The cité of Minerve
Between the Cévennes and the Montagne Noire, the cité of Minerve, built on its rocky spur, towers high over the gorges of the Cesse and Brian rivers. Due to the presence of natural bridges over the Cesse valley, this is an exceptional geological site. The village of Minerve, bearing the imprint of prehistoric hunters/pickers, is best known for the siege it fell victim to in 1210 during the horrible Albigensian Crusade. Walking uphill towards the village, you’ll notice the Colombe de la Lumière (‘Dove of Light’), sculpted by the artist Jean-Luc Séverac in memory of the tragic burning at the stake in the year 1210, close to the 11th Century Saint-Etienne church. You can learn more about this part of history in the museums of the cité or in the Tourist information centre.
Not only is Minerve the historical capital of the Minervois region, these days it is also one of the prestigious gateways to the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Languedoc (http://www.parc-haut-languedoc.fr ) and is listed as one of the “Most beautiful villages of France”.
Que vos sètz venguts pèrdre al desèrt, companhons ?Es mòrta la comtessa e Miraval es mòrte Menèrba « fo presa » al voler de Montfòrte per l’amor de Dieu, fòc al cuol la racalhaaquela « puta canha » e sas cendres al vent ;mas un crit s’escapèt que lo Cèrç lo repren,lo vent pòrta paraula.Dire son silo dire en òcper, sèm aquí,ciutat sul ròc,aquela « puta canha » e sas cendres al ventdire son si,son èime.
Why lose yourselves in a desert countryside, comrades. Dead is the countess and so is Miraval for Minerve has been taken by the wish of Montfort and, for the love of God, burn the “bitch” riff-raff at the stake, its ashes scattered in the wind;
But a cry burst free, picked up by the breath of the Cers wind and the message is carried forth.
To speak of our existence and to do it in Occitan; for we are, here, a town atop a rock, the “bitch” and its ashes in the wind, to speak of our existence, of our soul.
The gorges of the Cesse river / las fraus de Cèsse
The Cesse valley and the Causses (limestone plateaux) are part of the remarkable scenery of the Minervois region. The limestone plateau and the gorges here have been sculpted by the water, creating the typical karstic relief made up of caves, faults and joints through which the water seeps beneath the surface where it continues its flow. As soon as the summer weather is upon the region, the Cesse river ceases all its surface activity! The natural bridges of Minerve (http://www.minervois-tourisme.fr) are truly emblematic and magnificent monuments in the local scenery.