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One of the most beautiful villages in France

Lagrasse, which lies in the Aude department in the south of France, is said to be one of the most beautiful villages in the country. Certainly, it is difficult to argue with this, as the village gives the immediate appearance of being straight from a film set (one of those which stars people like Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Juliette Binoche!), with its mediaeval walls gazing down upon the idly flowing waters of the River Orbieu. Behind the town lie the wild hills of the Corbières, which give the place a Mediterranean air, bedecked as they are with pine trees and backed, usually, by an impossibly blue sky.

Famous Abbey

Lagrasse is known for its important Abbey, the Abbaye Sainte Marie de Lagrasse, which is accessed by an ancient and very attractive bridge. The keep or "donjon" is still in good condition, giving an interesting idea of the history of the place. The Church of St Michel is a good example of Gothic architecture in the region, and is worth a visit. Lagrasse also retains the ramparts from the old fortifications, all of which helps to preserve a sense of the original village.

Eat, drink and be merry…

Lagrasse is popular with tourists, and to this effect it is better supplied with restaurants than many villages of its size. Those hoping to indulge themselves with the delicious traditional cuisine of the Languedoc will not be disappointed, as there is an excellent restaurant called the Hostelrie des Corbières, where you can eat like a king without spending a king's ransom! There are several other good eateries too, including Le Temps Courges, a "bio" or organic restaurant, a snack bar and a pizza take away.

Wine lovers well catered for

Lagrasse is situated in one of the best known and most prolific wine regions in France, the Corbières. This means, of course, that wine lovers are well catered for, with a veritable feast of wines available from many local domains. It is a good idea to try to visit the domains and local co-operatives to taste the wines before deciding which you want to order by the crate! The reds from the Corbières are usually robust and deep-coloured, and are excellent with a hearty cassoulet, the famed dish of the region.

Shopping in Lagrasse

Shopping in Lagrasse is fairly basic, with a grocers shop, a post office and a local produce shop available, as well as outlets for the arts and crafts which are generated by the high number of artisans registered in the village.

A little further afield...

If you want a real shopping experience to remember, however, take yourself off to nearby Carcassonne for the day, as here not only will you be able to source just about anything you may wish to buy, including a kitchen sink, but all this takes place in the shadow of one of the loveliest and most dramatic mediaeval cities in Europe. The old walled Cité rises above the more modern town with such magnificence that the Sleeping Beauty fairytale is instantly called to mind. Two film sets in one day… what more could you ask!

Sports and leisure

The region in which Lagrasse is found is excellent for a great number of sporting activities. Within easy travelling distance of Lagrasse you have the Mediterranean Sea, lakes and rivers, mountains and gorges, and gentle rolling hills and flat plains. Thus everything is possible, from skiing in the winter to sailing and rock climbing in the summer, with all the usual facilities for swimming, walking, fishing and golf close at hand.

How to get there

Reaching Lagrasse from the UK is simple, as the travel links to the area are well established. Ryanair provide an excellent "no frills" service to Carcassonne and Perpignan, whist there are several airlines flying from the UK into Toulouse and Montpellier, including bmibaby, British Airways, easyJet, flybe, bmi and GB Airways. Train travel is also possible as there are TGV stations at Toulouse and Montpellier, where you can link to a local train to Carcassonne or Lézignan-Corbières.

Property prices and availability in and around Lagrasse

Lagrasse is a very picturesque and popular holiday spot, so house prices within the village itself tend to reflect this. It is worth remembering, however, that there is likely to be a high rental value on any property which you may purchase in Lagrasse, so you could possibly offset the higher purchase price against this. If this is beyond your means, look just a little way outside the village for cheaper property.

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Lagrasse AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Lagrasse?

Lagrasse is found in the south of France, in the east of the department of the Aude, just a little way inland from the Mediterranean coast.

Lagrasse Property Map

IN THE REGION OF LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON

Languedoc-Roussillon Guide

Languedoc-Roussillon Property Map

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF AUDE

Aude Guide

  Aude Map


Population: 700


Access: By air: Fly to Carcassonne, Perpignan, Toulouse or Montpellier with a variety of airlines. By rail: Travel by TGV and local train to Carcassonne or Lézignan-Corbières.


Economy: The economy is varied, encompassing tourism, arts and crafts and wine production.


Interesting fact: The name Lagrasse means The Fat. It is thought that this refers to the wealth bestowed upon the local Abbey at the times of the Cathar crusades, when the Abbey of Lagrasse came to control much of the surrounding land.

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