wines of Minervois